Going virtual: Crime scene reconstruction and lab techniques

February 5, 2021

For Simmons, there was just one assignment left in her undergraduate course, Scientific Crime Scene Investigation, and it was a big one. It was a major incident investigation, a day-long exercise in full personal protective gear, and made up half of their students’ grades for the semester. Simmons quickly developed a new assignment, a do-it-yourself crime scene, where students were responsible for depicting a homicide in one of their living spaces.

Lab activities also got a virtual makeover for Dr. Connon's Forensic Serology and Forensic Molecular Biology lab courses. Typically forensic science students perform a number of in-person lab tests with blood and semen samples in the serology course. This time, Connon devised virtual labs using interactive, animated PowerPoint slides. A virtual lab bench was set up with all the tools found in a normal lab. Students then had to perform various tests as described in their lab manuals. Imagery from real samples were interspersed in the PowerPoint as they worked through the lab, and the lab would routinely ask them questions about the tasks as they completed them.

Read more about the change to virtual in the Department of Forensic Science.