Syllabus for AOJ-280

FORENSIC SCIENCE


COURSE DESCRIPTION

Forensic Science presents a comprehensive introduction of the application of science concepts to criminal investigation. Key topics covered include the importance of the crime scene, and the collection and analysis of both physical and biological evidence. In addition to the textbook readings and lecture notes, this course employs analysis of actual criminal cases through written assignments and discussions.  

COURSE OBJECTIVES

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  1. Identify the various search patterns used in forensic investigation and recognize the importance of Locard’s Exchange Principle to forensic investigation.
  2. Recognize the major fingerprint patterns and explain their collection, identification and relationship to  crime investigation.
  3. Explain the different techniques used for collection of physical and biological evidence.
  4. Discuss the various laboratory analyses used to identify drug, biological, and physical evidence.

COURSE MATERIALS

You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the college's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

  1. Saferstein, Richard (2009). Forensic Science: From the Crime Scene to the Crime Lab. Pearson Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, NJ.

ISBN-13: 978-0-13-515849-4

COURSE STRUCTURE

Forensic Science is a three-credit online course, consisting of the four (4) modules. Each module includes an introduction, a list of topics, learning objectives, study materials, and graded assessments. Module titles are listed below.

  1. Module 1: Introduction to the Crime Scene and Physical Evidence

  1. Module 2: Physical Evidence and Fingerprints

  1. Module 3: Trace Evidence: Hair, Fibers, Paint, Glass and Soil

  1. Module 4: Biological Evidence and Drug Analysis

Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.

ASSESSMENT METHODS

For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, take two open-book quizzes, a proctored online midterm exam, and complete a final project. See below for more details.

Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

This course requires you to participate in five (5) graded discussion forums. There is also an ungraded but required introduction forum in module 1.

Deadlines for posting discussion threads on the class Discussion Board are given in the course Calendar.

For posting guidelines and additional help with discussion board assignments please see the Online Student Handbook located within the General Information section of the course website.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete four (4) written assignments. The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules.

 

Before submitting your first assignment, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your assignment as a rich-text (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.

See the Online Student Handbook for additional help regarding preparing and submitting assignments located within the General Information section of the course website.

For help regarding preparing and submitting assignments, see the Student Handbook located within the General Information page of the course Web site.

Quizzes

There will be two open-book module quizzes for this course. The quizzes should be taken after you complete the reading assignments and online discussions for each related module. There will be twenty (20) multiple choice questions based on related chapters of a module. You have up to 60 minutes to complete the quiz and may take it only once.

To access quiz links, go to the Tests & Quizzes area of the course Web site. Consult the course Calendar for quiz deadlines.

Midterm Examination

You are required to take a closed-book, proctored online midterm examination.

The midterm exam is two hours long and consists of twenty-five (25) multiple-choice questions and two (2) essay questions. The exam covers materials assigned in modules 1 and 2 of the course.

For the midterm, you are required to use the College's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to schedule your exam within the first week of the semester.

Online exams are administered through the course Web site. Consult the course Calendar for the official dates of exam weeks.

Final Project

In lieu of a final exam, you are required to complete a final project. Your final project includes three requirements: complete the paper itself,  post a presentation, and comment on other students' presentations on discussion forums.

The final paper should be 5-10 page long on the topic of your interest related to forensic science. See the Final Project area of the course web site for further details.

Before submitting your first assignment, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your assignment as a rich-text (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.

Consult your Course Calendar for due dates.

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

  1. Online discussions (5)—20 percent
  2. Written assignments (4)—25 percent
  3. Quizzes (2)—10 percent
  4. Midterm exam (proctored online, modules 1–2)—20 percent
  5. Final project—25 percent

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:

A

=

93100

A–

=

9092

B+

=

8889

B

=

8387

B–

=

8082

C+

=

7879

C

=

7377

C–

=

7072

D

=

6069

F

=

Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

  1. Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.

  1. Take the time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course, how to schedule exams, and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State College.
  2. Arrange to take your examination(s) by following the instructions in this Syllabus and the Online Student Handbook.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.

  1. If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting assignments before class begins.

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

  1. To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the course Calendar. The calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting assignments, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.

  1. Check the Announcements regularly for new course information.

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

  1. Cheating
  2. Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
  3. Fabricating information or citations
  4. Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others
  5. Unauthorized access to examinations or the use of unauthorized materials during exam administration
  6. Submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the mentor
  7. Tampering with the academic work of other students

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized assignment, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.

Plagiarism

Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > "Citing Sources.")

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else's. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

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