Doug Elrick

Doug Elrick’s digital forensics background leads him to instructional technology program

When Doug went to college and received degrees in chemistry and biology, he had no idea that he would end up working in the digital forensics field.

After graduation, he initially worked in a crime lab conducting medical research. At that time digital forensics, the study of electronic evidence, barely existed. When a case involving a broken floppy disk came to the lab, Doug was the most experienced with computers and decided to take on the challenge.

“I had a high score on Tetris so they said, ‘Okay, you’re the expert,’” Doug said.

Doug has been working with digital forensics and digital intelligence ever since. Now a third-year Ph.D. student in education, Doug is learning how to implement strategies to make teaching digital forensics more effective.

“I entered the Ph.D. program at Iowa State so that I could become a better instructor and contribute to the field through research and development,” Doug said. “While I had experience in conducting digital forensic examinations, I fully recognized that I was lacking in the knowledge of many teaching methods and philosophies.”

Doug’s research has included developing an online general forensics course and comparing the success of students who take the course online with students who take it in person. He has also experimented with implementing game-based learning into his online class.

“It’s more effort on my part, but students enjoy having more options for projects and activities that suit their interests,” Doug said.

Doug is excited to continue learning how to best serve his students and their learning while adapting to the changing field of digital forensics.

“It’s a growing field. While it’s been around for over 40 years, it’s still one of the youngest types of forensic sciences,” Doug said. “With the sheer number of people using electronic media there’s just more and more volume of evidence out there. Types of evidence are constantly changing, and it’s creating new evidence.”