Faculty-led Inquiry into Reflective and Scholarly Teaching (FIRST)


Date of this Version


Document Type



Barksdale, Larry. "FORS 411: Forensic Comparative Analysis" (2020). UNL Faculty Portfolios, 153. digitalcommons.unl.edu/prtunl/153.


This benchmark portfolio presents my work in reworking the goals, objectives, course design, teaching methods, student assessments, and learning outcome assessments of the undergraduate Univeristy of Nebraska-Lincoln core course FORS 411: Forensic Comparative Analysis. It reflects my application of the backward design concept of thinking about and identifying the desired outcomes of the course, what the students need to learn, and designing instruction and evaluations to directly address the outcomes [3]. My goal for the course is to embed in the intellectual framework of students an analytical orientation for understanding use of pattern evidence as viable information for the valid resolution of a forensic event. The objectives of the course are (1) develop specific pattern evidence analytical skills, (2) establish the practice of scientific methodology in establishing credibility in the interpretation of pattern evidence analyses, {3) embed a solid legal philosophical grounding supporting the credibility of pattern evidence, (4) create an endorsement of ethical behavior in the practice of forensic science, (5) establish a link between academics, lifelong learning, and occupational experiences.

The course employs quizzes, pre-post tests, lab assignments and reports, scientific article reviews, research paper, concept map posts, and word essays. Numerical scores are a primary method for assessing learning. Rubrics are an important part of the instructional and evaluation process. Readability measurements are a new assessment for this course. Evaluations of objectives indicate that students score higher on post-tests than pre-tests, present readability scores that are within industry standard ranges, and present increased logical visual presentations over the semester.