Mixing It Up with Forensic Science, Technology & Law: The National Clearinghouse for Science, Technology and the Law

Audience: CSI Fans
Technical Level: Low

This presentation will showcase the work of the National Clearinghouse for Science Technology and the Law at Stetson University College of Law (NCSTL).

In 1999, the National Institute of Justice reviewed the status and needs of those who work with forensic sciences, concluding that the end-users of forensic sciences – lawyers & judges – needed more education in those sciences, and that forensic scientists needed more training in law, specifically how to be effective expert witnesses. NCSTL was built to bridge the gap between these disciplines, providing a place for “one stop shopping” for law, science and technology information. Perfect timing given the growing interest in CSI!

NCSTL provides a free forensics research database containing references to resources intersecting science, technology, crime scene investigation and the law. The database is cultivated by law students and researchers at Stetson Law School. Forensics researchers, such as lawyers, judges, scientists, educators and members of the general public, can investigate topics ranging from arson investigation to voice analysis. The database offers bibliographic information for legal and scientific resources, as well as references to popular literature, organizations and educational opportunities.

Developing distance education programs is also a large part of NCSTL’s program objectives. Focus is on the importance of effective planning and development of distance learning programs and includes:

  1. identifying needs of the target audience,
  2. their familiarity with technology,
  3. accessibility of various technologies such as videoconferencing or web-based classes via a CMS,
  4. the need for testing, progress tracking, and continuing education,
  5. topics considered necessary and important,
  6. costs of development,
  7. quality control,
  8. accreditation,
  9. marketing the program, and
  10. hiring technology personnel.

Learning objectives:

Attendees will:

  1. Gain information about NCSTL’s database and distance education programs
  2. Know how content for the NCSTL database is developed
  3. Comprehend how to use the NCSTL database to do research
  4. Recognize that knowing your target audience is crucial in making key Educational decisions regarding appropriate media and instructional design
  5. Know when to use mediated learning versus self-directed learning and asynchronous learning versus synchronous learning

Diana Botluk
Director of Research
Stetson University College of Law

Susan G. Zucker
Director of Technology & Distance Education
Stetson University College of Law

About Elmer Masters

Elmer R. Masters is the Director of Technology at the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (www.cali.org) where he works on interesting projects involving technology and legal education like eLangdell, Classcaster, Lawbooks, QuizWright, and the CALI website. He has nearly 25 years of experience building tech tools for legal education and systems for accessing law and legal materials on the Internet. He is the admin of the Teknoids mailing list (www.teknoids.net) and has been blogging about legal education, law, and technology for over 15 years (www.symphora.com). He has a JD from Syracuse University College of Law and was employed by Syracuse, Cornell Law School, and Emory University School of Law before joining CALI in 2003. Elmer has presented at the CALI Conference for Law School Computing (where he organizes the program), the AALL and AALS Annual Meetings, Law Via The Internet, and other conferences, symposia, and workshops on topics ranging from IT management in law schools to building open access court reporting systems to information architecture design and implementation in law.
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