This course serves as an orientation and overview to hair examination as it relates to DNA analysis. The materials in the course have been gathered to assist the student in learning the preliminaries of forensic hair examination and are in no way meant to be a complete hair course.
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:
State the value of microscopic hair examinations.
Determine whether hairs are most likely suitable for nuclear or mitochondrial DNA analysis.
State how hair grows and identify the growth phases.
Discuss the value and limitations of animal hairs in the forensic context.
Describe the methodology, experience, and factors of the evidence and examiner in relation to admissibility of hair evidence.
Course Structure and Schedule
This is a non-credit course offering 5.8 ILUs. (http://elearn.wvu.edu/cpe/ILUOverview.pdf). Average completion time for the course is 28 hours. A certificate of completion will be issued to students successfully meeting course requirements.
Table of Contents
Unit 1: Why Conduct Hair Exams?
Unit 2: Recovery and Collection of Hair Evidence
Unit 3: Basic Microscopy
Unit 4: Microscopical Hair Properties
Unit 5: Is it Human or Animal?
Unit 6: Race, Ancestry, and Ethnicity
Unit 7: Body Area (Somatic Origin)
Unit 8: Damage, Disease, and Treatment
Unit 9: Suitability
Unit 10: Examinations of Hair and DNA
Unit 11: Legalities of Hair Evidence
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I be ready for casework after completing the course?
Answer: No. This course is an excellent starting point for more specialized training and practice in the discipline of hair examination. It is also beneficial to DNA Analysis to understand the basic principles of hair examination.
Can I look at the material while taking the quiz?
Answer: Yes, the quiz will open in a new window so you can review the course content information.
How do I know that I have successfully completed all assignments?
Answer: You may follow your progress by clicking on 'My Grades' in the left toolbar. If something does not have a grade or does not meet the 80% minimum standard, it must be completed.
Mozilla Firefox; Adobe Acrobat Reader; Quicktime; Adobe Flash Player; Java. There are free software plug-ins 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.
'WVU's class titled, 'Hair Evaluation for DNA Analysis' gave me a fundamental and essential understanding of hairs and trace evidence for my career. Before this class I had no prior education of forensics and this was perfect in terms of depth and overview for beginners. Having it online was a plus as well, it was nice to be able to have the ability to go at your own pace. I would suggest this class for anyone interested in getting a basic understanding of forensic hair evaluation.'