Georgia Perimeter College Common Course Outline

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1 Georgia Perimeter College Common Course Outline Course Abbreviation & Number: FRSC 2100 Course Title: Credit Hours: 3 Prerequisites: Co-requisites: Introduction to Forensic Science Exit or exemption from MATH 0997, ENGL 0999, and all ESL requirements None Course Description: This course will familiarize students with the basic principles and uses of forensic science in the American system of justice. Forensic science is the study and application of science to the processes of law and involves the collection, examination, evaluation and interpretation of evidence. This field encompasses many scientific areas, which, if used properly, can make invaluable contributions to the resolution of social and legal disputes. The course will review the basic applications of the biological, physical, chemical, medical and behavioral sciences to questions of evidence and law. In doing so, students should gain a basic understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the forensic sciences as they are presently practiced. Expected Educational Results: Successful completion of this course will provide a fundamental understanding of common techniques and instrumentation used throughout the forensic sciences. Engaged students will gain a basic understanding of the capabilities and limitations of forensic science, increase their scientific literacy, and be better prepared to be effective jurors and citizens by critically examining claims presented by experts. As a result of completing the course the student will be able to: 1. Describe methods to properly recognize, document and collect physical evidence from various types of crime scenes. 2. Discuss the capabilities and limitations of forensic examinations performed in federal, state and local crime laboratories. 3. Explain the various identification, examination and comparison processes that occur in crime laboratories. 4. Describe courtroom procedures for criminal trials. Explain the nature of the expert witness and the role of crime scene investigators and forensic scientists in criminal proceedings. 5. Discuss the advancements that have occurred in the forensic

2 sciences from a historical perspective. 6. Differentiate between class characteristics and individual characteristics in various disciplines and understand their significance to items of evidence. General Educational Outcomes: 1. Students demonstrate the ability to interpret and analyze quantitative information; apply mathematical principles and techniques; and to use mathematical models to solve problems. Students will use the metric system, analyze forensic methods used to identify substances on the basis of their physical and chemical properties, and demonstrate an understanding of the analytical tools used in modern crime laboratories. Students will interpret data generated by common analytical techniques used in crime laboratories and make conclusions based on their observations. 2. Students demonstrate effective problem-solving and critical thinking skills through interpreting, presenting or evaluating ideas. Students will apply critical thinking skills to real-world criminal cases through analysis of forensic evidence and expert witness testimony presented in the form of case studies. Students will develop skills necessary to utilize the internet to access websites and resources pertinent to ongoing technological advances in forensic sciences, professional guidelines and procedures that govern evidence collection, and employment opportunities in crime scene investigation and the forensic sciences. Students develop an understanding of legal considerations that must be considered at crime scenes and in the crime laboratory. 3. Students apply scientific reasoning and methods of inquiry to explain natural phenomena. Students apply scientific reasoning to identify capabilities and limitations of methods used to analyze various types of physical evidence. Since forensic science draws on skills from a number of other disciplines, students will apply methods of inquiry from chemistry, biology, and physical comparison methods to explain historical advances in the forensic sciences. Students develop an understanding of universal safety precautions that must be taken at crime scenes. 4. Students produce well-organized communication that exhibit logical thinking and organization, use appropriate style for audience and meet conventional standards of usage. Students develop speaking skills through both formal and informal classroom discussions, presentations and focused small group

3 Course Content: interactions. Students develop their reading comprehension skills by reading the text and other directed reading material. Writing skills are developed through the use of problems and activities designed specifically to enhance understanding of forensic science principles, the nature of science and to articulate current conceptions. Exams, quizzes and formative assessments will require written solutions as well. I. The Crime Scene and the Collection of Evidence A. Search methods for physical evidence. B. Recognition, documentation and collection methods. C. Maintaining chain of evidence. D. Screening of evidence: social and resource concerns. E. Basic types of physical evidence/identification vs. individualization. F. Universal Safety Precautions. II. III. IV. Methods of Forensic Science A. Physical properties B. Glass and soil C. Organic analysis D. Analytical techniques separation and identification E. Inorganic analysis F. Microscopy; Scanning electron microscopy/x-ray analyzer G. Organization of Crime Laboratories Trace Evidence: Hairs, Fibers, and Paint A. The exchange principle/trace evidence B. Hairs and fibers C. Paint D. Expressions of individuality Drug Identification A. Major drug categories/substance of abuse B. Statutory control of drugs C. Analytical procedures sample preparation D. Analytical instrumentation and interpretation data V. Toxicology and Pathology A. Identification of drugs/poisons in body fluids B. Determination of cause and manner of death C. Role of medical examiner/coroner VI. Bioscience and DNA Typing A. Nature of blood and other body fluids

4 B. Dried bloodstains, forensic characterizations C. DNA D. Analytical instrumentation and interpretation data VII. VIII. IX. Finger and Palm Prints A. Historical issues B. Fundamental principles C. Detection, preservation, development D. Automated identification systems E. Methods of comparison Arson, Explosions A. Recovery of evidence/reconstruction of fire scene B. Detection of accelerants C. Analytical instrumentation and interpretation data Footwear Impressions, Firearms and Toolmarks A. Pattern, impression evidence B. Bullet and cartridge comparisons C. Toolmarks D. Gunpowder patterns, residues E. Methods of comparison X. Document Analysis A. Handwriting analysis B. Alterations, reconstruction, ink analysis C. Analytical instrumentation and interpretation data XI. Contemporary Issues and the Future of Forensic Science A. Professionalizing the field B. Certification of personnel C. Proficiency testing and quality assurance D. Courtroom procedures and Expert Witness Testimony Assessment of Outcome Objectives Course Grade: Grades from some combination of the following will be used to determine each student s final course grade: class participation, homework assignments, papers, projects, oral presentations, quizzes and exams. Exams may be multiple choice, some combination of multiple choice and short answer or essay, or purely essay and/or short answer. Individual instructors may determine the relative weightings of each component in determining the grade for the course, and must state the weightings to be used in determining student grades in the course syllabus.

5 Course Assessment: This course will be assessed in the fall semester on a three-year assessment cycle. Objective questions assessing student mastery of outcomes for this course will be included in either the final exam or unit tests for this course. Each instructor must include these questions in the appropriate exam. Each instructor is responsible for reviewing and tabulating the results of these outcome assessment questions and transmitting them to the course or curriculum committee responsible for this course. Individual instructors should use feedback from assessment in their classes to review and evaluate their own teaching practices. Use of Assessment Findings: Last Revised: The Forensic Science Curriculum Committee will meet in the spring term after the fall assessment to review the course and to evaluate the results. The review of the course outcome assessment findings will provide information on success in achieving the desired outcomes for this course. If fewer than 70% of the students perform successfully on questions measuring any particular educational outcome, the committee will examine teaching practices related to that outcome, the assessment instrument, and the desired learning outcomes to determine which, if any, of these need modifying. The committee will share its findings and recommendations with faculty teaching this course, and may make changes to the desired educational outcomes, teaching practices, or assessment instrument as appropriate. Last Revised June 16, 2015

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