The project involves students at Coventry University and the University of Malaga working in collaboration around the principles and practice of community safety as a global crime management strategy. Community safety is about real issues that affect real communities, but it would be impractical and to some extent unethical to invade the lives of people by studying a real community. Therefore, this project uses simulation in the form of a fictitious dysfunctional neighbourhood called Starley Cross in a three-dimensional virtual environment which forms the basis of the work students undertake on the project. Teaching and learning takes a student-centred approach involving role play whereby students work in small groups, each representing a community safety partnership, and each member of the group assumes the role of specialist in a particular field of community safety. The ultimate aim is for students to not only develop subject-specific knowledge in cross-cultural settings but also transferable skills of powers of enquiry, problem solving, team working and cross-cultural collaboration, entrepreneurship and professionalism.
Students participating in the project engage in the following activities:
State 1: Role play of professional community safety teams in immersive virtual neighbourhood.
Stage 2: Online discussion and debate relating to analysis of problems and production and evaluation of solutions in the different cultural settings.
The virtual neighbourhood was developed by Sean Graham (CELE) using a software for games creation called Unity and based on a fictitious urban layout designed by Graham Steventon. Development is ongoing and students at both universities provided suggestions of improvements. Some of those have already been implemented by Tsvetan Tsankov (Computer Science student on a placement in CELE) , such as a day and night cycle in which 24 hours is represented in 24 minutes. The street lights come on at dusk and go off at dawn, and the user can switch on a torch to explore unlit areas.
Course: BA Criminology,
Module: Community Safety and the Environment (level 2)
Number of students: 65