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Fundamentals of Forensic Questioned Documents

ID : 37433   
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The goal of this online course is to provide the student with an orientation and overview of questioned documents in regards to forensic science. This course covers equipment, training, handwriting identification, distortion, disguise, signatures, variation, forged signatures, the Video Spectral Comparator (VSC), the Electrostatic Detection Apparatus (ESDA), and questioned documents in court.



Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Describe the types of document examinations as a comparison process.

  • Identify reference collections and scientific equipment.

  • Differentiate between class and individual handwriting characteristics.

  • Discuss concepts and techniques of the Video Spectral Comparator (VSC) and Electrostatic Detection Apparatus (ESDA).

  • Appreciate the role of a questioned document examiner as an expert witness.


Course Structure and Schedule

This is a non-credit course offering 5.02 ILUs. (What is ILU?) Average completion time for the course is 27 hours. The instructor should be notified if an extension is required.  A certificate of completion will be issued to students successfully meeting course requirements.

Table of Contents

Unit 1: Overview and Introduction of Questioned Documents

Unit 2: Equipment, Training, and Organizations

Unit 3: Handwriting Identification

Unit 4: Distortion, Disguise, and Samples

Unit 5: Signatures and Variations

Unit 6: Non-Genuine or Forged Signatures

Unit 7: Video Spectral Comparator (VSC)

Unit 8: Electrostatic Detection Apparatus (ESDA)

Unit 9: Questioned Documents in Court


There are no prerequisites for this course.  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

Why was a correct answer on a quiz, marked incorrect?

Answer: Quizzes are graded automatically by the computer. However each quiz will be reviewed by the instructor in order to double check the system. The instructor is able to update your grade if necessary.

Do I have to respond to the discussion questions?

Answer: Yes, all discussion questions for this course are required and are graded.

Who do I contact if I’m having problems with the course?

Answer: If you are having trouble with registration or accessing the online course, please call OIT at 304-293-4444. Make sure you state that you are a non-credit eCampus student. If the problem is related to the course material, please email the instructor who will respond to your email as soon as possible.

Can I look at the material while taking the quiz?

Answer: Yes, the quiz open in a new window so you can review the course information.

Computer Requirements

  • 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.

All Students: Using Internet Explorer (IE) 10? Read info on eCampus Main Page



Registration Information 

Select the "Add to Cart" option and register online through our secure server. You will be receiving email with your online course access information within five working days. Please check your spam or junk folder in case the confirmation email was misplaced there. Call 1-800-253-2762, or email if you have any questions. Major credit cards are accepted.

Interested in a group discount?  Please contact the Continuing & Professional Education office at (304) 293-7570 or email us at for a coupon code.

Check our FAQ page for refund and class access information.


Course Reviews

"All the classes that I have enrolled in have been great. The courses have so much information. I am very confident that any situation I come in contact with will aid me.

I want to thank all the teachers and staff of West Virginia University for the service they provide to law enforcment and other public service employees.

Great Courses."


Class Details

43 Sessions
Online 24/7


Kelly Ayers 



Registration Closes On
Friday, July 6, 2018 @ 11:59 PM

Schedule Information

Date(s) Class Days Times Location Instructor(s)
6/29/2018 - 8/10/2018 Online 24/7 12:00 AM - 12:00 AM TBD Kelly Ayers