Criminalistics: An Introduction to Forensics


  2. A. Course Title: Criminalistics: An Introduction to Forensics
    B. Course Number: CJ 213F - 30481
    C. Semester: Fall 2017
    D. Days/Time: Online
    E. Credit Hours: 3
    F. Instructor: Fons, August
    G. Office: Bob Moran Hall (MB) 139
    H. Email Address:
    I. Office Phone: (575) 492-2721
    J. Office Hours:
    K. Time Zone: Mountain Time
    L. Prerequisite(s): None
    M. Corequisite(s): None
    N. Class Location: Virtual

    This course is a study of physical evidence found at crime scenes, updated techniques for proper collection and preservation of crime scene evidence, and various forms of forensic analysis. Also covered will be the topic of DNA in a manner that is comprehensible to students who lack a scientific background. This is a three credit hour course.


    The purpose of this course is to make the subject of forensic science & related crime scene investigation comprehensible to those students who are considering a career in the profession as well as those who are simply curious about the foundation of forensic science. Students should check with their advisor/counselor to determine whether this course is transferable to other institutions.



    Criminalistics: An Introduction to Forensic Science, 12th Ed., 2018, R. Saferstein, Pearson-Prentice Hall
    Access to computers and software that meet certain minimum technical specification to use CANVAS


    You can buy your books online at the NMJC Bookstore.


    Students attending New Mexico Junior College will be evaluated according to the following grading scale:

    						90 - 100%	=	A
    						80 -  89%	=	B
    						70 -  79%	=	C
    						60 -  69%	=	D
    					 	 0 -  59%	=	F

    Additional Grading Scale (Possible Points):

    1188 – 1320 = A
    1056 – 1187 = B
    924 – 1055 = C
    792 – 923 = D
    791 or below = F

    Point accumulations will be calculated based on the following:

    Introduction Discussion (50 points)
    Student Profile (25 points)
    Contact Information (10 points)
    Academic Honesty (10 points)
    Syllabus Quiz (25 points)

    Unit Assignments to include Written Assignments and Class Discussions (Each written assignment is worth 50 points and each discussion assignment is worth 50 points for a semester total of 800 possible points)

    There will be eight unit assignments. Each week you will be required to respond to written questions from your chapter reading assignments. These questions will be answered in a Microsoft Word document. You will also be required to respond to discussion question/(s) which will also come from your reading assignments. These responses will be posted to the class discussion board. You are also required to comment on at least two other student’s responses by replying to the students posted messages on the Discussion Board.

    Tests (There will be four academic tests. Each test will consist of 50 questions and be worth 50 points for a total semester value of 200 possible points)

    Test #1 will cover Chapters 1-4. Test #2 (Mid-Term) will cover Chapters 5-8. Test #3 will cover Chapters 9-12. Test #4 (Final Exam) will cover Chapters 13-18.

    Retrieving Grades from Banner System – Go to the New Mexico Junior College Banner login page. Please enter your User Identification Number (ID), which is your Banner ID or your Social Security number without hyphens, and your Personal Identification Number (PIN).

    Retrieving Grades from T-BirdWeb Portal
    Go to the New Mexico Junior College T-BirdWeb Portal login page. Please enter your User Identification Number (ID), which is your Banner ID, and your Personal Identification Number (PIN). When finished, click Login.

    Tips for Success in Online Courses:
    1. Log in to class regularly.
    2. Pay attention.
    3. Take notes.
    4. Keep up with readings and assignments.
    5. Ask questions when you do not understand something.
    6. Utilize your professor’s office hours and e-mail.
    7. Read the text.
    8. Adhere to the deadlines posted in the course outline.


    New Mexico Junior College’s institutional student learning outcomes represent the knowledge and abilities developed by students attending New Mexico Junior College. Upon completion students should achieve the following learning outcomes along with specific curriculum outcomes for respective areas of study:


    Upon successful completion of this course, a student should have a good understanding of common items of physical evidence encountered at crime scenes, updated techniques for the proper collection and preservation of evidence at crime scenes, various forms of forensic analysis and the meaning and role of probability in interpreting the evidential significance of scientifically evaluated evidence.


    Upon successful completion of this course, a student should be able to:

    Define physical evidence
    Describe proper techniques for packaging common types of physical evidence
    Define and understand the concept of chain of custody
    Explain the difference between the identification and comparison of physical evidence
    Explain the purpose physical evidence plays in reconstructing the events surrounding the commission of a crime
    Describe the usefulness of trace elements for forensic comparison of various types of physical evidence
    Understand the use of DNA computerized databases in criminal investigation
    List the areas of the computer that will be examined to retrieve forensic evidence


    Student Requirements
    If you have not already received login information for Canvas/T-BirdWeb Portal/E-mail, you will need to contact the Enrollment Management office at (575) 492-2546.

    Check first-time login page for instructions at

    Canvas Assistance

    You must have access, on a regular basis, to a computer that supports the Canvas minimum specifications and has an active connection to the Internet. See the minimum computer specification requirements at


    IMPORTANT: Criminalistics – particularly forensic science, is a complex field of study and will require diligence on the part of the student. You will not be successful in this course if you choose to simply browse through the chapter(s) at the last minute and submit marginal work. This course will generally be comprised of reading assignments, case studies, discussion questions, internet research, and class interaction. This is a short semester in which we will spend 8 weeks covering each of 18 textbook chapters. Each of these chapters is accompanied by specific assignments/activities. Because this is a short semester (8 weeks) each student will necessarily have to stay current on all assignments. There will be little, if any, time for makeup work. There is no question that this subject is much more than astounding crime-solving television drama. It is an academic subject which emphasizes logic, technology and study!


    Students will be held responsible for the information on these pages.

    Academic Honesty
    Each student is expected to maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity in online academic and professional matters. The College reserves the right to take disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, against any student who is found guilty of academic dishonesty or otherwise fails to meet these standards. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, dishonesty in quizzes, tests, or assignments; claiming credit for work not done or done by others; and nondisclosure or misrepresentation in filling out applications or other College records. Cheating or gaining illegal information for any type of graded work is considered dishonest and will be dealt with accordingly.

    Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Information
    Any student requiring special accommodations should contact the Special Needs Student Services Coordinator at (575) 492-2576 or by e-mail at

    Attendance Policy and Participation Expectations
    It is expected that you regularly log into class at least three times weekly and check your Canvas mail to ensure you have not missed any changes/updates. Students are expected to complete discussions/quizzes/tests/ assignments before deadlines expire.

    Canvas Help
    If you experience difficulty with Canvas you may reach the Canvas Helpdesk at, or by calling the 24 hour helpdesk phone at (575) 399-2199.

    The professor is responsible for monitoring and evaluating student conduct and student behavior within the Canvas course. By registering for this class, the student is assumed to have entered into an agreement with New Mexico Junior College and the professor to log into the class regularly and to behave in an appropriate manner at all times. Disruptive behavior may result in the student being removed from the class and dropped for the semester. For comprehensive information on the common rules of netiquette and other online issues, please review the NMJC Online Student Handbook.

    Online Learning Environment
    By participating in an online class, you undertake responsibility for your own progress and time management.

    Offering the work of another as one’s own, without proper acknowledgment, is plagiarism; therefore, any student who fails to give credit for quotations or essentially identical expression of material taken from books, encyclopedias, magazines and other reference works, or from the themes, reports, or other writings of a fellow student, is guilty of plagiarism. Plagiarism violates the academic honesty policy and is considered cheating.

    Tutoring Assistance
    Free tutoring services are available to all NMJC students through Brainfuse and the Academic Success Center located in Mansur Hall room 123 and 124.

    Withdrawal Policy
    The instructor has the right to drop any student who has failed to log on to Canvas for two weeks or more, but it is not guaranteed that the instructor will drop you. If the student chooses to stop attending a class, he/she should withdraw from the class by accessing your student account in the T-Bird Web Portal at, or submitting the required paperwork to the Registrar’s Office by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 21, 2017. Failure to withdraw yourself from a course by this date may result in your receiving an “F” in the course. All students are encouraged to discuss their class status with the professor prior to withdrawing from the class.


    The course will follow this general outline and should help you stay on track with required readings and assignments:
    The professor may alter the schedule of this outline as warranted and/or as needed:
    Date Due Assignment
    2nd Day of Class StudentBiography (Introduction)
    2nd Day 0f Class Introduction/Syllabus Quiz

    Week #1 Read Chapters 1, 2, and 3
    Wednesday/Week #1 Assignment One-Discussion

    Saturday/Week #1 Assignment One-Written

    Week #2 Read Chapters 4 and 5
    Wednesday/Week #2 Assignment Two-Discussion
    Saturday/Week #2 Assignment Two-Written
    Saturday/Week #2 Test #1 [Chapters 1-4]

    Week #3 Read Chapters 6 and 7
    Wednesday/Week #3 Assignment Three-Discussion
    Saturday/Week #3 Assignment Three-Written
    Week #4 Read Chapters 8 and 9
    Wednesday/Week #4 Assignment Four-Discussion
    Saturday/Week #4 Assignment Four-Written
    Saturday/Week #4 Test #2 [Chapters 5-8]

    Week #5 Read Chapters 10,11, & 12
    Wednesday/Week #5 Assignment Five-Discussion
    Saturday/Week #5 Assignment Five-Written

    Week #6 Read Chapters 13 and 14
    Wednesday/Week #6 Assignment Six-Discussion
    Saturday/Week #6 Assignment Six-Written
    Saturday/Week #6 Test [Chapters 9-12]
    Week #7 Read Chapters 15 and 16
    Wednesday/Week #7 Assignment Seven-Discussion
    Saturday/Week #7 Assignment Seven-Written
    Week #8 Read Chapters 17 and 18
    Wednesday/Week #8 Assignment Eight-Discussion
    Saturday/Week #8 Assignment Eight-Written
    Week #9 (Finals Week)
    Monday/Week #9 Test #4 [Chapters 13-18]