Welcome Letter: Introduction to Law

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Welcome to Distance Education at Cuesta College and the online course Introduction to Law. I look forward to being your instructor for this course. This letter is to inform you of some of the important details prior to the start of class.

About Your Instructor

My name is Janet Wallace. I earned my Juris Doctorate from UC Davis School of Law and am a Partner at O’Leary Wallace LLP, a local law firm. I can be reached at janet_wallace2@cuesta.edu. Office hours will be held weekly--but you can also schedule a time with me if office hours are not convenient. 

Course Overview

This course introduces students to the study of law and its role in society as a source of control, change and conflict resolution among social groups. Overview of different legal systems, legal theories and substantive areas of the law, emphasizing the social impact of these different aspects of the law. Please be prepared to spend 8 to 10 hours per week on coursework for this class.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  1. Identify the different sources and types of American law and demonstrate how American law is created, changed, and classified.
  2. Use law library and computerized materials including cases and statutes to research legal principles.
  3. Explain the judicial decision making process and what impact this process has on different social groups and overall social policy.
  4. Compare and contrast the different legal procedures including criminal procedures and civil dispute procedures and explain the social implications of these different legal procedures.
  5. Differentiate among the different areas of substantive civil and criminal law and explain the impact of these areas of the law on society.
  6. Discuss the impact that the United States Supreme Court has had in shaping governmental and social policy in the united states through its rulings in landmark constitutional cases.

Canvas, Email, Technology

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 data 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.

Prior to the Monday classes start, 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 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 https://cuesta.instructure.com/ into your browser address bar.

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 direction on the course home page.  If you are having difficulty logging into Canvas and need assistance please email technical support at support@my.cuesta.edu. 

It is essential that you understand the basic concepts of email, web navigation and online communication to succeed in this course. Please visit cuesta college’s distance education website at http://library.cuesta.edu/distance/index.htm for FAQs, online resources, and information on how to survive an online course.

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. Your learning environment is best accessed from a desktop or laptop computer, using Firefox or Chrome.  This may solve your problem!  


The textbook is Carper's Understanding The Law

Please visit the bookstore for more information.

College Policies

Each student is required to follow all school guidelines and comply with all school deadlines including personal responsibility for adding and/or dropping this class. Drop dates are available on the academic calendar. Each student is responsible for obtaining updates or changes to the syllabus and/or assignments for the course.

Students are responsible for being aware of and complying with the academic honesty policy (refer to cuesta college schedule or cuesta college catalog). At the discretion of the instructor, students being academically dishonest will be dropped from the course. If the drop deadline has passed, students will receive a failing grade in the course.


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 DSPS (Disabled Student Programs & Services) at 805-546-3148 or http://www.cuesta.edu/student/studentservices/dsps/index.html

Final Thoughts

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. Please let me know if I can be of assistance.

I look forward to working together!

Janet Wallace

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