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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Problem based learning in digital forensics

Irons, Alastair and Thomas, Paula (2016) Problem based learning in digital forensics. Higher Education Pedagogies, 1 (1). pp. 95-105. ISSN 2375-2696

Item Type: Article


The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast the efforts of two universities to address the issue of providing computer forensics students with the opportunity to get involved in the practical aspects of forensic search and seizure procedures. The paper discusses the approaches undertaken by the University of Sunderland and the University of South Wales (Glamorgan) to give the students the opportunity to process a case from the crime scene through to the court room. In order to do this both institutions adopted a problem-based learning (PBL) approach – to reflect real-world solutions and encourage students to work in groups to seek further knowledge and understanding of the various processes and procedures – in particular the steps around search and seizure of digital evidence from a crime scene. The PBL activities at Sunderland and Glamorgan were designed in order to help the students understand the processes of digital crime scene analysis and search and seizure procedures and to give them the opportunity to put into practice their digital forensics techniques. Both exercises were designed to give the opportunity to solve realistic problems using PBL, and to illustrate the inter-relationships between science, technology and human activity as it applies to digital forensics, forensic science and the criminal justice system. The paper concludes with an evaluation of the exercises considering the impact they have had on student understanding and learning. Consideration is given to how the PBL activities can be disseminated and/or transferred to the wider community.

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More Information

Depositing User: Paula Normington


Item ID: 6133
Identification Number:
ISSN: 2375-2696
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Alastair Irons: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2016 10:12
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2023 09:46


Author: Alastair Irons ORCID iD
Author: Paula Thomas

University Divisions

Faculty of Technology > School of Computer Science
Centre for Pedagogy



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