The image depicts a police crime board with two photos, both of evidence; one also includes a suspect from a line-up in the background.

Introduction

Crime dramas have become incredibly popular and many of us are used to seeing our favourite detectives cracking the case and arresting the criminal. In real life, cases are rarely straightforward, and there is often considerable uncertainty as to whether the person accused of the crime actually did it.

In this course, you will explore how psychological knowledge can be used to help prevent wrongful convictions and how it has helped obtain evidence from eyewitnesses. You will follow the investigation of an armed robbery, evaluate the evidence gathered and see if you can solve the case as well as the police did.

The course will be released week by week, so that everyone has same opportunity to solve the crime. Out of consideration for learners completing the course more slowly, we ask that you do not return to earlier weeks and post spoilers.

Please note that this course deals with the investigation of serious crimes, including hearing from a victim of rape, and you should give careful consideration to how these sensitive issues might affect you personally.

Here’s a run-down of features that have been developed to help you study. The course is designed to run on desktops, tablets and mobile devices; however, some of the material is quite detailed and using a larger screen will enhance your experience. Materials are best viewed running the most up-to-date software available for your device and using the most recent version of the web browser.

Downloads

From time to time you’ll see downloadable PDFs at the bottom of a page. These are provided to help your learning. They include extracts and information sheets that you may want to save for future reference.

Tests and quizzes

To test your knowledge we’ve provided end-of-week quizzes and an end-of-course test. Quizzes are dotted throughout the weeks’ content and also at the end of the week. They are included purely to help you learn. If you’ve upgraded, you’ll see the tests at the end of each Week. This will help you to check what you’ve learned and will be your final mark.

Images

You’ll notice that some images have a small expand icon in the bottom right-hand corner. When you select this icon you’ll be taken to a much larger version of the image, for a closer look.

Comments and discussions

There are plenty of opportunities to communicate with other learners. You’ll be able to make comments at any point in the course – just click on the pink plus symbol (+) to open the comments area. You’ll also notice discussion points, which offer a more structured dialogue with your fellow learners on key topics. Please join in! Why not introduce yourself now by posting a comment below?

Please make use of the ‘like’ feature within comments and discussions if you see a comment you like or a question that you want to ask too. This will assist the facilitators in answering as many of your questions as possible, and the posts with the most ‘likes’ are more likely to receive a response.

The comments sections can be a little overwhelming if there are lots of responses, so please don’t feel you have to read all of them! We recommend reading the first page of most recent comments and then the first page of ‘most liked’ comments – this will help you keep up-to-date with the newest and hottest comments in the course.

Please be aware that there is a 1200 character limit (including spaces), which is roughly 250 words, on comments and discussion posts. If your contribution is longer than this, we recommend using an external tool or a personal blog and then pasting the link as a comment or within the discussion dialogue box.

Get extra benefits, upgrade your course

You can now get extra benefits by upgrading this course, including:

Unlimited access to the course: Go at your own pace with unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn.

Access to tests: Ensure you’ve mastered the material with access to tests on the course.

A Certificate of Achievement: To help you demonstrate your learning we’ll send you a Certificate of Achievement when you become eligible.

Find out more

Profile pages

You can view the profile pages of your fellow learners, and ‘follow’ them to keep track of their comments. We recommend that you follow the lead educators; Graham Pike and Zoë Walkington.

FutureLearn and The Open University

For a quick start guide of how to learn with FutureLearn, take a look at the Using FutureLearn page.

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This article is from the free online course:

Forensic Psychology: Witness Investigation

The Open University

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: