Special Topics in Funeral Service & Mortuary Science Syllabus for 2021-2022
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Instructor Information

Office Location

West Campus Building C 106

Office Hours

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Fridays are available by appointment.

The best way to reach me outside of class time is to email me through the course in Blackboard (listed above). IF you e-mail me AFTER 5:00 ON FRIDAY, you will NOT receive a response until sometime on Monday.

Course Information

COVID-19 Protocols

Recording Policy

Disability Statement

If you have a disability (learning, mental, physical) that affects your ability to participate effectively and have access to any program or service at Amarillo College please contact Disability Services at (806) 345-5639 . Our offices are located in the Student Service Center office 112. More information may be found at www.actx.edu/disability.
Disability Services facilitates access to all programs and services according to the ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as well as other federal and state laws.

Amarillo College Web Accessibility Policy Statement

Amarillo College is committed to providing equal access to all programs and services, including all working, learning, and service environments that affect equal access for persons with disabilities. This commitment to provide equal access and opportunity for persons with disabilities is in compliance with federal and state law. Amarillo College also strives to provide Electronic and Information Resources (EIR) that are accessible to all authorized users.

If you find you are unable to access material in an accessible format please contact the Disability Services Office at (806) 345-5639 . This office will work in conjunction with other campus resources to address and accommodate your issue in a timely manner.

Statement for Mental Health and Advocacy & Resource Center:

As a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug problems, feeling down, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation. These mental health concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance or reduce a student's ability to participate in daily activities. Amarillo College offers services to assist you with addressing these and other concerns you may be experiencing. If you or someone you know are suffering from any of the aforementioned conditions, you can learn more about the broad range of confidential mental health services available on campus by calling the AC Counseling Center at 806-371-5900. The AC Counseling Center website is https://www.actx.edu/counseling/ . Also, if you are in need of social services (affordable housing, utilities, transportation, food, clothing, childcare, medical/dental/vision, legal), please call the AC Advocacy & Resource Center at 806-371-5439. The AC Advocacy & Resource Center website is https://www.actx.edu/arc

Amarillo College Tutoring for Success Policy:

The Tutoring for Success policy applies to any student whose grade or performance in the course falls below a departmentally determined minimum threshold. In either of those cases, the instructor will direct the student to the appropriate tutoring service, which may be faculty-led, discipline-specific, and/or general. Under this policy, the instructor will follow specific departmental guidelines governing the use, duration, and grade component of the tutoring need.

Administrative Drop Policy

Students who do not attend class on or prior to the census date will be administratively dropped. Effective Fall, 2016

Student Withdrawal Procedures

Students who wish to withdraw from a course must complete all steps indicated on the Academic Withdrawal Request form by the course withdrawal deadline.

NOTE: Students who are attending Texas institutions of higher education, for the first time fall 2007 and later, may not withdraw from more than six courses during their academic career. This withdrawal limitation does not include dual credit or developmental classes (Senate Bill 1231 Rule 4.10.) For more information on Drop and Withdrawal Policies, please visit the Registrar's Office Web site.

Privacy Statement

The Amarillo College Privacy Policy is found at https://www.actx.edu/-amarillo-college-privacy-notice , and applies to all Amarillo College students.  If you have questions about this privacy statement or you believe that your personal information has been released without your consent, send email to humanresources@actx.edu .


MRTS-1291-001 Special Topics in Funeral Service & Mortuary Science


Prerequisite: Program Director Consent

Course Description

Topics address recently identified current events, skills, knowledges and/or attitudes and behaviors pertinent to the technology or occupation and relevant to the professional development of the student. This course was designed to be repeated multiple times to improve student proficiency.

Student ResourcesStudent Resources Website

Department Expectations

Occupational License Disclaimer

Notice to Students enrolled in an educational program for preparation of issuance of certain occupational licenses:

Students enrolled in an educational program in preparation for obtaining certain occupational licenses are potentially ineligible for such license if the student has been convicted of an offense. For further information, please contact:

Melodie Graves
Justice Involved Advocate
Student Service Center 117
Make appointment at https://melodiegraves.youcanbook.me

You can also contact the Legal Clinic, or the faculty member in charge of the educational program that you seek to enroll in. The further information you will receive will include notification to you of your right to request a criminal history evaluation letter from the licensing authority in order to clarify your particular situation.


(2 sem hrs; 2 lec)

Class Type

Online Course

Syllabus Information


  1. National Board Study Guide, ICFSEB, Volume XI, August 2012 - (DO NOT buy an older version, you need the new version for studying purposes.)
  2. The Funeral Service COMPEND 
  3. *STUDENTS PLEASE NOTE:  Many times the following question is asked, 'Where is the material to review?'  My answer is that is an exit/capstone course designed to take practice exams over material you have been covering since you began in the program.  Therefore, your review materials, besides the glossary terms provided in this course, are going to be your text books and class notes kept from previous courses taken in the program.  I will be emailing an additional study manual you can purchase individually that may be of great assistance.

  4. Prepare to Succeed: A Collaborative Collection of Questions to Test Funeral Service Knowledge - Funeral Service Education Resource Center - ISBN: 978-0-9979261-4-9

  5. National Board Examination Review Book For Students of Funeral Service Education/Mortuary Science - Author Thomas Taggart


LockDown Browser + Webcam Requirement
This course requires the use of LockDown Browser and a webcam for online exams. The webcam can be the type that's built into your computer or one that plugs in with a USB cable.


**Once a student meets the qualifications to register and take the National Board Exams, they need to be prepared to pay for the exams.  Remember that both Arts and Sciences exams must be taken prior to your graduation.  The fee for both exams is $500.00 (subject to change).  Price is set by the International Conference of Funeral Service Examing Boards.  If you successfully meet the requirements of this course and the program, you will be certified by the program director to test.  The fee is paid by the student directly to the IBFSE when they register (after being certified).

***Online exams within AC Connect (Blackboard).y.com. PLEASE ALLOW UP TO ONE WEEK FOR THIS PROCESS. Do not procrastinate.


This course is computer based online instruction. Therefore, you are required to participate in online instructional activities. Each student will access the internet program known as Blackboard.  Access to AC Connect is MANDATORY. The most compatible way to properly use AC Connect and Blackboard is through the Chrome internet browser. You will log on to this course and be prepared to do the day's planned project, exercise, activity, group discussion, quiz or exam.

There is no foreseeable excuse for not being able to log on and complete any activity prepared by the instructor. There are computers at public libraries and numerous computer labs on the AC campus. If your computer is inoperable (or incapable) for whatever reason, you will need to make plans to access a computer at another location to do the work.  Incomplete work will receive zero credit, no exceptions.
The online-based instructional activities are delivered through a course website that is hosted on a learning management system called BLACKBOARD (access through AC Connect). Blackboard may be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The online learning activities, using either on or off campus computers, are available on dates and times to be provided by the instructor. You must have access to and the willingness to use computers, the internet, and web browsers. You are expected to view audio and video assisted instructional modules, use e-mail, take quizzes and exams, read both paper and electronic materials, and locate internet or web based learning resources. The instructor will require students to participate in online and onsite discussions and engage in team and individual communication exercises. The online instructional materials and experiences are designed to supplement the course lectures and textbooks



Student Performance

 This is the CAPSTONE course for the MRTS.AAS program.  Students enrolled in this course must be in their final semester of study.

This course and all course work must be completed successfully according to this syllabus prior to National Board Examination Certification by the program director.

To be certified to sit for and take the National Board Exam, one must:

  • You must SUCCESSFULLY finish all course work (with the exception of the National Board Examination) NO LATER THAN THE DATES GIVEN IN THE SYLLABUS' COURSE CALENDAR BELOW.
  • AND, have successfully completed all other curriculum requirements for the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Mortuary Science.


Students will be presented with terminology and practice exams covering all 13 'mortuary science' related sections that are subject to appear on the National Board Exam in an attempt to prepare them for the exam.  The National Board Exam changed the way the questions are categorized in September of 2012.  For example, the following subjects in science are anatomy, chemistry, pathology, microbiology.  On the new exam, they are combined.  We will give you practice exams on the subjects separately to give you a broader coverage of possible questions you may see.

Students will have completed all necessary course work for the Mortuary Science AAS degree at Amarillo College.

Students will make application to Amarillo College for graduation.

Students will have an  exit interview with the program director. At this time grades will be verified in all course work and NBE may be scheduled.

Students will register to take the National Board Examination and pay the required fees at http://www.theconferenceonline.org/.

No student will be certified to take the NBE until all requirements of the program have been met.


Students Rights and Responsibilities

Student Rights and Responsibilities

Log in using the AC Connect Portal

In order to receive your AC Connect Email, you must log in through AC Connect at https://acconnect.actx.edu .

If you are an active staff or faculty member according to Human Resources, use "Exchange". All other students, use "AC Connect (Google) Email".

Expected Student Behavior


Excepted Behavior:
  1. Attend (Log - in to BlackBoard) class.  Log - in DAILY and check your email DAILY
  2. Be prepared
  3. Read and understand required readings
  4. Read assigned text book material
  5. Be honest
  6. Do not violate the AC academic integrity policy. (Do not cheat)
  7. Ask questions
  8. Actively participate in group discussions
  9. Do not judge other students
  10. Treat everyone with respect
  11. Follow and respect all rules and policies of this class, department and Amarillo College
  12. Remember the oath of confidentiality

*Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated in this class and will result in a grade of 0 on the exam or assignment involved that cannot be replaced or dropped. Please see Student Rights and Responsibilities for a specific description of academic dishonesty. Any cases of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Students at Amarillo College.


***If you are repeating this course, your prior work does not carry over.  You are starting over in this course.


Deadline to Drop the Course is March 1, 2022

Grading Criteria

Grading Policy

  • A=100-96
  • B=95-88
  • C=88-80
  • F=79 and below
  • (To pass the State and National Board Exams, you must score a 75 or better. Please note that we gear our grading policy towards that standard. Be aware of this as you take this class and all other MRTS courses.)
  • Each student is responsible for insuring the integrity of his/her own work.  cases of academic dishonesty will result in either zero points or administrative withdrawal from the Mortuary Science Program.  There will be no tolerance for missed due dates, assignments, project, quizzes or test.  IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO GET ASSIGNMENTS AND SUCH TURNED IN AND IN ON TIME.  If you wait until the semester is over to resolve an issue with missing assignments, projects, exams, etc., then it will be too late.  ALWAYS KEEP COPIES OF YOUR WORK (projects, assignments, clinical paperwork, etc.).  Students should have a back up plan for computer problems.  Most public libraries have internet access for students use.;
  • All course work is  expected to be typed with correct grammar, punctuation and spelling.  Proofread your work before submitting.  Failure to do so will result in a lower grade.

Mandatory Skills Building/Tutorials:

IN an effort to improve student retention, the following policy is in place for this course:

The student is required to pass each content area exam before progressing to the next content area exam.  The final exam cannot be re-taken.

Every student must score at least 75% on the practice National Board Examination in order to be eligible to take the NBE Board Exam and graduate.

  • Per our Amarillo College Course Guide for the Mortuary Science Program:

     To continue in the program, a student may repeat a MRTS course only one time and may repeat no more than two MRTS courses while enrolled in the program. The term “repeat” shall be interpreted to mean re-enrollment following withdrawal, drop or unsatisfactory grade. A grade of C or higher is required for satisfactory completion of all major course requirements, PSYT 1325 or HPRS 2301. Students who receive an F in two or more major course requirements, PSYT 1325 or HPRS 2301 will be removed from the program. A student will have 36 months to complete all major requirements.

     All exams will be closed-book.  No late assignments will be accepted.  Please note for this course, NO ONE WILL BE ALLOWED TO TAKE AN EXAM OR QUIZ IF THEY ARE LATE.  You are considered late when the exam or quiz due date has passed.

  • Breakdown of Grade:

  • 9 National Board Arts Exams

  • 6 National Board Science Exams

  • 12 Case Studies

  • 8 Assignments

  • 2 Comprehensive Exams

  • Final Exams 35%

  • Assignments/Discussions 30%

  • Practice Exams 25%

  • Attendence 10%



  • Students must have taken all practice exams, passing with an 80 before moving to the next week.  Failure to successfully complete the practice exam requirements listed WILL result in a grade of 'F' for this course.  


  • Student MUST score an 85% or better on BOTH exams.  They will not be averaged together.  So you MUST score 85% or better on each.  Failure to do so will result in failing the course.
  • IF you do not understand, please contact the instructor during the first week of school.  It is imperative you understand the course rules and requirements.



After the student completes the course he/she will have a software called D.E.A.D loaded on tto their computer for 90 days.  The student takes these test for continued preparation of the board exam.  In this time period the student must send 10 test scores of 90 - 100 with documentation confirming the scores.  After that the student will take the Practice Exam with the International Conference of Examing Boards.  NO EXCEPTIONS





If you do not follow the timeline laid out for you in this course it will be difficult for you to complete.


Class attendance should be regarded as an obligation and all students are expected to attend class.  Attendance in an online course is logging in and accessing course content.  Simply logging in is not acceptable as attendance.  Instructors are able to track your login and content access.  


  1. Take the assigned amount of practiced exams per section, passing with the required scores, by the assigned due date times;
  2. Submit the proper amount of required D.E.A.D. scores, by the assigned due date times; AND
  3. Take and pass the comprehensive program final for arts and program final for sciences with the required scores;



The National Board Exam(s) are NOT to be taken lightly.  Not only does your career and goals depend on your passing of them, but the future of this program do as well.  The program takes this very seriously and will not allow anyone to take the NBE if they have not proven through this course they are ready and prepared.

Note: In this Class, your Mid-term and Final Exams are take via Lock-Down broswer and use of a Web-Cam*******

Lock-Down Browser + Web-cam Requirement
This course requires the use of LockDown Browser and a webcam for online exams. The webcam can be the type that's built into your computer or one that plugs in with a USB cable.

Watch this brief video to get a basic understanding of LockDown Browser and the webcam feature.


Download Instructions
Download and install LockDown Browser from this link:


Once Installed

  • Start LockDown Browser
  • Log into Blackboard Learn
  • Navigate to the test

Note: You won't be able to access tests with a standard web browser. If this is tried, an error message will indicate that the test requires the use of LockDown Browser. Simply start LockDown Browser and navigate back to the exam to continue.

When taking an online test, follow these guidelines:

  • Ensure you're in a location where you won't be interrupted
  • Turn off all other devices (e.g. tablets, phones, second computers) and place them outside of your reach
  • Before starting the test, know how much time is available for it, and also that you've allotted sufficient time to complete it
  • Clear your desk or workspace of all external materials not permitted - books, papers, other devices
  • Remain at your computer for the duration of the test
  • If the computer, Wi-Fi, or location is different than what was used previously with the "Webcam Check" and "System & Network Check" in LockDown Browser, run the checks again prior to the exam
  • To produce a good webcam video, do the following:
    • Avoid wearing baseball caps or hats with brims
    • Ensure your computer or device is on a firm surface (a desk or table). Do NOT have the computer on your lap, a bed, or other surface where the device (or you) are likely to move
    • If using a built-in webcam, avoid readjusting the tilt of the screen after the webcam setup is complete
    • Take the exam in a well-lit room, but avoid backlighting (such as sitting with your back to a window)
  • Remember that LockDown Browser will prevent you from accessing other websites or applications; you will be unable to exit the test until all questions are completed and submitted

Getting Help
Several resources are available if you encounter problems with LockDown Browser:

  • The Windows and Mac versions of LockDown Browser have a "Help Center" button located on the toolbar. Use the "System & Network Check" to troubleshoot issues. If an exam requires you to use a webcam, also run the "Webcam Check" from this area
  • [As applicable, insert information about your institution's help desk, including details about how to contact them. Some help desks want students to run the "System & Network Check" and the "Webcam Check" before they are contacted - and even, to forward the results of these checks at the time of opening a ticket.]
  • Respondus has a Knowledge Base available from support.respondus.com. Select the "Knowledge Base" link and then select "Respondus LockDown Browser" as the product. If your problem is with a webcam, select "Respondus Monitor" as your product
  • If you're still unable to resolve a technical issue with LockDown Browser, go to support.respondus.com and select "Submit a Ticket". Provide detailed information about your problem and what steps you took to resolve it




Spring Class Calendar: Classes begin January 17,  2022

Week 1

Material/Subjects Covered

Course Assignment



Welcome meeting on Tuesday night January 18, 2022 night online at 7:00 PM, Central Time, in the Collaboration Room

Introduction – Course Overview & Syllabus

Arts Pre-Test

The Conference Assignment

Exam Strategies Assignment

Week 2:



Case Studies

Write a two page paper regarding the Funeral Rites and Rituals for conducting an Orthodox Church (Eastern Orthodox).

Take NBE Content Review Exam – Pathology

Case Study Assignments

Week 3:



Case Studies

Take NBE Content Review Exam

Week 4:



Case Studies

Take NBE Content Review Exam – Microbiology, Psychology, Counseling & Speech

Case Studies

Week 5:



Case Studies

Take NBE Content Review Exam - Business Law & Small Business Management

Take NBE Content Review Exam – Accounting & Computers

Take NBE Review Exam – Anatomy & Restorative Art

Restorative Art Assignment

Case Studies

Week 6:



Case Studies

FTC Assignment

Terms regarding Signs of Death assignment

Treatments regarding Embalming Fluids Assignment

Take NBE Content Review Exam – Funeral Service Law

Take NBE Content Review Exam – Embalming

Case studies

Week 7:



Case Studies

Study Tips & Time Management Assignment

Sealing & Non-Sealing Caskets Assignment

Test Anxiety Tip Assignment

Take NBE Content Review Exam - Funeral Service merchandising

Take NBE Content Review Exam – Chemistry

Case study  



Portfolios Due - March 6th, 2022

Final Exam - March 10th, 2022


Additional Information


The National Board Examination consists of two parts:  the Funeral Service Arts Examination and the Funeral Service Sciences Examination.  NOTE:  If you pass a section of the board exam, you do not have to take it again.  If you fail a section, you must wait a minimum of 90 days before you can pay and take it again.


The Funeral Service Arts Examination consists of 170 multiple-choice questions, 150 scored items and 20 unscored pre-test items.  You are allotted three hours for this examination: three minutes to agree to the non-disclosure and two hours and 57 minutes to complete the exam.  The Arts examination consists of the content areas listed below:

Content Areas (# of Questions):

  • Funeral Directing (52)
  • Funeral Service Marketing/Merchandising (22)
  • Funeral Service Counseling (23)
  • Regulatory Compliance (38)
  • Cemetery and Crematory Operations (15)
  • Pretest Questions (20)


The Funeral Service Science Examination consists of 170 multiple-choice questions, 150 scored items and 20 unscored pre-test items.  You are allotted three hours for this examination: three minutes to agree to the non-disclosure and two hours and 57 minutes to complete the exam.  The Sciences examination consists of the content listed below:

Content Areas (# of Questions)

  • Embalming (60)
  • Restorative Art (38)
  • Preparation for Disposition (22)
  • Funeral Service Sciences (30)
  • Pretest Questions (20)



 If a student has a grievance with the course instructor, the following “due process” protocol will apply. The student must follow the protocol steps in the order shown.

  1.  Make every effort to resolve the concern directly with the course instructor. The instructor should be contacted by the student before the conclusion of the course.
  1.  If the concern cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the student after meeting with the course instructor, the student should seek satisfaction from the immediate supervisor of the instructor within one week of the student–instructor meeting.
  1. If the concern cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the student after meeting with the Mortuary Science Program Director, the student should seek satisfaction from Dean of Health Sciences within one week of the student–division chairperson meeting.
  1.  If the concern cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the student after meeting with the dean, the student should seek satisfaction from the Vice-President of Academic Affairs (VPAA) within one week of the student–Dean meeting.
  1.  If the concern cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the student after meeting with the Vice-President of Academic Affairs, the student should seek satisfaction from the college President within one week of the student–VPAA meeting. The decision of the President will be final.

I have read the above information and I hereby am in accordance with the obligations set before me by signature___________________________________.


Syllabus Created on:

01/11/22 10:21 AM

Last Edited on:

01/11/22 10:21 AM