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Forensic Science Course to Blend Online With Classroom-Based Education
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Forensic Science Course to Blend Online With Classroom-Based Education

HAMBURG, N.Y. – An introductory course in Hilbert College’s forensic science/crime scene investigation major, one of only two bachelor-level programs of its kind in New York State, will be offered for the first time as a blended traditional-online class, an innovative offering that’s being developed with an $18,000 Verizon Foundation grant.

Starting this fall Hilbert will offer an “Introduction to Forensic Science” course that will use a “hybrid” format that links online and classroom-based instruction. The course will be open to current students and others interested in learning more about the program but are not yet enrolled at the college, an endeavor that will help the college reach out to a larger student population.

Using the latest in virtual classroom technology, online students will be able view and interact via “live chat” with the professor and students during the traditional class sessions scheduled for the introductory course, which is designed to familiarize students with basic forensic science concepts and techniques for the collection and preservation of crime scene evidence. A recorded version of each class will also be made available online to all students enrolled in the course, giving them access to the classes at any time and the advantage of reviewing course material as needed.

“Creating the forensic science course in a merged online and classroom-based approach evolved from numerous requests to make the course accessible online to provide flexibility for students unable to attend a traditional class due to professional or personal commitments,” said Mary Ann Hobar, assistant chairperson and associate professor of forensic science/CSI. “For individuals who are not current Hilbert students, participating in the course will familiarize them with Hilbert’s distinctive forensic science/CSI program, an opportunity that may prompt them to pursue their studies in the major at Hilbert.”

The online component for the course will also allow students to view PowerPoint presentations, DVD and video clips and other technology applications used as part of the class.

“With the virtual classroom, online students will be able to listen and see the instructor, demonstrations and experiments that are relevant to the class, all aspects that will keep the students engaged in the course as if they were actually in the traditional class,” said Hobar.

“Technology is a powerful tool that opens a window to the global community,” said Maureen Rasp-Glose, director of government and external affairs at Verizon. “The Verizon Foundation is proud to support Hilbert’s use of broadband technology to enhance and expand learning.”

The pilot online forensic science course is intended to serve as a model at Hilbert as the college looks to steadily add more hybrid courses in the major and other academic programs.

“As we perfect the virtual classroom, it will allow us to tailor future online courses to offer broader choices for students who want or need the flexibility of online learning, whether they are traditional students or adult learners. We are providing students more opportunities to learn in ways that fit their busy schedules and, ultimately, to complete a degree at Hilbert,” said Hobar.

 To learn more about the online forensic science course, contact Mary Ann Hobar at 926-8853 or e-mail mhobar@hilbert.edu.

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