Roles in Forensic Science: The Sociological Perspective

Overview

This course serves as an introduction to the relationships between attorneys, scientific experts, and law enforcement from the time of the initial investigation to the courtroom. The student will be exposed to the various types of forensic experts and the differences between civil and criminal trial preparations. This course will offer insight to how the multiple players in science and law work together for a common goal.

Cost: $125.00. This course takes 16 hours to complete, on average.

Objectives

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

  • Describe different investigative regions and investigator roles.
  • Define the basics of ethnomethodology and how it relates to forensic investigations.
  • Describe the relationship between science, law, and law enforcement.
  • Describe the differences between forensic experts.
  • Define the Rules of Evidence.
  • Describe the differences between criminal and civil cases.

Course Structure and Schedule

This is a non-credit course offering 3.58 ILUs. (What is ILU?) Average completion time for the course is 16 hours. The course cost is $125.00 per registration. A certificate of completion will be issued to students successfully meeting course requirements.

Table of Contents:

Unit 1: Investigative Regions

Unit 2: Investigator Roles and Informational Control

Unit 3: Team Formation and Organization

Unit 4: Ethnomethodology and Forensic Investigations

Unit 5: Professional Vision

Unit 6: Jurisdictions of Knowledge

Unit 7: Divisions of Labor

Unit 8: Relations between the Institutions of Science and Law

Unit 9: Forensic Experts and the Rules of Evidence

Unit 10: Mistakes at Work and the Pecking Order of Forensic Investigations

Unit 11: Historic Roles and Moral Dilemmas

Unit 12: Preparing Cases: Criminal vs. Civil

Prerequisites

There are no prerequisites for this class. A printable version of the course content is available in PDF format in the course library for future reference. Course readings are also available in PDF format.

Computer Requirements

  • Mozilla Firefox (recommended) or Internet Explorer
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • QuickTime
  • Macromedia Flash Player
  • Java

(Free software plug-ins are available in the Getting Started area of the course.)

Basic computer skills required (i.e. turning on your computer, navigating to websites, etc.). The course is user-friendly but support is available if needed.

All Students: Using Internet Explorer (IE) 10? Read info on eCampus Main Page https://ecampus.wvu.edu/

Instructor Information

Samantha Neal is the Instructional Coordinator for the Forensic Science Initiative, a program that develops research, scientific resources, and professional training for forensic scientists and related professionals. Her primary responsibilities are the development and coordination of online continuing education courses in forensic science and continuing education programs. She has undergraduate degrees in both Forensic and Investigative Sciences and Chemistry.
Contact:  samantha.neal@mail.wvu.edu, 304-293-5836


Robin Bowen is the Assistant Director for the Forensic Science Initiative, a program that develops scientific resources, outreach opportunities, and professional training for forensic scientists and related professionals. Her primary responsibilities include coordination of continuing education programs, management of grant funded projects, and correspondence of progress to the National Institute of Justice. Bowen is the author of Ethics and the Practice of Forensic Science. She is a former advisory member of the Outreach and Communication Interagency Working Group (IWG) under the National Science and Technology Council Subcommittee (NSTC) on Forensic Science. She is also on the Editorial Advisory Board for the revised edition of Encyclopedia of Forensic Sciences. Bowen is the primary developer of the Forensic Educational Alliance, an initiative to offer a variety of forensic science continuing education courses online. She has an undergraduate degree in Forensic and Investigative Sciences and a graduate degree in Secondary Science Education. Robin is the online course instructor for Ethics in Forensic Science, Fibers and Textiles for Forensic Science, and Transition to Leadership. Contact: Robin.Bowen@mail.wvu.edu, 304-293-6214

Registration Information 

Registration is accepted year-round for this course. Click on the "Register Now" button at the top to register online through our secure server. You will be receiving email with your online course access information within five working days. Please check your spam or junk folder in case the confirmation email was misplaced there. Call 1-800-253-2762, or email WVUEnrich@mail.wvu.edu if you have any questions. Major credit cards are accepted.

Check our FAQ page for refund policy and class access information.

Group Discount

We offer discounts for groups over 10. All individuals in the group need to register for the same course to take advantage of the discount. Discount rates vary by group size as follows:

  • 10-20 people 10% off
  • 21-30 people 15% off
  • 31-40 people 20% off
  • Above 40, contact fsi@mail.wvu.edu for special pricing

How to register for a group discount:

  1. One contact person for each group registers.
  2. Click on “Register Now” button at the top of the page.
  3. Click on “add to cart” to add course to cart.
  4. Sign into online registration system with existing account.
  5. If not, click on “Create New Profile.”  Choose “Create a Student Profile (single user).”  Create your profile.
  6. How many students to register?  Enter total number of students in your group.
  7. Checkout with credit card.
  8. Send a list of each student(s) contact information to fsi@mail.wvu.edu  (Include full name, email, phone, date of birth).
  9. Course access instructions will be sent by email within 5 business days.


Check our FAQ and Refund Policy for refund and class access information.