CSI Scotland: Murder by the Loch – Studying the Forensics…

A colour drawing of Ross Priory - an early 19th-century country house, located west of Gartocharn, West Dunbartonshire, on the south shore of Loch Lomond, Scotland. The scene of the crime? Forensic science and murder meet by the Loch.Can you Solve the Murder by the Loch?

Well, you can try…  I love a gothic mystery, don’t you?  😉

You have six weeks to do it – and a staged murder at Strathclyde University’s Ross Priory house – using the techniques of forensic science.  Starting NOW. 

Murder most foul is afoot at the heart of the University of Strathclyde’s first Massive, Open, Online Course (MOOC).

A murky murder mystery on the shores of Loch Lomond is at the centre of Strathclyde’s first free course available to learners around the World.  Offered in partnership with education provider FutureLearn, and reported by the BBC, it features forensic footage of a staged crime scene and the real-life investigatory techniques used by forensic scientists.

Ever fancied being a sleuth?


The course is being offered by academics in Strathclyde’s world-renowned Centre for Forensic Science, providing participants with a realistic introduction to the field.


The Centre for Forensic Science

Professor of Forensic Science Niamh NicDaeid said: “Learners will get to see videos and still photographs of the mock crime scene and some of the subsequent forensic science approaches that typically takes place following a murder.  They will be encouraged to take part in discussions about the evidence presented and to engage with the video-based case scenario they are evaluating.  What we’re trying to do is to dispel some of the CSI mythology in a realistic and positive way, and to enthuse people about science, while highlighting what science can do in the service of the criminal justice system.”

Dr Katy Savage said: “Our MOOC will be an introductory course and participants won’t need to have a background in forensic science.  One of the unique selling points will be the case study at the centre of the course – a staged murder at the University’s Ross Priory house, on the banks of Loch Lomond.”

Prof NicDaeid added: “The Centre for Forensic Science holds a special position within the University and in Scotland, having been established in 1967 and offering the UK’s longest continuously-running postgraduate qualification in Forensic Science.”

There’s been a murder… by the Loch.


The Centre is well-positioned in terms of its first-class research and its engagement in the development of policy and practice in the field.  Its academics also boast significant expertise as casework practitioners.

“This gives us the credibility to offer a MOOC that is a realistic reflection of the forensic science domain.”

Howard Ramsay, Learning Enhancement Manager at the University Strathclyde, said: “This MOOC will bring together significant expertise from across the University, provided by both professional services and academic colleagues.”

So ever fancied being a sleuth…?

Me too!  😉


“Introduction to Forensic Science” MOOC

The free course, which has been developed by Strathclyde University, is open to anyone with a computer, smartphone or tablet.  The course addresses four major evidence types: drugs of abuse, DNA, firearms and impression evidence, and discusses these through the exploration of a case-based scenario presented across a six-week modular framework.

The six-week Introduction to Forensic Science” MOOC launches on January 6, 2014, featuring modules on core aspects of forensic science casework, such as DNA and fingerprint analysis.

In the first week, we will set the scene and look at how the initial crime scene is processed.  Subsequent weeks will introduce various types of evidence including drugs of abuse, fingerprints, DNA, footwear marks and firearms.

Course material is supplemented with opportunities to check understanding and engage with fellow learners, as well as the course leaders, who have international reputations in the field of forensic science.  You will be encouraged to formulate (and defend!) opinions on the case, based on your evaluation of the evidence.

All will be revealed in the final week

So make sure you are there to find out the identity of the murderer!


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