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


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Course portfolio developed as part of the UNL Peer Review of Teaching Project (peerreview.unl.edu)

Copyright (c) 2015 Ashley Hall


Students who participate in active and experiential learning activities develop a better understanding of basic scientific principles and are also more likely to be retained in a STEM discipline. Developing such activities, however, can be difficult. In the present study, we sought to develop classroom activities to engage university students and increase understanding of the theory and practice of forensic science. One common accessory amongst the target audience was the ever-present media, both social and popular (entertainment). In fact, a majority of students report watching at least one of the many popular forensic science shows on TV. Therefore, we hypothesized that this media could be a learning tool to enhance student understanding of scientific concepts. Learning assessments were designed to explore two questions: 1) does the use of popular media in the classroom increase student understanding?; and 2) does the use of “good” vs “bad” media examples impact student understanding? Our results indicated that the use of media as a teaching tool significantly improved student understanding of the basic principles of forensic science.