More than 1,000 forensic lab specialists have selected West Virginia University as their source for professional development.

Law enforcement officers and lab technicians from across the country are enrolled in online courses such as fingerprint identification, hair evaluation for DNA analysis, ballistics, drug chemistry and evidence

In two years, WVU has developed 15 online courses that are offered from eight to 12 weeks.

The group of courses was recently recognized for excellence in programming by the Learning Resources Network (LERN), an international association of lifelong learning programming. WVU was selected among a field of 140 nominations in four countries.

These noncredit courses can be taken for international learning units, an innovative educational standard that measures content rather than seat time or contact hours. LERN noted the originality and innovation of the program, especially in the use of international learning unit credits for a global audience.

The courses use advanced multimedia technology to enhance the learning experience,said Sherry Kuehn, coordinator of continuing and professional education in WVU s Extended Learning .For example, there is a 3-D demonstration of a human hair follicle in the Hair Examination for DNA Analysis course.

Forensic science is a high-profile field because of popular television shows such asCSI.There is an expectation that law enforcement professionals will know the latest techniques.

Kuehn said the courses were a creative solution not only for the professionals in the field to keep abreast of the rapid scientific growth, but also for other interested audiences to receive accurate information.

The courses are offered through Extended Learning. Details and easy online registration can be found at elearn.wvu.edu/Continuing/Forensic_Science/index.html or by calling 1-800-2Learn2.