Syllabus: CHM 110 OA Forensic Science Spring I 2019


Spring I 2019            

Online Course (Three Credits)                                   


Lynn B. DeSanto MT(ASCP), MS




Suite 101 First  Floor Main Building


Office Hours

by appointment or in ON-LINE CHAT





Saferstein, Richard. (2011). Criminalistics—An Introduction to Forensic Science, 12th ed.  Prentice Hall, Saddle River, NJ.

Bundled virtual lab access card Pearson/ Saferstein Virtual Laboratory Exercises  Edition 11th

Author: Saferstein
Edition: 11th
ISBN: 9781269860345


Course Description (2010) Lackawanna College Catalog):

“This course presents an overview of the application of science to law.  Sample collection, handling, analysis, and interpretation of physical, chemical, and biological evidence from crime scenes are emphasized.  Topics include searching the crime scene, nature of evidence, physical and chemical analyses, forensic toxicology, blood, DNA, and fingerprinting. This course includes both lecture and laboratory weekly. (3 Credits).”



Students who have successfully completed this course should be able:

  1. To describe the techniques, skills, and limitations of the modern crime laboratory.
  2. To describe procedures and practices relating to the proper collection and preservation of evidence at crime scenes.
  3. To explain how to analyze and evaluate physical, chemical, and biological evidence.
  4. To interpret the evidential significance of scientifically evaluated evidence within a probabilistic framework.
  5. To scientifically explain the role of probability in statistical analysis of forensic evidence.
  6. To evaluate mathematically the quality of forensic laboratory tests based on normal ranges, standard deviation, and quality controls.
  7. To bridge the “communication gap” between those involved with the criminal justice system and forensic scientists.

(8)  To understand forensic laboratory testing, procedures, and equipment after performing Forensic laboratory experiments and successfully completing lab reports.



1. Reading of all assigned chapters.

2. Reading of all assigned case studies and completion of assignments pertaining to the case studies.

3. Completion of weekly Laboratory Reports based on and pertaining to experiments performed

     In the Virtual Forensic Laboratory.

4. Completion of Nutshell Murder Evaluation, Final  Project..

5. Professional attitude toward learning in an on-line setting.

6. Completion of Autopsy Laboratory Report after completion of virtual autopsy.

7. Active Participation in On-Line Discussions that is substantive and relevant.

8. Completion of all quizzes and exams.


1. Exams and quizzes—will be comprised of a mixture of questions (multiple choice, true/false/matching, fill-in-the-blank, and subjective/ short essay questions.  Tentative schedule of exams and quizzes can be found on attached course outline.

2.Laboratory reports—will be graded on neatness as well as thoroughness.

3. Nutshell Murder Evaluation --- will be evaluated on quality of the following items: description of crime scene, evidence discovery, related Forensic methodology and crime scene reconstruction.

4.Discussion Group Participation—will be evaluated on  the following: number of posts per week ( minimum 8posts per week),YOU MUST REPLY FIRST POST TO EACH DISCUSSION QUESTION. Then you are required to make a minimum of three additional replies. These replies and your initial post  must occur on four different days. Responding to all posted Discussion Questions, Interactions with at least two classmates,   Responses that answer the question, provide examples to explain your answer, relates to course material and finally encourages more responses.

5. CSI Effect Assignment:—Students will be expected to read research articles on the CSI effect. Then they are required to write a paper pertaining to the CSI effect and how to prevent it.

7. Death by Fire  Group  Project  —After viewing the Documentary:  Death by Fire, students will evaluate the film as well as the evidence which led to the conviction of Arson. Each student  will then debate and discuss whether  the state of Texas had wrongfully executed an innocent man. Also discussed will be the role of advances in Science and how they can impact courtroom verdicts.



Online Course Attendance Policy

Students enrolled in credit-bearing courses at Lackawanna College will fail any course(s) in which they accumulate absences beyond the maximum number allowed. This pertains to online courses as well. Attendance is defined by participating in an academic activity within the online classroom, which includes posting replies in a graded discussion forum or submitting a written assignment. *Please note that the beginning of course activities common to all courses (Syllabus quiz, Course Navigation Quiz, Academic Honesty Pledge, Autobiography) DO NOT count for attendance purposes.

Students that fail to participate in an academic activity as described above in the online classroom prior to the last day to drop/add a course will automatically be dropped from the course.

Students who miss one week of participation will be DROPPED from the course. It is the responsibility of the student to formally withdraw from the course at the Registrar’s office.


Online Course Discussion Policy

In order to understand, remember, and benefit from what we learn in class, discussion and interaction are critical. Responses such as, “I like what you said.” “I agree.” Or “Good thinking.” are NOT acceptable. Also, you should NOT simply repeat what someone else has already said.

Good Discussions in Course Resources will help you, but you should also use this rubric to gain all possible points for your contributions and, more importantly, to get the most out of our class discussion!

Ask yourself the following questions to help guide you in having a great discussion:

  • Did I answer the discussion questions directly demonstrating a clear understanding of the material that promoted conversation?
  • Did I support my answers to the discussion questions with research and reading?
  • Did I respond to at least two classmates?
  • Did I continue the conversation with peers that replied to my discussion?
  • Did I answer any additional questions the instructor may have asked?
  • Are all of my responses detailed and clear?
  • Did I participate in the discussion on 4 separate days?
  • Did I relate my responses to the course reading, notes, and/or personal life?
  • Did I provide the class with a response that is non-generic and inspiring – meaning that they learned from what I have contributed and can continue the conversation
  • Did I use proper grammar, spelling and netiquette?


Responses that do not move the conversation forward by providing information to which others can respond and build upon will negatively affect your weekly score.






Withdrawal Policy

A student has the privilege of withdrawing from any courses or from the College itself without academic penalty up to and including the final date for withdrawal indicated on the College calendar.

To withdraw officially from a course or from the College, a student must obtain the proper withdrawal form from the Student Affairs Office or from your Center Director, complete this form and submit it to the Registrar's Office before the final day for withdrawal without academic penalty as indicated on the College calendar. If a student stops attending a course for which he/she is registered after the published census date (end of drop/add) without having officially withdrawn from the course, the student will be assigned an AW (penalty-grade failure) for the class. No exceptions will be made.

Students who violate the College's Academic Integrity Policy and fail a course in consequence may not exercise the withdrawal privilege in that particular course.


Financial obligations to the College will be determined according to the Refund Policy.




Instructor Policies

1.Discussion Messages should be concise and will be graded on Content and relevancy. Although personal experiences are interesting the focus needs to always be on how your experiences relate to the content and the curriculum of the course.

2.  All discussion messages and written work should be proof-read and spell-checked. Failure to do this will result in Loss of Points.

3. Use of profane or disrespectful language will not be tolerated and will result in grade reduction.

4. Refrain from using all caps as this is considered an on-line form of yelling.5. Replies in which much slang is used will not be accepted as this type of communication can diminish the value of the content.

5. Replies with too much slang in them will not be accepted as this can diminish the content’s value.

6. Deadlines are firm and assignments will not be accepted after the due date. This online format is abbreviated in time compared to the regular semester so it is important that students realize this and begin immediately to engage and plan for all upcoming due dates!!!!!


  1. Discussion Groups (total of 8 worth 20 points---  160 Points
  2. Quizzes (total of 6 worth 25 points each-------------150 Points
  3. Laboratory Reports from Virtual Labs (total of 9)--- 100 Points
  4. Virtual Autopsy Lab Report-----------------                25Points
  5. Death by Fire  Project---------------------------  100 Points
  6. Final Comprehensive Exam--------------------------  120 Points
  7. CSI Effect Assignment ---------------------------------  50 Points
  8. Nutshell Murder Recreation ----------------------------- 50 points

                                                              Total-------------755 Points


Letter Grade

Numeric Range

Quality Points


96 – 100



90 – 95



87 – 89



83 – 86



80 – 82



77 – 79



73 – 76



70 – 72



67 – 69



60 – 66



0 – 59



Due Dates and Late Penalties


  • There will be no “extra credit.”
  • Due dates need to be met. A grade of Zero will be received if assignments are not received by the scheduled due date!!!!!!


Academic Integrity

Academic dishonesty in any form, such as plagiarism and cheating, will not be tolerated. Sanctions will include an automatic F for plagiarism, but the severity or frequency of the violation may result in dismissal from the College as well. Please see the Student Handbook for a complete explanation.


The following are among the forms of dishonesty, in a classroom of any type, for which sanctions may be applied:

  • Using books, notes or other materials during an examination, unless expressly permitted;
  • Using purchased essays, term papers or preparatory research for such papers;
  • Copying others' work or engaging in unauthorized cooperation during an assignment or examination;
  • Allowing another student to copy from an examination or other assignment intended to be performed independently;
  • Borrowing from published works, whether material is taken verbatim or with minor alterations, without proper and/or sufficient acknowledgment;
  • Submitting as one’s own work originally done by someone else;
  • Submitting the same written report in more than one course without prior approval from the instructor(s) involved;
  • Stealing examinations or assignments;
  • Supplying or selling examinations or assignments;
  • Misrepresenting statements concerning work submitted;
  • Falsifying or fabricating experimental data or results;
  • Falsifying or fabricating the need for extensions on papers or make-up examinations.
  • Misrepresenting identity in an online course


(Please see student handbook for more information)




Disability Statement

Lackawanna College is an Affirmative Action, Equal Employment Opportunity institution.  Students with disabilities and other needs should feel free to contact the instructor privately if there are services and adaptations which can be made to accommodate specific needs.  Students who are having difficulties with class material are strongly advised to seek assistance in the reading and writing lab.  If you feel that you have a disability that has not been formally documented, you may meet with Mrs. Christine Kiehart in the Disability Services office to discuss your options. Please note that disability services do not include exemption from participation requirements in courses considered part of the School of Distance Education, including online and hybrid courses.



Lackawanna College Notice of Nondiscrimination

Lackawanna College will not discriminate in its educational programs, activities, or employment practices, based on race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, ancestry, union membership, or any other legally protected classification. Announcement of this policy is in accordance with State Law including the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and with Federal Law including Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.


Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities. Lackawanna College is committed to providing an educational and work environment that is free from unlawful sexual discrimination including sexual harassment, sexual violence, and gender based harassment. 


In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Lackawanna College will not tolerate any forms of sexual misconduct including but not limited to: sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence and gender-based harassment by employees, students or third parties. This includes prohibiting discrimination against pregnant and parenting students. The College also prohibits retaliation against any person who makes a claim of discrimination or harassment or who provides information in such an investigation. This policy applies to admissions, employment, treatment and access to all programs and activities that take place either on or off the campus at Lackawanna College. 


Lackawanna College will fully and promptly investigate all allegations of sexual misconduct and will take action reasonably designed to resolve the complaint in an equitable manner, end a hostile environment if one has been created, prevent its recurrence, and, when appropriate, take steps to remedy its effects on individuals and the college community.

Lackawanna College complies with Title IX and all other federal laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination in education programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.

Reports or inquiries regarding nondiscrimination should be made to:

Title IX Coordinator/ Executive Director of the Student Wellness Program, Marsha Pigga, Angeli Hall, Room 102, 501 Vine Street, Scranton PA, 18509 (570) 955-1466/ (570) 677-7589,

Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action inquiries: Georgia Egan, Affirmative Action Officer/Director of Continuing Education, Angeli Hall, Room 300C, Vine Street, Scranton PA (570) 961-7815, or Gopu Kiron, Affirmative Action Officer/eLearning Director, Angeli Hall, Ground Floor, Vine Street, Scranton PA, (570) 504-7929,

Additional information regarding Title IX requirements and how to file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights: Office of Civil Rights at, 800-421-3481. Philadelphia Office: Office for Civil Rights U.S. Department of Education, The Wanamaker Building,100 Penn Square East, Suite 515, Philadelphia, PA 19107-3323 Telephone: 215-656-8541, Email:   

Portfolio and Coursework

Lackawanna College will empower you to experience learning by inspiring your critical thinking, accessing your talents and skills, motivating you toward a career choice, and encouraging you to make a difference. In evidence of this learning, the College requires a graduation portfolio containing Career Documents, including a résumé, two letters of recommendation, and a career exploration; Core Coursework, including a research paper from College Writing; three sample papers or projects from Major Coursework; and a Lackawanna College Reflection Paper.







Course Schedule:




Course Objective Met

Related Assignment, Assessment, or Learning Activity

ONE: January 22, 2019-January 28, 2019

Chapter #1, 2,  #3 Introduction


Course Objective #1,5,7

Reading Chapter 1, 2, 3 Voice-over Power points. Discussions Week One. CSI Effect Assignment , Quiz #1

TWO: January 29,2019-February 3, 2019







Chapter #4:  Blood Spatter,CS Reconstruction

Chapter #5: Death Investigation

Chapter #6: Fingerprints

Course Objectives #1,2,3,5

Reading Chapter  4, 5, 6. Voice-over Power points. Discussions Week Two. Quiz #2 Assigned and Due.  Nutshell Murder Evaluation Assignment due September 17, 2017. Virtual Lab Fingerprints. Fingerprint Worksheet Virtual Lab : Blood Spatter Analysis

Virtual Autopsy Report

Final Project Death by Fire Assigned

THREE: February 4, 2019-Februry 10, 2019






Chapter #8:The Microscope

 Chapter #9: Firearms, Tool Marks and Footwear Impressions


Course Objectives #1,2,4,7, 8.

Reading Chapters8 and 9. Voice-over Power Points Virtual Simulation. Discussions Week 3 . Quiz #3

Interactive Microscope tutorial, Firearms Video

Discussions Week #4.Virtual Lab: Tool Mark Analysis 

Virtual Lab: Footwear Impressions. Quiz #3


FOUR: February 11, 2019-February 17, 2019









Chapter #10 Hair and Fiber Evidence  Chapter #13: Forensic Toxicology


Course Objectives #8, #3, #5 and #4

Reading Chapters #10 and #13 . Text-book Power Points. Quiz #4

. Virtual Lab: Blood Alcohol Analysis, Virtual Lab:Hair Analysis Virtual lab : Fiber  Crime Scene Scenario . Discussions Week #4


FIVE: February 18, 2019-February 24, 2019








Chapter #15: Forensic Serology  Chapter #16:DNA The Indispensable  Forensic Tool

Course Objectives #1,#2,#4, #6, #8

Reading Chapters #15 and #16

Voice-Over Power points. Discussions Week 5. Quiz #5.

PCR Simulation.  Virtual Lab: Forensic Blood Stain Analysis, Virtual Lab DNA Amplification.


SIX: February 25, 2019-MARCH 3, 2019





 Chapter #9: Matter, Light and Glass Examination Chapter #13: Metals, Paint and Soil

Review for Final Exam

Course Objectives #2, #3, #4,# 6, #7 #8.

Discussions Week #6.

Quiz #6: Chapters #9 and #13

Virtual Lab: Glass Analysis

Virtual Lab: Soil Analysis

SEVEN: March 4, 2019-March 10, 2019






Chapter #12 Drugs and Chapter #  17Forensic Aspect of Arson and Explosive Investigation

Course objectives: #1,#2,#3,#4, #5,#6,#7 and #8

Discussions Week #7.

 Virtual Lab: Drug Analysis

Final Project: Death by Fire


March 11, 2019-March

Final Review of all Chapters

Course objectives: #1,#2,#3,#4, #5,#6,#7 and #8

Comprehensive Final Exam:  (Chapters #1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,13,14,15, 16.  Due March 15, 2019



January 27, 2019           February 24, 2019  

                                             March 3, 2019                                          Final exam: March 15, 2019

February 3, 2019

February 10, 2019

February 17, 2019