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Online classes

Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2017/2018

CJAD 203: Crime Scene Investigation

Course Description

Techniques and methods of crime scene investigation focusing on practical suggestions as well a theoretical viewpoint of the field. Topics include fundamentals of the preliminary investigation; identification, protection and collection of evidence, sketching and photo graphing the crime scene, interpreting blood stain evidence, and fingerprinting techniques.

Prerequisite: CJAD 201

Proctored Exams: None



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

Required

  • Gardner, R. M. (2012). Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigation (2nd ed.). Boca Raton: CRC Press (Taylor & Francis Group).
    • [ISBN-978-1-4398-5302-3]

Required Lab Kit

CJAD 203 Lab Kit (only available from MBS Direct): Columbia Coll. CJAD203: Crime Scene Investigation-PKG.

MBS# 1520300

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.


Course Overview

The purpose of this course is to provide students with a general introduction to the mechanics of crime scene investigation and its role in the criminal justice process. Material is presented from a legal, criminological, historical, and social systems perspective so that students will develop an understanding of the derivation and mechanical operation of each phase of the crime scene investigation. The duties of the first responding officers to the systematic approach of evidence technicians assigned to document and collect forensic evidence at crime scenes will be reviewed and explored.



Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.


Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain the role of law enforcement and crime scene technicians in collection, preservation and interpretation of evidence from crime scenes.
  2. Describe the methods and importance of proper crime scene response in a criminal investigation.
  3. Identify, compare, and evaluate relevant terminology, equipment and methods for collection, preservation and interpretation of evidence from crime scenes.
  4. Describe and evaluate comparative individual, team and departmental approaches to investigating and processing a crime scene.
  5. Articulate the legal and ethical issues involved in investigating and processing a crime scene.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions 160 16%
Chapter Questions 260 26%
Quizzes and Exams 280 28%
Practical Exercises 300 30%
Total 1000 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Safety Contract -- Wednesday
Introduction Discussion --
Discussion 1: CSI Myths 10 Sunday
Discussion 2: The CSI Effect 10
Dropbox 1: Chapter Questions 60
Quiz 1 20
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3: The Role of the Crime Scene Investigator 10 Sunday
Discussion 4: How Technology Has Changed the Job of the Investigator 10
Dropbox 2: Chapter Questions 40
Quiz 2 20
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5: Crime Scene Mapping 10 Sunday
Discussion 6: Crime Scene Apps 10
Dropbox 3: Chapter Questions 40
Dropbox 4: Crime Scene Sketch 100
Quiz 3 20
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7: Fingerprint Collection Methods 10 Sunday
Discussion 8: Fingerprint Challenges 10
Dropbox 5: Fingerprinting 100
Midterm 80
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9: Protecting the Crime Scene 10 Sunday
Discussion 10: Challenges with Casting Footwear and Tire Impressions 10
Dropbox 6: Chapter Questions 40
Dropbox 7: Impression Casting 100
Quiz 4 20
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11: What Makes Something Evidence? 10 Sunday
Discussion 12: Shooting Scene Reconstruction 10
Dropbox 8: Chapter Questions 40
Quiz 5 20
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13: The Body as a Crime Scene 10 Sunday
Discussion 14: When Evidence Isn’t Collected Properly 10
Dropbox 9: Chapter Questions 40
Quiz 6 20
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 15: The Roles and Specializations in Crime Scene Investigation 10 Saturday
Discussion 16: Computer Forensics 10
Final Exam 80
Total Points 1000

Assignment Overview

Safety Contract

This course requires several hands-on labs done at home with materials purchased from MBS. All of these practical exercises can be conducted safely if the proper measures have been taken. In order to be sure that everyone is aware of the safety precautions and procedures, you must complete the “Safety Contract” in the Quizzes area by 11:59 PM CT on Wednesday of Week 1. While this quiz does not earn you points in the course, you must complete the quiz with a score of 100% before you will be allowed to complete any other quizzes or exams.


Discussions

Weekly discussion posts are subjective academic exercises. Your postings are expected to be original, relevant analyses and observations of the assigned topic(s). Each week, you are expected to read all of your classmates’ (and my) posts and respond to at least two other student postings. Simply rephrasing the readings or another student’s post is not acceptable. While discussions are informal, they must be intelligible and effectively communicate your analysis and ideas. Pay close attention to use of spelling, punctuation, diction and grammatical rules. The key to the discussions is quality, not quantity; last day or last-minute postings and responses will not receive full points. All discussions are due by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday of each week except for Week 8, when all discussions are due by 11:59 PM CT on Saturday.


Chapter Questions (Dropbox Assignments)

Each week, you will be expected to answer questions from your textbook based on your readings.   Your answers should be short essay responses (roughly an 8-10 sentence paragraph) based on your readings and your own research, fully explaining your answer and giving details and examples from the course resources (textbook and video) to defend your position. Each answer should be labeled properly and the document should include your name and the course number in the heading. Since this is a college level course, you are expected to write using proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar. All chapter questions are due by 11:59 PM CT Sunday on the week they are assigned except for Week 8, when all assignments are due by 11:59 PM CT on Saturday.


Practical Exercises (Dropbox Assignments)

Your practical exercises will involve you completing activities at home such as fingerprinting or impression casting. Because this is an online course, the only way you can turn in this work for evaluation is by taking photographs and submitting them to the Dropbox. You can use any type of device available to photograph your work as long as the quality of the photographs allows me to clearly see details in order to assess your work. That means that I will not be able to assess your work if your images are blurry, low-resolution, or poorly-lit. The best way to judge is to look at the images before turning them in and ask yourself: “Can I clearly see the details in my work?” If you can’t, you should try again. Tips for getting good photographs will be posted in the Content area of the course. All exercises are due by 11:59 PM CT Sunday on the week they are assigned except for Week 8 when all assignments are due by 11:59 PM CT on Saturday.


Quizzes

You will take six brief quizzes designed to test your understanding of the readings in Weeks 1-3 and Weeks 5-7. These quizzes will consist of 10 multiple choice and short essay questions worth 2 points each and will be due by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday of that week. You will be given 40 minutes to complete each quiz.


Exams

Midterm Exam

Your Midterm Exam will take place during Week 4 and will be a combination of comprehensive exam over material from Weeks 1-3 as well as new information from your Week 4 readings. The exam will consist of 40 multiple choice and short essay type questions worth 2 points each and will be due by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday of Week 4. You will have 80 minutes to complete this exam.

Final Exam

The Final Exam will take place during Week 8 and will be a comprehensive exam covering all material in the course (including Week 8 readings). The questions will consist of multiple choice and short essay questions worth 2 points each and will be due by 11:59 PM CT on Saturday of Week 8. You will have 80 minutes to complete this exam.



Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Week 1: Crime Scene Introduction & Understanding the Nature of Physical Evidence
Safety Contract

In the Quizzes area, complete the Safety Contract to acknowledge the safety rules and expectations for the lab kit and conducting labs at home. This activity must be completed before other quizzes and exams are made available to you.

Readings

Chapters 1 and 2, Practical Crime Scene Processing and Investigation

Introduction Discussion

Introduce yourself to the class, stating basic information like where you are from, why you are taking this class, and what you hope to learn.

Discussion 1: CSI Myths

Many of you have likely become interested in crime scene investigation due to television and movies.  Based on what you‘ve read in the first two chapters, what are some myths that you had coming into the course?

Discussion 2: The CSI Effect

Read the article provided in the Content area from the National Institute of Justice. Has the CSI Effect impacted our juries? Defend your response with examples from this reading, your textbook, or other online resources.

Dropbox 1: Chapter Questions

Chapter 1 questions 2, 5, & 6 and Chapter 2 questions 1, 8 & 11

Quiz 1

If you don’t see Quiz 1 in the Quizzes area, be sure you have completed the Safety Contract. Quiz 1 will cover material from Chapters 1 and 2.

Week 2: Crime Scene Mythology and Crime Scene Photography
Readings

Chapters 4 and 6

Discussion 3: The Role of the Crime Scene Investigator

The role of the crime scene investigator is constantly changing. Read any (or all) of the resources available in the Content area, then write a post describing one major change over the years in the crime scene investigator’s role and one thing that has remained the same.

Discussion 4: How Technology Has Changed the Job of the Investigator

Technology has changed drastically since the inception of crime scene investigation. Based on the articles you’ve read, your textbook, and any other research, have these technologies made the job of the investigator easier or harder? Defend your position using examples from your readings and research.

Dropbox 2: Chapter Questions

Chapter 4 question 5 (see the Content area for the photograph needed to answer this question) and Chapter 6, questions 3, 4, & 10

Quiz 2

Covers Chapters 4 and 6.

Week 3: Crime Scene Sketching
Readings

Chapter 7

Discussion 5: Crime Scene Mapping

There have been great advances made in the technology used to document crime scenes like 3-D modeling, laser scanners, and GPS technologies. However, there are also drawbacks to these technologies. Start by reading the article available in the Content area. Choose one type of crime scene mapping technology and discuss its advantages and disadvantages, then give your opinion on whether the technology is worth using. Defend your position with examples from your readings and your own research.

Discussion 6: Crime Scene Apps

Start by reading the article in the Content area on crime scene processing apps. Do some quick Internet research and identify another newer technology or technique for crime scene processing.  What are the pros and cons of this technology?

Crime Scene Sketch Workshop Discussion

This is an open, ungraded discussion on the crime scene sketch project. Feel free to ask questions, share tips, or pass along resources.

Dropbox 3: Chapter Questions

Chapter 7 questions 1, 2, 4 & 10

Dropbox 4: Crime Scene Sketch

For this exercise, you will need to create a crime scene sketch using Microsoft PowerPoint (or equivalent). After reading your textbook and watching this week’s videos on crime scene sketching, choose a room in your home that has several basic objects. Hand drawn sketches will not be accepted. Use the best technique for measuring each object, label all parts of the sketch correctly (including the heading of the sketch), and turn in the project in PowerPoint format (.ppt) to the Dropbox by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday.

Quiz 3

Covers Chapter 7.

Week 4: Basic Skills for Scene Processing (Fingerprints)
Readings

Chapter 9 (pages 239-284)

Discussion 7: Fingerprint Collection Methods

How do fingerprint collection methods change from one situation to the other? For example, how is the collection of a fingerprint different when the surface is glass, marble, plastic, wood, metal, leather, vinyl, tile, paper, fabric, unfinished wood, human skin, etc. Also, how does the environment affect the collection process and your decision to use a particular method of collection?

Discussion 8: Fingerprint Challenges

Although fingerprinting is an accepted method of identification and an integral part of crime scene investigation, there are still challenges. Read the article provided in the Content area and perform your own research to find out what some of the major challenges are that still persist in collecting fingerprints, analyzing fingerprints, and their admissibility in the courtroom.

Crime Scene Sketch Workshop Discussion

This is an open, ungraded discussion on the crime scene sketch project. Feel free to ask questions, share tips, or pass along resources.

Dropbox 5: Fingerprinting

After reading your textbook and reviewing the videos on brush techniques, you will first need to create 12 fingerprints (4 on glass objects, 4 on metal surfaces, and 4 on paper surfaces.) Create lifts of each fingerprint, making sure that you have properly marked each lift with your name, course number and the type of surface (e.g. metal, glass or paper), then either use a scanner or a camera to turn those lifts into an image. Review the images to make sure they are not blurry, low-resolution, or poorly lit, then upload all 12 images (either individually or as one zipped file) to the Dropbox by 11:59 PM CT Sunday.

Midterm

Covers Chapters 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, and the first half of Chapter 9.

Week 5: Basic Skills for Scene Processing (Impression Casting)
Readings

Chapter 9 (pages 284-298)

Discussion 9: Protecting the Crime Scene

In many crime scenes, by the time you arrive the scene has already been disturbed by first responders, law enforcement, or witnesses. Read the article provided in the Content area and conduct your own research to find a few tips for protecting your crime scene as well as how to determine what should and should not be considered evidence.

Discussion 10: Challenges with Casting Footwear and Tire Impressions

Footwear and tire impressions are very important at a crime scene but they can be very difficult to obtain due to the wide range of materials where impressions can be left. After reading your textbook, the articles provided in the Content Area, and performing your own research, write your post about one type of material, what is challenging about that material, and techniques for casting in that material.

Dropbox 6: Chapter Questions

Chapter 9 questions 2, 4, 8, and 9

Dropbox 7: Impression Casting

After reading your textbook and reviewing the course videos on the use of BioFoam and impression casting, you will cast one shoe impression in BioFoam and another in mud. After your casts have hardened and have been cleaned, you will need to take five photographs of each casting: lighting from the right, left, front, and back of the casting at a 45 degree angle and one lit from directly above.  Your photographs should be in-focus, well-lit, and high enough resolution to see detail in your casting. You will turn in 10 photographs (5 of each casting) either as individual files or in a zipped folder containing all 10 images to the Dropbox by 11:59 PM CT on Sunday.

Quiz 4

Covers the second half of Chapter 9.

Week 6: Shooting Scene Documentation and Reconstruction
Readings

Chapter 10

Discussion 11: What Makes Something Evidence?

Review the crime scene photographs provided for you in the Content area. What items in the photos would you consider to be evidence and why? Defend your opinion with examples from the course resources and your own research.

Discussion 12: Shooting Scene Reconstruction

Reconstructing a shooting scene involves a massive amount of information and requires a multitude of skills. After reading through the articles provided in the Content area and conducting your own research, what are some of the most important skills and pieces of information needed to reconstruct a shooting incident? How valuable is this information in the courtroom? Defend your opinion with examples from your textbook and readings.

Dropbox 8: Chapter Questions

Chapter 10, questions 1-4

Quiz 5

Covers Chapter 10.

Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Week 7: The Body as a Crime Scene
Readings

Chapter 12

Discussion 13: The Body as a Crime Scene

One of the most important pieces of evidence is the body itself. However, sometimes it’s the only piece of evidence. Read through the articles provided in the Content area and conduct your own research, then write up some of the top pieces of evidence that you look for on the body and the best ways to collect that evidence. Backup your opinion with details and examples from your readings.

Discussion 14: When Evidence Isn’t Collected Properly

The OJ Simpson investigation is one of the most infamous examples of how mistakes made at the crime scene can make or break a case. After reading through the articles provided in the Content area, perform your own research and find another high-profile case where evidence was not properly collected at the scene. Summarize the case in your discussion post explaining what evidence wasn’t collected properly and what should have been done differently.

Dropbox 9: Chapter Questions

Chapter 12, questions 1, 5, 6, and 9

Quiz 6

Covers Chapter 12.

Week 8: The Role of Crime Scene Analysis and Final Exam
Readings

Chapter 14

Discussion 15: The Roles and Specializations in Crime Scene Investigation

When it comes to processing a crime scene, there are a lot of different roles and specialties. From the list provided in the Content area, choose one role or specialty to research. Topics are first come, first served so post your choice as early as possible so that no two people choose the same topic. After conducting your own Internet research, explain the job duties and skills required and what their role is in collection, preservation and interpretation of evidence from crime scenes in your own words.

Discussion 16: Computer Forensics

Digital and computer forensics is a fairly new and rapidly changing specialty in forensics. After reading through the articles provided in the Content area and conducting your own research, share a case where computer forensics was critical in solving the crime and what skills are necessary to be a good digital forensic expert.

Final Exam

Comprehensive final exam covering all material in the course (including Week 8 readings). Must be completed by 11:59 PM CT on Saturday.



Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism

Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.

Non-Discrimination

There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

Quizzes and exams are also not allowed to be turned in late. Dropbox assignments can be turned in until Wednesday of the week after the due date. Late Dropbox assignments will receive an automatic one-grade deduction (10%). Any submission after Wednesday will not be given credit unless prior approval was granted by the instructor.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.


Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.


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