UQ murder mystery scoops international award

The psychology of crime and justice has fascinated people for centuries—and it continues to do so, with the University of Queensland’s CRIME101x online course winning an international award.

Created and taught by Associate Professors Blake McKimmie, Barbara Masser and Mark Horswill from the UQ School of Psychology, CRIME101x uses an innovative mix of drama and interactive learning to identify ways the criminal justice system can be improved.

UQ murder mystery scoops international award
The Crime101x team (Photo credit: UQ)

“Almost 40,000 students from around the world have experienced a fictional crime case first-hand, as a way of learning about the psychology of criminal justice,” Dr McKimmie said.

“They learn how to identify some of the myths about the criminal justice system from a psychological perspective, and the empirical evidence that can inform our understanding of justice.”

In a first for UQx, UQ’s Massive Open Online Course arm, CRIME101x has been selected for a MERLOT Classics award at the Innovate Conference in New Orleans in the USA.

MERLOT (the Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and Online Teaching cooperative) is supported by higher education institutions in many countries.

The MERLOT Psychology Editorial Board described the CRIME101x course as “creative and contemporary.”

“It offers a thoroughly modern and engaging way for students to learn about the psychology of criminal justice,” the board said.

“A series of eight professionally produced and presented crime drama videos are used, though any episode within the series can stand in its own right and be applied as an instructional supplement in a range of psychology courses.

“Each episode is associated with specific psychology concepts (e.g., memory reliability, bias) and is tied together with supplemental instructional videos in which the faculty members explore the relevant psychological literature as well as implications for application.”

UQx Director John Zornig accepted the award on behalf of Associate Professors McKimmie, Masser and Horswill.

“The award is a testament to the course team’s ability to produce effective, creative and engaging online learning material that genuinely impacts upon student learning,” he said

“Instead of merely presenting information or theories, they created a scripted crime drama along with instructional videos and learning activities.

“The award is also an acknowledgement of UQ’s decision to use a Creative Commons licence, enabling educators to use Crime101x, and other UQx courses, as resources to enhance teaching worldwide.”

Mr Zornig said Creative Commons licences meant educators around the world could use Crime101x and other UQx courses as teaching resources.

UQx is UQ’s contribution to edX, the world’s largest non-profit MOOC provider. EdX was established by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard in 2012, and UQ joined as a charter member in 2013.

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