CJ 312 Criminalistics
F1T 2008 DLA
B.A. Criminology, University of South FloridaM.B.A. Criminal Justice, Saint Leo University
Textbook: Criminalistics, An Introduction to Forensic Science, Eighth Edition
Author: Richard Saferstein
Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore
Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore
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Educational Philosophy: Your instructor's educational philosophy is based upon virtual lectures, examinations, information from web sites provided, writings from outside sources and dialogue with myself and fellow students. Assignments are intended to encourage a thoughtful exploration of ideas and application of information provided during the course. Contradictory thoughts are encouraged as part of the learning process.
Learning Outcomes: Core Learning Outcomes
Class Assessment: Each week, students are required to engage in discussion among themselves by answering and commenting upon questions posed for that week. Each week's discussion is worth 20 points, with 1-10 provided for content and 1-10 points provided for timeliness of submitting the discussion answers.
Weeks 1-6 require a paper which provides the students opportunities to apply material learned from reading, virtual lecture and discussions. Each paper carries a maximum of 100 points.
During the eighth week, a proctored final exam will be taken by the student which will combine multiple choice with short answer questions.
Grading: The grading scale is as follows: A = 90-100; B = 80-89; C = 70-79; D = 60-69; F = 0-59. The final exam will count 20% of your total grade, weekly discussion presentations will count 20% of your total grade and each weekly paper is worth 10%.
Each student is responsible for:
Completing weekly Reading assignments.
Completing Weekly Discussion Questions.
Completing seven writing assignments, referred to as Papers.
Completing a proctored Final Examination
Late Submission of Course Materials: Work should be submitted to the instructor by the last day of each assigned week. Students experiencing a problem should contact the instructor to advise the reason work may be submitted late. Late posts and assignments will not be accepted.
Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Policy #1: Submission of Work
A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday 12:01 am MST and Sunday at 11:59 PM MST. The first week begins the first day of the term/semester. Assignments scheduled for completion during a class week should be completed and successfully submitted by the posted due date.
Create a back up file of every piece of work you submit for grading. This will ensure that a computer glitch or a glitch in cyberspace will not erase your efforts. All written assignments must be submitted as an attachment in either Microsoft Word or rich text format.
Policy #2: Guidelines for Online Communication & Participation
General email: Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. When sending email other than assignments, you must identify yourself fully by name and class in all email sent to your instructor and/or other members of our class.
Online threaded discussions: are public messages and all writings in this area will be viewable by the entire class or assigned group members.
Online Instructor Response Policy: I will check my email frequently and will respond to course-related questions within 24-48 hours.
Observation of "Netiquette": All your online communications need to be composed with fairness, honesty, and tact. Spelling and grammar are very important in an online course. What you put into an online course reflects on your level of professionalism. Here are a couple of online references that discuss writing online http://goto.intwg.com/ and netiquette http://www.albion.com/netiquette/corerules.html.
Please check the Announcements area before you ask general course "housekeeping" questions (i.e. how do I submit assignment 3?). If you do not see your question there, then please contact me.
Policy #3: What to do if you experience technical problems or have questions about the online classroom
If you experience computer difficulties (need help downloading a browser or plug-in, you need help logging into the course, or if you experience any errors or problems while in your Online course, click on the button in your Online Classroom, then click on the helpdesk menu item, and then fill out the form or call the helpdesk for assistance.
If the issue is preventing you from submitting or completing any coursework, contact me immediately.
Policy #4: Late work is not accepted.
Week 1: An Introduction to Criminalistics and Crime Scenes
Week of August 18, 2008. All assignments are due by midnight on August 24, 2008.
During Week 1, we will discuss the basic and advanced forensic procedures available to investigators. During this week we'll examine the early history and development of this science and study the overall range of its subject material. Some emphasis will be placed this week on a systematic, organized plan for the forensic handling of a crime scene.
Chapters 1 and 2
After contacting your local police agency, determine who would process a major crime scene: do they do it themselves or use mutual aid from another agency? Ask where the evidence would be submitted for forensic testing and report both aspects of information to the rest of the class.
Comment upon whether your selected agency's means of forensic development seems to be adequate based upon your readings and any comments made by the agency.
Select one of the articles found on ethics in the web site assigned this week and review/comment upon it. Be sure to identify which article you chose for instructor review.
10-question true/false, multiple-choice quiz on the material covered this week.
Week 2: Physical Evidence and Properties of Glass and Soil
Week of August 25, 2008. All assignments are due by midnight on August 31, 2008.
During Week 2, we will begin a general examination of the nature and basic types of physical evidence. Some emphasis will be placed upon legal aspects, with this segment concluding in a discussion of the forensic evidence in the Wayne Williams homicide case. The week will end with an examination of the text chapter on the specific physical properties found in glass and soil.
Chapters 3 and 4
How much of the development of Wayne Williams was luck and how much was detailed investigation and evidence development?
Review the Bobby Joe Long serial murder case study on page 511 of your text. If you have a different edition of the text, you will find the case in the “Case Readings” section of your book. Check the table of contents. Identify the important categories of physical evidence used in this case, indicating examples of evidence in each category. Reassess the information you obtained in Week One from your local police agency regarding their forensic ability and offer an opinion of whether you feel confident that your agency could handle this type of evidence.
Week 3: Organic and Inorganic Analysis and Microscopy
Week of September 1, 2008. All assignments are due by midnight on September 7, 2008.
During Week 3, we will examine the physical aspects of and differences between organic and inorganic analysis, also learning the primary instruments used in the examination of these substances. During this week we will also study the field of microscopy in forensic studies. We will conclude the week with an examination of forensic entomology, anthropology, and odontology in their criminal investigative uses.
Chapters 5, 6 and 7
After reviewing links regarding forensic anthropology, provide your view of the methods used in Dr. William Bass' Anthropology Research Facility.
Paper: From the assigned website, go to "Case studies in the field of Forensic Entomology" and select three cases, identifying in your paper which of the cases you chose. Provide a brief review of the major aspects, compare, and contrast similarities and differences in the cases: what aspects were the same, what aspects were different, and what actions by the investigators contributed to successful results.
Week 4: Hairs, Fibers and Paint; Drugs
Week of September 8, 2008. All assignments are due by midnight on September 14, 2008.
During Week 4, we will begin by examining the physical and forensic aspects of hairs, fibers and paints, drawing back on some of the discussions of the crime scene presented in Week 2. We will also examine the means of collecting and preserving these types of evidence. During Week 4 we will additionally discuss the forensic aspects of drugs along with a brief history of their influence on our culture. Particular emphasis will be placed upon recognition of both legal and physiologic classifications of common drugs and the proper methods of collecting and preserving them for evidentiary use.
Chapters 8 and 9
From your knowledge of high profile cases as well as your text, how important do you see hair and fiber evidence to the majority of crime scenes?
Review websites discussing the triple homicide case against Dr. Jeffery MacDonald and review/comment upon the hair and fiber evidence used in the prosecution.
Week 5: Toxicology and Arson/Explosives Evidence
Week of September 15, 2008. All assignments are due by midnight on September 21, 2008.
During Week 5, we will examine the forensic aspects of toxicology and arson/explosives. Particular emphasis will be placed on the most common toxicology testing done, that of alcohol presence, but other discussion will involve less common poisons. The section regarding arson and explosives will draw upon chemical and physical evidence aspects commonly encountered in these crime scenes.
Chapters 10 and 11
Toxicology examinations are needed in most suspicious deaths, but many jurisdictions do not have a qualified forensic pathologist to perform the autopsies. What would you recommend be done if your jurisdiction lacks a forensic pathologist but you as the detective feel toxicology testing is needed?
After reviewing the web site for Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), seek any related links and offer your opinion on whether bombings are on the rise and any changes you see in motives, explosive material used, or methods.
Week 6: Forensic Serology and DNA
Week of September 22, 2008. All assignments are due by midnight on September 28, 2008.
Please be sure that you have submitted your proctor form by the end of week 6!
During Week 6, we begin with an examination of forensic serology, with special emphasis on blood stains and spatter patterns. Discussion on seminal evidence will lead into the second half of the week's material involving DNA. We will briefly note its historical use but will emphasize the current techniques, uses, and misuses of this dynamic field of forensic evidence.
Chapters 12 and 13
DNA is obviously one of the fastest-developing forms of forensic evidence. Comment on potential pitfalls or failures you see in this form of evidence.
Review the article from the assigned web site and compare the aspects of mitochondrial DNA to the more known PCR and RFLP techniques.
5-question true/false, multiple-choice quiz on the material covered this week.
Week 7: Fingerprints, Firearms and Tool Marks; Document and Voice Examination
Week of September 29, 2008. All assignments are due by midnight on October 5, 2008.
During Week 7, we will discuss fingerprinting, examining the fundamentals, brief history of their forensic uses and the traditional as well as emerging means of detecting and preserving them as evidence. We will finish the week with studying firearms/tool marks and document and voice analysis.
Chapters 14, 15, and 16
With the advent of highly sophisticated forensic techniques, do you feel that fingerprinting is now outdated and over-rated at the crime scene? Should more emphasis be placed on more high-tech evidence collection?
There is not a written assignment this week.
Week 8: Computers, the Internet, and Forensic Future
Week of October 6, 2008. All assignments are due by midnight on October 12, 2008.
During Week 8, we will conclude the course with an examination of the internet in investigations and discussion of the future in forensic science and criminology. During this week you will also complete the final examination for this course.
Chapters 17 and 18
What dangers do you see as well as applications of computers on criminology? In what ways do you see the internet being used in forensic studies? Are you aware of any other areas of forensic science being developed but not discussed by your text?
There is not a written assignment this week.
Proctored Final Exam
Closed books. Closed notes. Your final exam must be received by midnight on Sunday. If your exam is not received, you final grade in this course is automatically an F until such time that the exam is received and a change of grade form is submitted to the University.
Academic Honesty:Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87
Plagiarism:Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87
Attendance Policy:Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.
Park University 2008-2009 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90
Disability Guidelines:Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .
Last Updated:8/4/2008 9:09:10 AM