Introduction to Forensic Dna Analysis Online

Click here to enter the course and learn more about online courses at Hartnell :

Frequently asked questions

  1. How is this course different from a regular  course?
  2. How do I register?
  3. What do I need to do after I register?
  4. How do I contact the instructor?
  5. Do I need to buy a book?
  6. What kind of equipment do I need?
  7. What if I don't have a computer?
  8. What if I don't know how to use E-mail or the Internet?
  9. How is the course organized?
  10. How will I be graded?
  11. What is my first assignment
  12. How much time will I spend on this course?


How is this course different from a regular  course?

The content of Introduction to Forensic DNA Analysis Online is identical to the content of the face-to-face version of Introduction to Forensic DNA Analysis.  One difference is that you will be doing all of your work on a computer rather in a classroom.  Another difference is that you get to decide when you will "go to school".  This is an ideal course for a busy person who is self-motivated.  Otherwise the course is the same and you will get the same chance to interact with your classmates and teacher. You will also get the same credit. 

How do I register?

You register just like you would for a regular course.Click on Online Registration to register online.

What do I need to do after I register?

Completely read this page. Next make sure you know how to use your college email account because this is the account I will use to communicate with you (  Then send your name, an email address that you know works, and phone number to your instructor (a.steinhardt(at)  The first weeks assignment is posted at the bottom of this page.  You can get ahead by one week if you start your first assignment as soon as you register!  Complete an ecollege tutorial if you are unfamilar with the online learning platform at Hartnell. Tutorials and other useful information are available at 

How do I contact the instructor?

Instructor: Ms. A. Steinhardt  (at) = @

E-mail: a.steinhardt(at)

I have a hartnell address, but I prefer the sbcglobal address. asteinhardt(at) can be used but I don't promise it will be working.

I will respond within 24 hours.

Due to Spam it is important for you to Tag the subject line in your e-mail as follows:

The letters FDA and one word that describe the Email content in the subject line: For example FDA: Week One.

Phone: 831-662-0631 or Cell: 831-840-6390

Please call before 7:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. Email will reach me after 7 PM.

Do I need to buy a book?

Yes, right away.

Text: DNA: Forensic and Legal Applications
by L. Kobilinsky, T.F. Liotti, and J. Oeser-Sweat

ISBN: 0-471-41478-6  

Your text is available at the Hartnell Bookstore .

What kind of equipment do I need?

Equipment Requirements:
Windows 95, 98, NT, XE or 2000
64 Mb RAM (minimum)
1 GB hard drive
Netscape 4.7 or above
or Internet Explorer 4.0 or above
Sound card and speakers

IMAC, Powermac or G3 or better
OS 8.0 or better
64 Mb RAM (minimum)
1 GB hard drive
Netscape 4.7 or better
or Internet Explorer 4.0 or better

What if I don't have a computer?

Computers are available at the Hartnell Library. Computers are also available  at the Hartnell open computer lab. Public libraries have computers as well. Click here to learn more.

Hartnell Library hours:

What if I don't know how to use E-mail or the Internet?

You will need to learn how to do this before you sign up for the course. Visit the following site to learn about the internet: web tutorial.  Hartnell college provides students with a free email account. You will be required to use this  email account to recieve messages from eCollege. Make sure you know how to use this account or you will not get any messages from your instructor.  Visit the following website to learn how to use your college email account:


How is the course organized?

Course organization:

  1. The course is divided into one-week sections.
  2. Each week you have an assigned topic, assigned reading, assigned guided practice, a take home test, an assigned virtual field trip,  a short homework assignment, and discussion topics.
  3. You will also have one timed proctored quiz a week. That means you will need to go to campus (Hartnell College or other approved College if you are out of the Salinas area) to take quizzes.The course is divided into thirds. The first set quizzes are due by the first trimester of the class. This way you can go to Hartnell tutorial center once a "trimester", sit for about 3 hours and take all the quizzes. Or you can also go every week for 30 minutes. The tutorial staff will sign a paper that says you sat and took the quiz without any assistance. You can take the quizzes anyway you wish as long as you are supervised and complete each section by the due date. If you have questions about the procedure for taking the quizzes please email me and I will help you. 
  4. How you do on quizzes, your participation in discussion, and your assignments determine your grade.

How much time will I spend on this course?

You will need to put 6 to 9 hours of time into this class a week.  You should expect to be on your computer at least 5 days a week.

How will I be graded?



A.  25% of your grade is based on proctored weekly quizzes. You must earn 50 % of the quiz points to pass the class, no exceptions.  In other words, if you are not passing the quizzes you will fail the course. 13 % of your grade is based on the open book Take Home Tests.

B.  You can prepare for the take home tests and quizzes by completing the Guided Practice Worksheets. The Assignment, Discussion, and the Virtual Field Trips will also  help you prepare for the quizzes. If you are failing the Take Home Tests and Proctored Quizzes most likely you are not doing your reading or completing your Guided Practice Worksheets.

C. You have one proctored quiz each week. Each 6 weeks in the course is called a "trimester". The first 6 proctored quizzes are due by the Sunday (9 p.m. pacific standard time) of the first trimester. The second set of 6 quizzes is due by Sunday of the second trimester. The third set of 6 proctored quizzes is due by Friday (9 p.m. pacific standard time) of the third trimester. Quizzes will be randomized so that no two students will have the same quiz. Your quizzes must be proctored. Review the Tutorial Center Hours at this website: as hours are subject to change. South County students should talk to the instructor to make arrangements to be tested at our King City Campus. Please plan your schedule so that you can take these quizzes by the due date(s).  

D.  Print an Exam Verification form and bring it to your quiz, along with a photo ID. Once you have completed 6 quizzes mail your Exam Verification form to Ms. Alicia Steinhardt, Hartnell College, 411 Central Ave. Salinas, CA 93901. Failure to mail in your Exam Verification forms will invalidate your test results and the corresponding number of points will be subtracted from your grade. It would be a good practice to Xerox your Verification forms before mailing them. Failure to take the quizzes by the final due date will also result in the loss of those points.


A. 27% of your grade is based on assignments. A list of assignments can be found in the assignment section. Assignments are due by 9 pm Sunday of the week they are assigned unless otherwise noted. You must have a valid excuse to turn in late assignments. 

B. All assignments are worth 20 points. Late assignments are reduced 50 % for each day they are late. For example an assignment worth 10 points is worth 5 points if one day late and 2.5 points if 2 days late. Your assignments must be done by you and written in your own words. Copying from someone else or the text is not permitted. Anyone caught doing this will get dropped from the course and could face consequences from Hartnell College. Please refer to your student handbook for more information on academic integrity.


A.  27% of your grade is based on discussion participation. You must post one time a week when a discussion topic is assigned and respond once to other student's postings. General postings are due by Friday (9 p.m. pacific standard time) of the week and responses to the general postings are due by Sunday (9 p.m. pacific standard time). If you dont post by the stated due day, you wont get any points. You are expected to only post quality information that pertains directly to course content. I will create a topic area for you to talk freely, however, this is a way for you to make friends, not gain class credit, and any postings in this area will not be included in your grade. You are expected to be polite and respectful in your communications at all times. I also suggest you spell check your postings.

B.  Each discussion post is worth 10 points, for a total of 20 potential points per week. A discussion rubric will be included in your orientation materials. 

Take Home Final

8% of your grade is based on a take-home final paper and proctored final exam.  You must E-mail your take home final paper to the instructor Wednesday of finals week.  This is the official last day of the course and it is also the last day to complete your final exam.


You will get your quiz score immediately. Please allow one week for discussion and assignment scores.

You will earn at least an A if you earn 9-10 points/10 points, at least a B if you earn 8-9 points /10 points, and at least a C if you earn 7-8 points/10 points. Discussion,Assignment, and quizzes are  worth 20 points per week  so you need to double the points: 18-20 =A, 16-18 =B, and 14-16 =C. 

What is my first assignment?
DNA: Forensic and Legal Applications by L. Kobilinsky, T.F. Liotti, and J. Oeser-Sweat.
Preface and pp. 25-30
Hartnell Biology Tutorials: Scientific Method (Read, Watch, Take the Quiz)
Read the section on Evidence and DNA

Field Trip:
Scientific Method
Instructions for this website:
1. Click on continue, as you are not completing this exercise for credit.
2. Type your name, click on continue.
3. Complete both the tutorial and cricket experiment.

Watch Cold Case Files: Frozen in Time
(Episode 3 on A&Es Cold Case Files: The Most Infamous Cases)
Available from Netflix (on demand and on DVD)

Discussion: Please introduce yourself to the class. Remember to respond to at least one other student.
Here are some ideas for what you can write about in your introductory statement:
Your year in school.
Your biology background.
Your academic goals.
Why you are taking this class?
Your work experience.
What excites you?
Anything else we should know about you?

Part 1
a. In your own words, explain what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.
b. What is the course policy for those who plagiarize?
Part 2
List, in order, the 7 principles of crime scene investigation.  Provide a brief description of each principle.  Remember to properly cite any sources you use in your assignment using MLA formatting (this includes an references to your textbook).
a. Write the answers to the above questions in your own words (i.e. don't copy straight out of the book and don't copy someone else's work).

b. Email it to (insert instructor email) or use the Week 1 dropbox by Sunday 9 p.m. pacific standard time.  Please attach your assignment as a MS Word document.
c. In the subject line type FDA:Week 1. (FDA = Forensic DNA Analysis, please use this abbreviation at the beginning of all emails that are sent to the instructor.)