West Campus Building C 107
Office hours are a great opportunity to get some individual assistance when needed, and I encourage you to take advantage of them. During these hours I’ll be available for scheduled in-person appointments, FaceTime calls, Google Meets and/or virtual assistance through immediate response email. My office hours are as follows:
|Monday||9:00 am to 12:00 pm [In Person]|
|Tuesday||9:00 am to 12:00 pm [In Person] and 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm [Virtual]|
|Wednesday||9:00 am to 12:00 pm [In Person]|
|Thursday||9:00 am to 12:00 pm [In Person] and 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm [Virtual]|
I check email, Blackboard messages, phone messages and texts outside of the above referenced times. However, the scheduling of these office hours allows you some opportunities wherein you can receive immediate responses from me.
Communication is a vital component of effective learning in an online environment. The type of response and/or assistance you're looking for will dictate the best method for contacting me. However, here’s some general guidelines.
|Type of Assistance Needed||Suggested Method of Communication||Information|
|Immediate response needed, with very brief explanation required||Text message||My Cell: 806-290-2727|
|Immediate response needed, but requiring a more detailed and lengthy explanation||Phone call||My Cell: 806-290-2727|
|Response needed within 24 hours and brief to lengthier explanation required||Message me within Blackboard or send me an email||
You can message me in Blackboard either by clicking on the Messages link on the options bar in the class shell at the top of the page, or by using the Message link on the Institution page in Blackboard.
My Email: email@example.com
Generally speaking, you can expect a response to your email/course message within 24 hours from the time you send your correspondence. However, there will be times when it could take slightly longer to respond. If you send an email and don’t receive a response, please make sure you follow up with me. If you send me a text, please include your name and which class you’re enrolled in. If you call and don’t receive an answer, please leave a message and I’ll call you back.
The primary method of communication from me will be through course announcements and/or email/message(s). All course announcements will be posted under the Announcements link on the left sidebar of the course in Blackboard with a concurrent email sent to the class. These emails and any other emails from me will go directly to your AC Gmail account.
Make sure to check your announcements/emails at least every other day to ensure you don’t miss out on important information.
In the event you’re unable to contact me directly, there are some additional resources for assistance:
Option 1| The offices for the Criminal Justice department are located on the West Campus in Room #121. The general phone number is (806) 354-6081. You can leave a message for me at this number as well.
Option 2| ASK AC Helpline at (806) 371-5000, or after hours you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Option 3| CTL Student & Faculty Help Center at (806) 371-5992. It’s available to students who are currently enrolled in academic or continuing education courses on a walk-in and/or appointment basis. Assistance is provided for: Logging-in to AC Connect, Password resets; How to use AC Online; Microsoft Office help/ Microsoft Office alternatives; General computer/software questions. They are located on the Washington Street Campus, Library, 2nd floor, Suite 205 and their hours are:
Monday – Thursday, 8am – 5pm (WARE 205)
Monday – Thursday, 5pm – 9pm (Library Research Desk on the 4th Floor of WARE)
Friday, 8am – 5pm (WARE 205)
Option 4| AC Connect Student Resources at: https://www.actx.edu/student-resources
This course is built upon the premise that students from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints benefit by taking this course together, that students' varying learning needs be addressed in and out of the virtual classroom, and the diversity students bring to this class be considered as a resource and advantage in the learning process.
Students should make themselves knowledgeable regarding appropriate ‘netiquette’ practices. There are several internet resources explaining the facets of netiquette. In addition, I have provided helpful information and links within the course.
You should always communicate with your classmates and instructor in a professional, considerate and courteous manner. Discourteous, rude and/or aggressive emails, text messages or phone conversations will not be tolerated.
When you have a question, complaint, or issue regarding the course, you should contact me first. Other students or Amarillo College staff or faculty are not responsible for making determinations regarding my course policies. If the situation cannot be resolved to your satisfaction, you may contact my immediate supervisor. This contact information is provided in the Additional Information section at the end of this syllabus.
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 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.
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
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.
Students who do not attend class on or prior to the census date will be administratively dropped. Effective Fall, 2016
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.
CRIJ-2314-002 Criminal Investigation
Investigative theory; collection and preservation of evidence; sources of information; interview and interrogation; uses of forensic sciences; case and trial preparation.
Student ResourcesStudent Resources Website
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:
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.
(3 sem hrs; 3 lec)
All students enrolling in this class must have access to a working computer, active and functioning internet service, some type of word processing program, Adobe Acrobat Reader and exhibit computer competency.
Adobe Acrobat Reader may be downloaded FREE from https://get.adobe.com/reader/.
Students should utilize their Google Apps for completing course assignments. To access your Google Apps follow the steps listed below:
Step 1| Log onto AC Connect.
Step 2| Scroll down and click on the Google Apps link towards the center of the page.
Step 3| Click on the small arrow next to the Google Apps link and you will see the links for all the Google apps.
Step 4| Choose the appropriate app needed. As a helpful hint, you’ll use “Docs” to write your discussion posts and other written assignments and “Slides” for your introduction assignment as well as your class project presentations (if applicable).
Assistance with Computer Access
If you don’t have a computer, you may access the computers at the AC Library on the 4th floor of the WARE Building. Click on the link to access phone numbers, hours of operation and locations for all Amarillo College libraries and computing centers: https://www.actx.edu/library/.
The Amarillo College Bookstore has a laptop rental program. Contact them to find out more information about the requirements and terms of the program.
You may access the course on your phone or tablet, but be aware some of the functions may not work exactly as they should. Make sure you download the Amarillo College app as well.
Amarillo College Writer’s Corner
The Writer’s Corner is an excellent resource available to you for assistance in the writing needs of the course. You can access additional information at https://www.actx.edu/english/writerscorner.
EMAIL ADDRESS: email@example.com Phone: 345-5580 LOCATION: Ordway Hall, Room 102
Fall & Spring Semesters: Monday – Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Friday 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Summer Sessions: Monday - Thursday, 8:00 am to 1:00 pm, Closed on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday
Student performance addresses the knowledge and skills a student should possess upon completion of this course with a cumulative course average of 70% or above. To that end, there are general course learning objectives (listed below) and more specific weekly learning objectives for this course. The weekly learning objectives will be clearly enumerated within the relevant weekly content.
This course will be guided by meeting both the general course learning objectives and the weekly learning objectives. At the end of the semester, students are expected to have a more advanced understanding of the field of criminal investigation and the essential elements therein.
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".
Course Workload and Preparation
Students should approach the course with a mindset where they’re ready to learn.
The workload for this course will require due diligence and integrity on students' part. Students are individually responsible for ensuring they understand all requirements of the course, have access to necessary supplies and complete assignments accordingly.
I have found that students who do well in my classes generally ascribe to the following practices:
Effective learning can only occur in a safe space where students and the professor are open to the views of people different from themselves. In this time we share together over the semester, please honor the uniqueness of your fellow classmates and appreciate the opportunity we have to learn from one another.
At times the discussion board topics will address sensitive and uncomfortable subjects and students must remember to conduct themselves in a respectful and courteous manner. All students are entitled to their opinions and certainly aren’t required to agree with another student’s opinion. However, disagreements can be cited in an appropriate, respectful and considerate manner.
Snipes, demeaning comments, personal attacks, inappropriate language or racial slurs will in no way, shape or form be tolerated during discussions, within written course work or email content.
Only those individuals who are registered in the course are allowed to make posts on the discussion boards or send email within the course. Moreover, only the student registered for the course should prepare the assignments and participate in the course.
If you have cause to be concerned or offended by any of the topics covered in this course or something another student posts on the discussion board, you should contact your professor immediately. All material, both required and supplemental, is directly tied to facilitation of the learning process and to aid students in better meeting the learning objectives of the course.
Refer to the Office Hours section herein for information regarding course communication.
Scholastic honesty is not only assumed, but required of all students in all coursework and exams as they relate to this course. This professor maintains a zero-tolerance policy with regards to scholastic dishonesty. Instances of scholastic dishonesty will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and will result in a grade of zero for the applicable assignment and/or removal from the course.
Scholastic dishonesty is defined in the Amarillo College Student Code of Conduct as “…shall include, but not be limited to, cheating on a test, plagiarism, and collusion.” Determinations of scholastic dishonesty may be substantiated if a student engages in any of the following behaviors:
What Can You Expect from Your Professor?
I will facilitate learning, answer questions in an appropriate and timely fashion, be fair and objective in grading, provide useful feedback on assignments when appropriate (see Grading Criteria herein), maintain adequate office hours, and treat students as they would like to be treated.
All learning experiences and assignments in this course are directly related to both the general course and weekly objectives and meant to assess the level of student learning. Each assignment will have the specific learning objectives to be met listed within the instructions.
Students' grades for this course will be comprised of the following percentages and types of assignments:
Coursework [20%] There are a variety of assignments in this category related to content-specific vocabulary, assigned course readings and/or written assignments.
These assignments are meant to evaluate students’ knowledge regarding assigned content, to help students develop ideas and concepts based on designated topics while learning how to support them with substantive material from the textbook and other sources, and communicate their findings in a written format.
Reading Quizzes [20%] There is a reading quiz each week.
These assignments are meant to evaluate students’ knowledge regarding the assigned readings. Being able to read and process information is an essential skill for work in the criminal justice field.
Discussion Assignments [20%] There will be several discussion assignments in which the student will be required to publish a discussion post based on an assigned discussion prompt and then respond to at least five (5) of his or her classmates' postings.
The purpose of the discussion assignments is to help students practically apply knowledge gained while reading the assigned chapter(s) and interacting with their fellow classmates.
Midterm Exam [20%] The mid-term exam is included in Module 4, contains 100 multiple-choice and true-false questions, and addresses all material covered to date (through Module 4).
The purpose of the exam is to evaluate students’ knowledge regarding material in assigned chapter(s) at the half-way point of the semester. The midterm will cover a wider range of assigned chapters and content than the reading quizzes and is based on the applicable module learning objectives.
Crime Scene Project [20%] This culminating project serves as the final exam for the course. All information necessary for the completion of this project will be provided to students early in the semester to provide ample time for completion of all required elements therein.
See the Crime Scene Project link on the course site in Blackboard for all information, requirements and instructions pertaining to this assignment.
The purpose of this project is to foster learner-centered thought processes that are analytical, logical and creative in nature and allow students an opportunity to practically apply knowledge and experience gained throughout the semester.
It’s imperative for students in an academic setting to learn how to manage their course workload, assignments and time for future success in a real-world environment. Due dates for the entire semester will be listed on the course calendar from the first day of class. I reserve the right to make determinations regarding acceptance of late assignments on a case-by-case basis.
Unless otherwise noted, all assignments, quizzes and exams will be due no later than 11:59 p.m. on the specified date, as referenced on the calendar.
If there is a valid emergency or circumstance beyond your control, you may contact me prior to the due date of the assignment(s) to discuss your options and any potential late penalties that may be applied.
It is your responsibility to ensure you have access to a working computer and functioning internet service to access the course and submit your assignments. DO NOT wait until the last minute to complete your assignments. Forgetting to do an assignment or having an internet malfunction at the last minute are NOT sufficient excuses for submitting an assignment late. Please understand this policy is present and adhered to in the interest of fairness to all students in the class.
Grading of Assignments
You can access your grades at any time by clicking on the Grades link under the course menu on the left sidebar of the course site.
Homework and discussion assignment grades will be available as soon as possible. Grades will be based on format, the student’s compliance with all assignment requirements, accurateness and comprehensiveness of answers. A rubric will be provided for all written assignments. The time frame for the posting of grades is tentative. There will be occasions when it will take longer to post the grades.
Understand minimal work will receive a minimal grade. Don’t assume just because you completed the minimum requirements for the assignment you will receive a perfect score. General feedback will be given on the first assignments. However, due to the number of students and workload, feedback on subsequent assignments will be limited to citing incorrect answers, etc. or explaining why a grade is extremely low (below 70).
You can always check your current class average so you know where you stand. If you have any questions regarding your grades, you are encouraged to contact your professor.
Final Course Grade Assignment (Grading Schema)
Final letter grades in the course will be assigned utilizing the schema listed below. Unless otherwise noted, there will be no exceptions to this schema made by the professor. Grades are not negotiable. Your final course grade will be based on your work in the course.
Corresponding Numerical Value
59 and below
REGULAR ATTENDANCE IS NECESSARY FOR SATISFACTORY ACHIEVEMENT. THEREFORE, IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE STUDENT TO ATTEND CLASS, EVEN IN AN ONLINE SETTING.
Consistent and adequate involvement in an online class is necessary for satisfactory completion. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the student to check course postings and emails on a daily basis, follow the prescribed timeline for assignments and exams, etc. If a student is having difficulty with any portion of this course, they should contact me via email, phone, or in person, immediately.
Additional Information Regarding Withdrawals
Per Amarillo College guidelines, students must receive approval from the instructor to withdraw from the course after the census date. The last day to withdraw from a class is listed on the course calendar (on the class site) and on Amarillo College’s master calendar on AC Connect.
If a student wishes to withdraw from the course they must complete the following steps:
Failure to drop or withdraw the course within a timely manner will result in the student receiving a performance grade, usually an “F”.
This course is divided into eight (8) modules, with a corresponding checklist for each module containing all required preparation, reading and assignments. Please review each checklist carefully to ensure you understand the requirements therein. It is strongly suggested you print the checklists. Students will be required to turn in assignments on specified dates, as referenced on the course calendar, which can be accessed via the START HERE! link under the course menu on the left sidebar of the course site.
The instructor reserves the right to make changes to the course schedule when deemed appropriate and/or necessary. Any and all changes made will be clearly communicated in a timely fashion. Below is a basic outline of the course and the topics covered therein. The course calendar provided on the class site contains more detailed information and includes due dates for all assignments.
Please note the reading for this course can be quite heavy at times, as the subject matter is extremely detailed. I recommend you work ahead on your reading as much as possible, utilizing the guided reading notes.
Introduction to Your Class and Classmates
Course Policies and Guidelines
Chapter 1| Criminal Investigation: An Overview
Chapter 2| Documenting the Crime Scene: Note Taking, Photographing, and Sketching
Chapter 3| Writing Effective Reports
Chapter 4| Searches
Chapter 5| Forensics/Physical Evidence
Chapter 6| Obtaining Information and Intelligence
Chapter 7| Identifying and Arresting Suspects
Chapter 8| Death Investigations
Chapter 9| Assault, Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Elder Abuse
Chapter 10| Sex Offenses
Chapter 11| Crimes Against Children
Chapter 12| Robbery
Chapter 13| Burglary
Chapter 14| Larceny/Theft, Fraud, and White-Collar Crime
Chapter 15| Motor Vehicle Theft
Chapter 16| Arson, Bombs, and Explosives
Chapter 17| Computer Crime
Chapter 18| A Dual Threat: Drug-Related Crime and Organized Crime
Chapter 19| Criminal Activities of Gangs and Other Dangerous Groups
Chapter 20| Preparing for and Presenting Cases in Court
Putting it All Together: Reflecting on What You’ve Learned
This section contains important and helpful information on a variety of topics related to the class. If you need additional information on any other topic or aspect of the class, please refer to the START HERE! site within the class in Blackboard. Moreover, you should always feel free to contact me with any questions.
Accessing Important Course Information
Students should log onto the course as early as possible on the FIRST DAY of the semester.
This course will progress quickly and the first assignment is due within days of the course beginning. When you log onto the course for the first time you will see an announcement directing you to the START HERE link.
Criminal Justice Departmental Policies
Tutoring/Assistance with Course
The Criminal Justice Department at Amarillo College endeavors to support each student’s goals for success by providing additional academic support services to those in need. If your cumulative grade average for this course falls below a 70, you will be strongly encouraged to access tutoring and other academic resources the instructor feels is appropriate.
Any student needing assistance with any aspect of the course content should contact me to schedule a tutoring session. Tutoring sessions are offered at no charge and can be conducted on campus or via telephone/email. Arrangements can be made to schedule a time that is convenient for the student.
Student Academic Help/ Student Resources
There are a variety of resources available to help students with issues they may be experiencing throughout the semester. You are encouraged to contact me with any questions or problems you might have while taking the course. In addition, you may access many of the various student resources at: https://www.actx.edu/student-resources.
You may also visit the Academic Help and/or Student Resources pages on the class site for more detailed information.
Reproduction of Course Materials
Students are prohibited from reproducing any portion of this class without written permission from the instructor of record or authorization through Disability Services. This includes, but is not limited to, lecture notes, class discussion boards or any other class materials. For purposes of the policy herein, “reproducing” applies to photographic reproduction, audio, video, or any other type of reproduction of course materials.
Students who create and/or share an unauthorized reproduction of course materials via any means, including social media, are violating an instructor's intellectual property rights and could potentially be subjected to disciplinary actions under the Amarillo College Student Code of Conduct. Additionally, should any reproduction be shown of proprietary materials, the student who created or shared the unauthorized reproduction may also be subject to copyright laws.
This policy has been adopted by all instructors in the Criminal Justice Department. Questions or concerns should be directed to Sarah E. Uselding, Program Coordinator and/or Eric Wallace, Director.
Determinations regarding whether or not extra-credit opportunities will be afforded to students is at the discretion of the instructor. In the event an option for extra-credit is offered by the instructor, comprehensive guidelines and information will be provided to the student. Students are not required to participate in extra-credit opportunities.
This policy has been adopted by all instructors in the Criminal Justice Department. Questions or concerns should be directed to Sarah E. Uselding, Program Coordinator and/or Eric Wallace, Director.
Student Complaints or Issues
A complaint is an allegation of improper, unfair, arbitrary or discriminatory treatment by college personnel. Students should attempt to resolve concerns informally with the instructor before filing a formal complaint. Any student or group of students may file a complaint concerning any campus issue. The Amarillo College Student Complaint Policy is described in detail in the Student Rights and Responsibilities document.
If you have a complaint regarding me, or some aspect of the course, you should first contact your instructor immediately in person or via email and attempt to resolve the situation. If the situation can’t be resolved to your satisfaction, you should then contact Eric Wallace, Director of Criminal Justice Programs, at (806) 354-6081.
Once you have completed this course, you can add the below listed skills, all of which are critical for success in the criminal justice field, to your resume based on your final grade earned for the class:
If you earned an "A"
Exceptional ability to demonstrate personal responsibility and effective work practices, e.g., turning assignments in on time, working productively with others, and time/workload management.
Exceptional ability to demonstrate integrity and ethical behavior, acting responsibly with the interests of others in mind, and the ability to implement changes based on feedback given.
Exceptional ability to use constructive reasoning in analyzing important issues and making decisions. Ability to locate, interpret, and use reliable facts and data while proposing solutions.
Exceptional ability to communicate thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in written form, while understanding the impact my written communications have on how others perceive me.
Exceptional ability to utilize digital technologies to complete tasks and meet goals.
Exceptional ability to develop and manage relationships with others representing diverse backgrounds and viewpoints.
If you earned a "B"
Strong ability to demonstrate personal responsibility and effective work practices, e.g., turning assignments in on time, working productively with others, and time/workload management.
Strong ability to demonstrate integrity and ethical behavior, acting responsibly with the interests of others in mind, and the ability to implement changes based on feedback given.
Strong ability to use constructive reasoning in analyzing important issues and making decisions. Ability to locate, interpret, and use reliable facts and data while proposing solutions.
Strong ability to communicate thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in written form, while understanding the impact my written communications have on how others perceive me.
Strong ability to utilize digital technologies to complete tasks and meet goals.
Strong ability to develop and manage relationships with others representing diverse backgrounds and viewpoints.
If you earned a "C"
Ability to demonstrate personal responsibility and effective work practices, e.g., turning assignments in on time, working productively with others, and time/workload management.
Ability to demonstrate integrity and ethical behavior, acting responsibly with the interests of others in mind, and the ability to implement changes based on feedback given.
Ability to use constructive reasoning in analyzing important issues and making decisions. Ability to locate, interpret, and use reliable facts and data while proposing solutions.
Ability to communicate thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in written form, while understanding the impact my written communications have on how others perceive me.
Ability to utilize digital technologies to complete tasks and meet goals.
Ability to develop and manage relationships with others representing diverse backgrounds and viewpoints.
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