Connecting in Cameroon

For Immediate Release:  Sept. 23, 2015

BLOOMSBURG — A relationship between two universities that began seven years ago with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding provided the seed for interactive digital forensicstraining expected to begin in January 2016.

Undergraduate students from Bloomsburg University have studied at Cameroon’s University of Buea since 2009 and BU President David Soltz accompanied the group in 2011. But it was faculty from BU’s Institute for Interactive Technology who linked Bloomsburg with online training for Cameroonian judges, police officers and lawyers.

BU's digital forensics program prepares students for careers as digital forensic specialists who can work with law enforcement, homeland security agencies, law firms and private companies. It's the only digital forensics bachelor's degree in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

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The training was created by Scott Inch, professor of mathematics, computer science and statistics, in partnership with Michael Grube ’13/’15M. Inch developed most of the courses in BU’s bachelor’s degree program in digital forensics. Grube earned his bachelor’s degree in digital forensics, an evolving field that teaches students to retrieve information from computer hard drives, cell phones, tablets and other devices, and his master’s degree in interactive technology.

“Cameroon is experiencing a lot of cybercrime, including scams, because people don’t understand technology,” Inch said.

He learned of the scarcity of knowledge during two years of email correspondence with Ali Joan Beri Wacka, followed by her visit to Bloomsburg’s campus. Wacka earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University in Bauchi, Nigeria. However, her efforts to pursue a doctoral degree in digital forensics were stymied until she met visiting faculty from BU’s Institute for Instructional Technology (IIT), who put her in touch with Inch.

“She and I clicked,” said Inch, who now serves as an adviser for Wacka’s doctoral studies. “We spent the summer working on her dissertation and talking about future projects.”

After Wacka returned home, she and Inch developed the concept for training members of Cameroon’s legal community. Inch created the content and designed simple online training; Grube, an Easton native, took the training to a higher level during his required 480-hour internship for his master’s degree in instructional technology.

In the final stages of development, the self-paced online training should roll out in January 2016, supported by a Cameroonian government minister’s financial backing and his endorsement of the partnership with the University of Buea.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 10,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Education, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.