Welcome Letter HDHS 280

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Basic Interviewing/Counseling Skills

& Law and Ethics

CRN #33856




Starlene Graber, PhD, LMFT

Contact information:

Email Address: Starlene_Graber@cuesta.edu or Inbox through Canvas


Phone Number:  Sometimes it is better to discuss the course and answer more difficult questions over the phone.  If you would like to talk with me, please feel free to send me a Canvas message with your telephone number and when you are available.  I can return calls Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday after 8:00 pm.  I may at some point during the semester ask to talk with you over the phone.  Messages and emails have their limitations and aren’t always the most efficient and effective method.


Office Location/ Hours: I am available on Cuesta College campus by appointment.   My office is located in Building 4000 at the Child Development Center.  Send me an email and I can arrange to meet in person, by telephone, or online.


Instructor Contact Expectations:  The best and fastest way to contact me is email.  I will generally respond to your emails within 24 hours, including weekends and holidays.  During busy times of the semester, the response time may increase to 48 hours. I respond to the email at starlene_graber@cuesta.edu and also email at the Inbox in the Canvas system.


Course Environment: This online course will be using a Web-based Learning Management System Canvas as the method to disseminate information. Canvas provides the framework for the course including PowerPoint presentations, student files, the tools to receive and send course materials, and a grade book. Using the communication tools, you can communicate using e-mail, and you can share materials and ideas with other course participants via the discussion forums and groups.


Class opens / Accessing Canvas: Prior to classes starting January 22, 2019, you will receive an email to your my.Cuesta.edu address providing you with a reminder that class will be starting and log in procedures for Canvas, the learning management system (LMS) used to deliver course content. You can access Canvas by logging into MyCuesta, then clicking on the Resources Tab, then 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. Once logged into Canvas you will be directed on where to get started. Be sure to read all the directions on the course home page.  


If you are having difficulty logging into Canvas after January 22, 2019 and need assistance please email me or technical support at this email address: support@my.cuesta.edu. When you email the tech support, please include your name, class, CRN#, and instructor’s name.  Then describe the problem you are having.  You will generally get a response from the tech support staff within 48 hours and usually sooner.  If you do not hear a response within 48 hours, then email again.


Online LearningIf 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. This is a HYBRID course with the first half of the semester (8 weeks) self-directed online and there will be a substantial amount of reading, viewing, studying, and writing required. This course is using Canvas; all coursework (discussions, assignments, quizzes) is submitted online. The total of 3.0 credits is available for this course, please be prepared to spend 6 - 9 hours per week on coursework for this class.  Please be advised that this is not a self-paced course and you will need to keep up with the Course Calendar as the graded activities will only be available for the week between Monday to Sunday.


There is a total of eight face-to-face meetings (basically the second half of the semester).  The class meets on Wednesdays from 6:30 – 8:50 pm in Room 4403 on the San Luis Obispo campus.  The dates for the mandatory, in-seat, in-person classroom sessions are:  3/20, 3/27, 4/10, 4/17, 4/24, 5/1, 5/8, and 5/15.  The idea is that the second part of the semester will be practicing, role playing, being observed, and provided feedback on your actual counseling and interviewing skills. 



First, go to the Online Readiness Resources to take a "self-assessment”. 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 and 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 messaging to individuals; and office hours. The Instructor encourages students to regularly communicate with the Instructor and other students as online environments can be isolative, so creating a true learning environment is really important for all student learning.


Students will actively participate in Discussion Forums with other students, share information with each other, and the instructor will also monitor and participate in the weekly discussion forums.  Students must log in and participate several times a weekly basis as this is not a self-paced course.  Each week the Course will cover one chapter per week with activities to be completed each week.  Please create a back-up plan (Cuesta’s computer lab, a friend or relative’s computer, work after hours as the course is available 24/7) and do not wait until the last minute to submit class work.  The Chapter begins on Mondays and close on Sunday nights.

Course Description:

Presents and develops basic competency in one-on-one counseling skills relevant to the helping professions with emphasis on motivational interviewing and client empowerment approaches.  Places a strong emphasis on professional ethics and boundaries. Skills may be applied in counseling, mediation, negotiation and interpersonal settings.

Student Learning Outcomes:

1.      Identify and demonstrate the characteristics and skills of effective counselors.

2.      Demonstrate knowledge of ethical codes and behavior in professional practice.

3.      Appraise one’s own professional conduct as it pertains to the human services field.

Text Book and Materials:

  • Egan, Gerard & Reese, Robert. (2018). The Skilled Helper (11th): A Problem-Management and Opportunity-Development Approach to Helping.
  • Supplemental Materials necessary for the class, as applicable. For example:

Adobe reader

PPT free Version

Google Slides


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, or click on the help button on the Canvas Navigation 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 specifications




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 the instructor as soon as possible so that you can receive appropriate accommodations in a timely manner. You should also contact Disabled Student Programs and Services at http://www.cuesta.edu/student/studentservices/dsps/index.html  or call them 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 conduct


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

Add Policy

Drop Policy


Waitlist Policy:  Please review Cuesta’s waitlist procedure and instructions 

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