Written by:

Holly Macdonald


September 14, 2011

Newspaper broadsheet referring to the Whitecha...

Image via Wikipedia

While flying back from my fabulous French holiday, I read something that piqued my interest. (My entertainment system was broken. I had 7 hours to fill and I’m kind of a nervous flyer, so need to keep busy, hence this blog post).

A university professor is using actual cold cases as practical training activities for students in his class The Serial Killer in Media and Popular Culture. How cool is that? It’s like taking a case study approach and instead of keeping it in the theoretical sphere, they apply their learning to a real world need. I imagine that cold cases (despite being rich fodder for tv series) are resource-intensive for police forces, and this seems like a win-win to me.

Plus, the potential for “reverse mentoring” also exists, as the students can put a fresh perspective/technique into a case, that maybe a seasoned detective hasn’t been exposed to yet. This review includes an interesting reference to using Google Maps to aid in their investigation and ends with this fabulous quote:

“I’ve never been in a course where something we are doing is potentially going to be beneficial in the end,”

This instructor also had a mix of students in the class and seemed to find ways to cross-pollinate their specialties/skills in a realistic way, which sounds so very practical.
I really wanted to find more of these (see previous example), but haven’t come across many. Know of other great examples you can share?