2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)

Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 4:15 PM


NEHRU, Cherukupalli E., Geology, Brooklyn College, CUNY, Brooklyn, NY. 11210, Earth and Environmental Sciences, PhD Program, Graduate School, CUNY, New York, NY, 10016, Earth and Planetary Sciences, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, 10024, Asian American/Asian Research Institute, New York, NY 10036, Nehru@Brooklyn.CUNY.edu

Use of “Case Studies” in teaching business classes in top Business Schools in US is well known. Using this idea, I have taught undergraduate Forensic geology/science classes with success. The approach works well and has many advantages. The draw back is that there are no text books one can use for using this technique. I had to rely on cases from old news paper cuttings, “Internet” or some from my own experience. Saperstein's text (Forensic Science book that I used) had some case studies at the end of each chapter. Forensic geology books mention case studies in a few places. However, none of the available books are satisfactory for teaching Forensic Science/Geology using the “Case Studies” method.

The method I used works as follows. High profile cases such as ‘O.J Simpson', ‘John F. Kennedy murder', ‘Virginia Tech massacre' and others interest the students much more than the routine lectures on Forensic science. During first week of classes, I conduct a survey of who watches what kind of Forensic TV programs. These include such things as Murder Mysteries, Detective stories, ‘Colombo series', ‘Murder She Wrote', ‘The Monk', ‘CSI Miami', ‘CSI New York' and others. This makes a lively discussion and I get a first hand impression of the likes and dislikes of the students. This sets the stage for the way the class is handled for the rest of the semester. We discuss several major cases. This is done by assigning students to different cases of their interest. They present seminar type of discussions and the other students are asked to come prepared to discuss the case and its pros and cons. Such a discussion makes the class come alive. The initial ice is broken by introducing a few lively and controversial issues and or questions by the instructor. After the class discussion of each case, a discussion of the ‘methods' that were used in solving the case and how these methods work follows. The ‘methods' are explained in class and thus the subject matter is covered.