Forensics I

I.     Course Prefix/Number: LAE 135

       Course Name: Forensics I

       Credits: 3 (2 lecture; 2 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course provides students with hands-on experience with the different disciplines of forensic science, the types of examinations conducted in crime scenes, and other applications of forensic science in the modern criminal justice system. Topics include crime scene investigations, death investigations, evidence-gathering techniques, and the analysis of physical evidence in the field and laboratory setting.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  • Collect, preserve, and interpret evidence from simulated crime scenes.
  • Describe the methods and importance of proper crime scene response in a criminal investigation.
  • Describe and evaluate the various types of evidence typically available at a crime scene.
  • Identify, compare, and evaluate relevant terminology, equipment and methods for collection, preservation and interpretation of evidence from crime scenes.
  • Describe and evaluate comparative individual, team and departmental approaches to investigating and processing a crime scene.
  • Apply relevant terminology, equipment and methods involving crime scene investigation and processing to real and hypothetical issues, problems, simulations and case studies.
  • Identify and evaluate relevant legal and ethical issues involved in investigating and processing a crime scene.
  • Appraise and interpret relevant literature, case studies, materials and developments regarding crime scene investigation and processing.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  • Introduction to Physical Evidence
  • Crime Scene Principles
  • Crime Scene Kits and Equipment
  • Crime Scene Photography
  • Crime Scene Sketches
  • Latent Fingerprint Evidence
  • Trace Evidence
  • Biological Fluid Stain Evidence: Blood and Semen
  • Impression Evidence
  • Drug and Alcohol Evidence
  • Document Evidence
  • Vehicle Scene Investigation
  • Sexual Assault Investigations
  • Homicide Crime Scene Investigation
  • Crime Scene Reconstruction

VII.  Methods of Instruction

This course will employ interactive lectures, discussions, in-class group activities, in-class and out-of-class assignments, and/or demonstrations.  Instruction is designed to maximize student mastery of the learning objectives of the course.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students are expected to read and follow the schedule in the course syllabus, to read assigned text chapters, to read assigned Lecture Notes, and to seek and read additional suggested resources as provided by the textbook and Instructor.  In addition, students are expected to be alert and attentive with note taking in class and have a demonstrated desire to participate in any discussion.  Exams are to be completed within the deadlines given by the Instructor, and any special instructions for the paper and/or writing assignment(s) are to be followed precisely; WebCT assignments, quizzes, deadlines and instructions.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Material will be presented in class, and handouts will be used extensively in appropriate areas in addition to power point presentations, videos, and on-line material.

Textbooks: Most current editions of the following:

Many suitable textbooks are available from various publishers and the following list is not comprehensive. Other textbooks may be judged by individual instructors to be more suitable in meeting course objectives. Many current textbooks have companion websites, and the instructor is encouraged to enhance the course experience for the student by utilizing available technology.

"Crime Scene Analysis - Practical Procedures and Techniques" Wilson T. Sullivan III, ISBN: 0-13-119131-4.X

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Grading is based a numerical score:

  • A grading chart is available.  That chart will show you how many points you need to earn an F, D, C. B, or A
  • Students will be given grade score forms at the beginning of the semester so they can keep track of how many points they are earning.  The instructor is NOT responsible for giving updates on point in class
  • Each student decides the grade they want at the beginning of the semester and work toward that goal.  If you receive a final grade of “D” that must have been the grade you wanted.

Quizzes CANNOT be made up.

Mid-Term Examination (maximum value: 0 - 200 points) 2 points for each correct answer

  • The mid-term will cover the first part of the course.
  • Taking examination is not confined to a single time or date.  The exam is open book and taken in the classroom during a span of time as announced in class.
  • The mid-term examination will consist of 100 questions; they are true and false and multiple-choice.  It is possible an essay question will be included.
  • If you are not able to take the mid-term exam with the rest of the class, you will be required to schedule the exam prior to the scheduled date of the class test.   No mid-term exam can be made up after the class has taken the scheduled date unless approved.

Final Examination (maximum value: 0 - 200 points) 2 points for each correct answer

  • The final exam will cover the second part of the course.
  • Taking examination is not confined to a single time or date.  The exam is open book and taken in the classroom during a span of time as announced in class.
  • No Final Exam make up is available.

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.