Course Outline

Human Rights

Online Course Outline

Weekly Agenda

Our four week class consists of four major topics with two online discussion boards to complete each week on selected topics. The discussion boards within each weekly module will include a lecture/discussion, links to short articles, videos, podcasts, songs, and other material that will serve as the bases of our weekly class discussions.

Week One: Human Rights and Policing


  • Defining Human Rights
  • History of Human Rights 
  • History of Policing
  • Applying the Relevance of Human Rights to Policing Communities

Brief Summary:

The first week of the course focuses on defining human rights and tracing its history, as well as defining policing and its history. We apply the relevance of human rights to policing a community.

Week Two: A Sociological Look at the Causes of Crime


  • Crime and the Criminological Imagination
  • The Social Causes of Crime
  • Causes of Crime I: Social Structure and Anomie
  • Causes of Crime II: Community and Anomie

Brief Summary:

We discuss the sociological causes of crime looking at how the problem of crime transcends the private orbit of any individual’s life—regardless of what side of the law the individual resides. We discuss some short articles and entertaining, though-provoking readings that might challenge our assumptions about what causes crime. More specifically, we analyze the relationship between the causes of crime and the role of policing in society.

Week Three: A Critique of Policing in the United States


  • Gangs and Police
  • Police and Social Inequality
  • Changing Discourse on Police—Heroes to Villains
  • Defund the Police
  • Community Policing
  • Militarization of the Police
  • What’s a Cop like you Doing in a Place Like This?

Brief Summary:

What’s the difference between cops and gangs? What’s the role of police in society? What’s the role of police in an unequal society? Why has society places all of its baggage and problems on the shoulders of cops? How, at least in some circles, has the discourse changed from cops as heroes to villains in society? How can answering this question help you on your job? We discuss the current and historical situation of policing in America and apply this understanding to our everyday police work. We end the week with a discussion on how to apply human rights policing in real life situations.

Week Four: Applying Human Rights Policing to Your Police Department


  • Applying Human Rights Policing: Current Controversial Cases of Police Use of Force
  • Applying Human Rights Policing: Real Life Local Policing Situations

Brief Summary:

Our final week applies our understanding of human rights policing to job performance, specifically to the unique culture and politics that exists amid local police departments. We discuss how we can apply human rights policing to some of the contradictions that might exist within the department. We also apply how human rights policing might inform how we handle responses to calls of service.


The final assignment for participants is the completion of a short questionnaire applying human rights policing to their department and while answering calls of service.

* Participants in the pilot program fulfill requirements of the Human Rights Policing Certificate of Completion by completing and returning an online course evaluation. A link to the online survey will be emailed to you on the last day of the course. Upon receipt of your completed survey, Extended Learning will send you your Certificate of Completion for Human Rights Policing.