Psychology of Criminal Justice

University of Queensland

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Psychology of Criminal Justice

  • Host University

    University of Queensland

  • Location

    Brisbane, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Criminal Justice, Psychology

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    PSYC1020 or PSYC1030

  • Course Level Recommendations

    Lower

    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Host University Units

    2
  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    6
  • Overview

    Course Description
    Quota of 110 students. Enrolment will close once quota is reached.
    This course systematically explores the effectiveness of the law and justice system from a psychological perspective. By experiencing a fictional case first hand, you will learn about the psychology of law and some of the misconceptions commonly held about criminal justice. You will follow the fictional crime from when it is committed, during the investigation phase, through to the trial.
     
     
    Course Introduction
    SUMMARY
    This course systematically explores the effectiveness of the law and justice system from a psychological perspective. By experiencing a fictional case first hand, you will learn about the psychology of law and some of the misconceptions commonly held about criminal justice. You will follow the fictional crime from when it is committed, during the investigation phase, through to the trial.
    Please note that class attendance is essential for passing this course (see detailed notes about activities and assessment below). If you don't plan on attending class, we respectfully ask that you don't attempt the course (we predict it won't work out well!). This is an enrolment capped course, so places are limited. By enrolling and not attending, you are taking the place of somebody else.
     
    COURSE TOPICS
    Each week will start with a part of this drama, and include a series of video lectures from the course coordinators.
    Week 1: No class contact. Complete online activities.
    Week 2: The crime / finding the suspect
    Week 3: Interviewing witnesses
    Week 4: Photofits and line-ups
    Week 5: Questioning the suspect
    Week 6: No class contact. Complete online activities.
    Week 7: Getting ready for trial
    Week 8: The trial
    Week 9: The jury deliberates
    Week 10: The verdict
     
    EXPECTATIONS
    It is expected that each week you will watch the online videos and complete the online quiz before coming to class. This course is designed as a blended course. This means that both online and in class participation are essential for successful completion of the course.
     
    You should aim to take notes from the lecture videos as though you were sitting in an actual lecture. Focus on the main points that are being covered, rather than trying to write down every word (transcripts of each videos are available in the captions).
     
    Classes will not be recorded as they are designed to be highly interactive. You will need to be present in class for the duration of each workshop.
     
    In fact, coming to class is the only way to complete the majority of the assessment in this course as we will be having tests and doing worksheets each week. You are welcome to bring along a personal audio recorder if you like to supplement your own note taking and participation.
     
    We have made class attendance and participation an integral part of this course because we would like this class to be a highly interactive experience for all involved. Although there will be some small sections where we will give mini-lectures, we have dedicated most of the class time to a series of activities. We would like to talk *with* students about the material, and through that create an engaging experience for all of us.
     
    If you are unwell or have another legitimate reason for missing a class, you will only need to provide documentation for three or more weeks of absences (we count the best six out of eight for each of your assessment items). There are no make-up quizzes, tests or worksheets for missed weeks (your assessment will be re-weighted in that event). If you are missing three or more weeks of the course for a legitimate reason however, you are strongly advised to see an academic advisor about withdrawing from the course without academic penalty as you will have missed at a minimum over a third of the course.
     
    ASSESSMENT
    Rationale for assessment: The assessment for this course is based on some of the principles of effective learning identified by scientific research.
     
    If you want to learn more about the science behind effective learning, we highly recommend that you read the following book: "Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning" (2014) by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel.
     
    The very brief summary is that learning is more effective when:
    • Repeated testing is used;
    • Testing is conducted before and after exposure to material;
    • Feedback on performance is delayed;
    • Recall rather than recognition is used:
    • Learning is interleaved with other topics:
    • Learning is spaced out over time.
    So in this course, you will be given two attempts at each week's quiz and test, before and after exposure to online lectures and learning activities in class. The in-class tests will use a short-answer format to focus on recall rather than recognition. We will also test you each week of the course to encourage spaced learning, rather than massed study before an end of semester exam. We would also encourage you not to try and watch all of each week's videos in a single sitting. You might want to break up the videos by completing study for some of your other courses.
     
    We have used weekly tests in a previous class, and although they caused some anxiety for students at first, students' performance improved dramatically over the semester--those students who were at risk of failing the course after the first tests ultimately ended up scoring pass marks and credits on the final tests.
     
    Learning Objectives
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
    1. Identify some of the myths about how the criminal justice system works from a psychological perspective.
    2. Understand some of the empirical evidence that can inform our understanding of criminal justice and how justice is administered.
     
    Class Contact
    2 Lecture hours, 1 Tutorial hour

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.