Introduction to Forensics – CJUS 360

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 11/09/2021

Course Description

An introductory overview of forensics and how it is applied to the justice system by law enforcement agencies. This course demonstrates the importance of documenting physical evidence and identifying various kinds of evidence such as: fingerprints, trace, tool marks, DNA, etc.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.

Rationale

This course is an introduction to Crime Scene Investigation and what you might expect to see in a law enforcement field, placing emphasis on Forensic Science. It is applicable to future career choices whether you seek local, state or federal law enforcement or your goal is to become a lawyer, paralegal or other professional related to law or law enforcement. This course will provide realistic insights in addressing the challenges of a career in CSI and compare the pros and cons of sworn vs. civilian.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Identify how a crime scene is secured and how physical physical evidence is created.
  2. Compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of Civilian vs. Sworn CSI.
  3. Evaluate a selected portion of the NAS report regarding the future of forensic science in America.
  4. Demonstrate how to manipulate camera manual settings by taking pictures using depth of field, lighting, and extended exposure through a manipulation of the aperture and shutter settings.
  5. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of fingerprint development using magnetic powder, be able to identify the three types of fingerprint classifications and properly collect known and unknown samples of DNA.
  6. Incorporate Biblical principles throughout the modules applying scriptural truths to better appreciate the nature of physical evidence and God who loves justice.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations/notes

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (6)

There will be 3 traditional opportunities for discussion participation to be graded on topics. The traditional posts can be edited but not removed, and file attachments are discouraged. The student will present his or her own informed opinion on the assigned topic forums in at least a 400–600-word thread (with scholarly citations to support assertions for full credit). In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 200 words.  Both the thread and the replies must cite course-specific and non-course-specific material.

Discussion: Photo Submissions

In addition to the 3 traditional discussions, there will also be 3 photo submissions where the student will post photograph(s) to the Discussion.

Discussion: Photo Submission – Evidence

Drawing from the Learn items, the student will practice taking overall, reference, and close up photos of a single item of evidence of his or her choice. The student will practice taking multiple photos but will be required to submit only 4 photographs, featuring the following elements: 1) Overall, 2) Reference or contextual photo, 3) Close up without scale, and 4) Close up with scale.

Discussion: Photo Submission – Latent

The student will draw from the Learn items and develop one (1) latent fingerprint on a paper surface using magnetic powder. Upon completion, the student will practice photographing his or her latent fingerprint that has been developed and attempt to classify the print by referring to the textbook and presentations. One close-up photograph of the developed print (with scale) will be submitted along with the attempted classification of a Loop, Whorl, or Arch.

Discussion: Photo Submission – Paint with Light

The student will submit a single photo taken with an extended shutter speed in a large dark environment and use a light source (such as a flashlight) to paint the dark scene making it bright. The purpose of this exercise is to simulate an overall photograph of a crime scene with low light conditions and to better learn how to use an extended shutter speed to capture more light and overcome the darkness.

Quizzes (2)

Quiz: Introduction to Physical Evidence Covers the Learn material from Module 1: Week 1 – Module 2: Week 2, contains 25 multiple choice and true/false questions, is limited to 45 minutes, allows for 1 attempt, and is worth 150 points.

Quiz: Final Exam Covers Learn items from Module 1: Week 1 – Module 7: Week 7 and will predominantly cover chapters 6 – 8, 10 & 11. You will also find a few questions derived from the Watch items and a few KEY questions from chapters 1-5 as well.  The quiz contains 50 true/false, multiple choice, and matching questions. The quiz is limited to 90 minutes, allows for 1 attempt, and is worth 250 points