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Concepts of Criminal Law (CJ 206) CRN: 75039


Kevin Watts

Contact Information

  • Email Address: kevin_watts1@cuesta.edu.
  • Class Meeting Times: This class is fully online (no face-to-face meetings) and is scheduled to begin on August 15, 2022.
  • Virtual Office Hours: Monday to Friday by email appointment. Virtual office hour meetings will occur via Zoom. 


Hello and welcome to CJ 206: Concepts of Criminal Law. I am looking forward to facilitating your academic journey and helping you to learn more about the elements of the penal code and general laws about various kinds of crimes. 

Instructor Contact Expectations

We will be using Pronto, an instant messaging application, for brief announcements, student questions, and assignment clarifications. I will attempt to respond to Pronto messages within 4 hours. The best method to contact me for more involved issues is via Cuesta email. Generally, I will respond to emails within 24 hours during weekdays. In some cases, during busier periods, the response time may increase to 48 hours. If you do need to contact me on weekends, I will attempt to get back to you as soon as possible; however, I cannot guarantee a fast response.

Course Description

During this course, we will examine elements of the penal code and general laws about various kinds of crimes. 

Course Environment

This online course will be using two web-based Learning Management Systems (Canvas) as the primary method to disseminate information and McGraw-Hill Connect, a separate web-based platform, for textbook exercises, quizzes, and the final exam.

Canvas provides the framework for the course including reading from the text, PowerPoint presentations, the tools to receive and send course materials, and a grade book.

McGraw-Hill Connect enriches the learning experience by providing access to (a) textbook exercises that underscore key concepts and quizzes to check your understanding of the material. You will need to register and create an account in McGraw-Hill Connect to access the exercises and quizzes.

Important note about McGraw-Hill Connect

To enhance your learning experience and provide affordable access to the right course material, this course is part of an inclusive access model called First Day™. You can easily access the required materials for this course at a discounted price, and benefit from single sign-on access with through Canvas.

Cuesta College will bill you at the discounted price as a course charge for this course.  Your course materials may be accessed digitally through your Canvas account either on or before the first day of class. Although an optional print copy of the book is available at the campus bookstore, NO other purchase is necessary. Your course material charge is included in your student registration / fees and guarantees the lowest cost available for your required materials.

It is NOT recommended that you Opt-Out, as these materials are required to complete the course. You can choose to Opt-Out on the first day of class, but you will be responsible for purchasing your course materials at the full retail price and access to your materials may be suspended.

For more information and FAQs go to customercare.bncollege.com (Links to an external site.).

The course is organized into 18 Modules. You will need to complete the Course Tutorial and Module 1 during the first week of class, and a module each week for the duration of the semester. Assignments must be completed in the week in which they are assigned. Due dates will be noted in the syllabus for your convenience.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  • Identify sources of criminal law.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principles of actus reus (act or failure to act) and mens rea (intent). 
  • Identify the elements of offenses against persons, property, and public welfare.
  • Apply facts to law to determine whether a criminal law violation has occurred. 

Textbook and Materials 

  1. Criminal Law for the Criminal Justice Professional by Norman M. Garland, 5th Edition, 2021 (McGraw-Hill), ISBN: 9781260254105. (The textbook material will be provided through McGraw-Hill Connect. Contact the Cuesta Bookstore for more information on the First Day Access Program). 

Supplemental Materials Necessary for this Class

Class Open - Accessing Canvas

Prior to the start of the class, you will receive an email to your my.Cuesta.edu address providing you with a reminder that class will be starting, as well as log in procedures for Canvas - the Learning Management System (LMS) used to deliver course content.

You can access Canvas by logging into MyCuesta, clicking on the Resources Tab, and clicking on Canvas in the Online Learning Channel, or by typing the Canvas address (https://cuesta.instructure.com/) into your browser address bar. Do not bookmark / favorite the canvas site after your login, or you will get an error message next time you try to log in. You must access the canvas log in directly.

If you are not familiar with logging into Canvas, please refer to the Canvas Quick Reference Guide.Links to an external site. Once logged into Canvas, you will be directed on where to get started. Be sure to read all of the directions on the course home page.

Technical Support

Cuesta students are encouraged to direct all technical support inquiries to support@my.cuesta.edu. If you are having issues with Canvas, you should contact the Canvas Support Hotline at (877) 921-7680, email canvas technical support at: support@instructure.com, or click on the help button on the Canvas Navigation page to report a problem.

If you are having difficulty viewing the course or logging in, it may be because you are not using the correct url: https://cuesta.instructure.com/ or you are using your phone or using an unsupported browser.

Your learning environment is best accessed from a desktop or laptop computer, using Firefox or Chrome.  This may solve your problem!  Please review the browser requirements and minimum computer specificationsLinks to an external site..

Online Learning

If you have never taken an online class or this is your first experience with Canvas, please be patient with yourself. Online classes are not inherently easier, although they may be much more convenient for many students. You should expect to spend at least as much time, if not more on this course as you would on a course that meets face-to-face. Since there is no lecture component, much of this time will be self-directed and there will be a substantial amount of reading, viewing, studying, and writing required. This course is completely online using Canvas; all coursework (discussions, written assignments, and projects) will be submitted online. There are no face-to-face meetings. Please be prepared to spend 8-12 hours per week on coursework for this class.

Is an Online Class for You?

  • First, go to the Cuesta College Canvas Tutorial (self-paced)Links to an external site.,  there are many resources that were designed to help you understand the basis for an online class and the skills necessary for success. (If the tutorials do NOT describe you, then taking this class online is NOT for you and I strongly suggest that you drop the online class and enroll in a traditional classroom section.)

Regular Effective Contact Policy

Regular and Effective Instructor Contact will be met through weekly instructor initiated threaded discussion forums; weekly announcements to students; timely and effective feedback on student assignments; email, phone or Pronto messaging to students; and virtual office hours.


 This course is designed using an accessible Learning Management System, and course materials have been created with ADA compliance in mind. If you have a disability and might need accommodations in this class such as extended time on exams or other resources. Please contact me as soon as possible so that you can receive appropriate accommodations in a timely manner. You should also contact DSPS (Disabled Student Programs & Services) Links to an external site. or at 805-546-3148.

 College & Course Policies

 Academic Honesty Policy: Please note all students attending San Luis Obispo County Community College District at any district site and when representing Cuesta College in any off-campus activity, assume an obligation to conduct themselves in an acceptable manner compatible with the Student Code of Conduct. Please review the Cuesta College Student Code of conductLinks to an external site..

Add / Drop Policy: Please review the Cuesta policy for adds, drops, and waitlists:

Waitlist Policy: Pease review Cuesta’s waitlist procedure and instructionsLinks to an external site..

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at kevin_watts1@cuesta.edu.

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