10k enroll on Val McDermid-inspired forensics course

MORE than 10,000 people have already signed up to a free online course which allows students to take the role of a forensic investigator at the heart of a murder mystery by Scots crime writer Val McDermid.

Crime writer Val McDermid. Picture: Phil Wilkinson/TSPL

The six-week course, called Identifying The Dead: forensic science and human identification is a MOOC, or massive open online course, which anyone can sign up to take.

It has been launched on the Open University’s FutureLearn platform Dundee University’s Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, headed by academic and forensic anthropologist Professor Sue Black.

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The Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, known as CAHID, is probably the world’s foremost institution for the study and application of human anatomy to forensic human identification, disaster victim identification and forensic and medical art. It was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education 2014.

The background story for the online course has been written by Fife-based McDermid and features a body found on a hill in the centre of Dundee, a mystery as to its identity, police looking for the help of a forensic investigator.

Only a month after the online course was launched, the 10,000th fan of crime fiction has signed up to step into that vital role. As a result, a global community of learners will be able to work together to solve the author’s latest mystery.

Course director Dr Helen Meadows said yesterday: “We are delighted to have 10,000 people already signed up to the course just weeks after launching it.

“At CAHID we work on this kind of investigation all the time, helping police in criminal investigations and identifying individuals in all manner of different circumstances.”