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CSS 225: College Success Studies

CRN 51177 - Summer 2020 - 3 Credits

Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday 10:00-11:00 on Zoom


Instructor: Monica Contreras (she/her/hers)

Office Hours: WednesdaysLinks to an external site. 11:00-Links to an external site.11:30amLinks to an external site. via ZoomLinks to an external site.

Online Study Hall: Day and time TBA

Contact Info: Email: monica_contreras@cuesta.edu (preferred)

Phone: 805-316-1344 (emergency only)

This course has weekly synchronous online meetings. These take place on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday from 10am -11am.

                            All course information available on Canvas

Instructor Contact Expectations: 

The best and fastest way to contact me is by email.  I will generally respond to your emails within 24 hours during weekdays only.  During busy times of the semester, the response time may increase to 48 hours.  On weekends, I will do my best to get back to you ASAP but I cannot guarantee an expeditious response. 

Course Environment:

This online course uses the Web-based Learning Management System Canvas as the method to disseminate information. Canvas provides the framework for the course including slide and video 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.

  • This class will be delivered partially online with synchronous meetings Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday from 10am-11am and all other materials provided asynchronously.
  • There will be small group collaborative projects. You will be assigned to a group based on your availability and will need to meet with that group to complete your projects.
  • This is NOT a self-paced course. Modules will open each Tuesday morning at 12:01am. Most work is due the following Monday at 11:59pm.
  • If you are unable to attend a synchronous session, you are still responsible for the content presented that day. You will need to view the recording of the session.
  • I will also offer a totally optional ‘Online Study Hall’ where you can sign on via Zoom for music, collaboration and a bit of homework (you can work on any topic). This is a great way to build community and get to know your peers. Day and time of this component will be determined based on our class survey for availability.
  • In addition to viewing lecture content, you will be expected to show your learning through assignments, observations, discussions, and collaborative projects.
  • We will use Google Drive, especially Google Docs and Google Slides for individual and collaborative projects.

Pre-Course Orientation Requirement

Since a significant portion of this course will be delivered online, you need to become familiar with how to work with the Learning Management System, Canvas. Your very first assignment for the summer is to complete this Online Success Tutorial. Follow the hyperlink to enroll in this self-paced course. This tutorial will take a few hours to complete, so plan your time in order to complete it prior to our first class meeting. You will need to upload a copy of your completion certificate as your very first course assignment.

Class opens / Accessing Canvas:

The week before 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 (LMS). 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 have challenges 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 the direction on the course home page.  

If you are having difficulty logging into Canvas after June 15, 2020 and need assistance please email me or technical support at this email address: support@my.cuesta.edu

Online Learning: 

The Basics

If you have never taken an online class or this is your first experience with Canvas, please be patient with yourself. Hybrid 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, on this course as you would on a course that meets fully face to face. Much of your time will be self-directed and there will be a substantial amount of reading, viewing, studying, and writing required. All coursework (discussions, assignments, quizzes) is submitted online.

Synchronous Course Elements https://cccconfer.zoom.us/j/8066185365Links to an external site.

This course has weekly synchronous online meetings. These take place on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday from 10am -11am. You should be prepared to meet via Zoom during these scheduled times each week and to participate in our live discussions. If you are unable to participate in real time you will need to view the class recording and you will be prior to the next class meeting and demonstrate your understanding of the content. There will also be small group activities where you and your group will need to arrange meetings outside of lecture.

Asynchronous Course Elements

With the exception of our weekly class meetings, most of the time you commit to this course will be on your own time. You will need to establish a schedule of when you devote time to your learning. You will be expected to log on each day to check for announcements and updates.

Please be prepared to spend 8 - 12 hours per week on coursework for this class, including our synchronous meetings.


Regular Effective Contact policy:

Regular and Effective Instructor Contact will be met through weekly synchronous class sessions, instructor-initiated threaded discussion forums; weekly announcements to students; timely and effective feedback on student assignments; email, phone or messaging to individuals; and virtual office hours. You need to sign on to the course daily for assignments announcements and updates.

Course Description

College Success Studies integrates personal growth and values, academic study strategies, and critical and creative thinking proficiency. It focuses on life management, learning styles, personal and educational values, time management, instructor-student relations, maintaining health, memory and concentration, lecture note-taking, textbook studying, subject-specific studying, test taking, using the library, critical analysis, problem solving, and creative thinking. The emphasis is on attainment of life-long success in academic, professional and personal development.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply effective and specific study strategies to academic coursework.
  2. Identify and describe campus resources that will help students succeed.
  3. Utilize technology strategically to find and evaluate information and utilize research to set achievable academic, professional, and personal goals.

Texts and Materials

There are no textbooks to purchase for this course – all materials will be available through Canvas.

We will use many basic digital tools in this course. You will need access to and familiarity with 

  • Google Drive (We use this as a collaborative and assessment tool.)
    • Docs
    • Slides
    • Sheets
  • You will need access to a device that includes a mic and a webcam for ConferZoom class and small group meetings. The assignments in this course involve weekly reflections (written) and the expectation that you will be able to create digital presentations such as slide shows and videos. These are most reasonably completed using a laptop or desktop computer. If you do not have access to a ‘chrome book’ or more advanced type of device, please contact me or the Cuesta College Library circulation@cuesta.edu to arrange to borrow one from the library.
  • Nice but not necessary:



  • Online Success Tutorial Complete this tutorial. Once the course is open you will need to upload a copy of the certificate.

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. Please review the browser requirements and minimum computer specificationsLinks to an external site. .


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)Links to an external site. at 805-546-3148.

Statement on Diversity and Inclusion

It is my intent that students from all diverse backgrounds and perspectives be well-served by this course, that students' learning needs be addressed both in and out of class, and that the diversity of culture students bring here be viewed as a resource, strength and benefit. It is my intent to present materials and activities that are respectful of diversity: gender identity, sexuality, disability, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, nationality, religion, and culture. Your suggestions are encouraged and appreciated. Please let me know ways to improve the effectiveness of the course for you personally, or for other students or student groups. If any of our class meetings conflict with your religious practice, please let me know ahead of the date and I will make reasonable accommodations for you.

College & Course Policies:

Academic Honesty Policy: [Identify your course specific academic honesty policy]. In addition to my course 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: Plan to sign into this course daily.  

Failure to sign in 7 consecutive days will initiate a drop.

In addition to my policy, please review the Cuesta policy for drops

Important Dates

  • Last day to drop with refund:    June 18,  2020
  • Last day to add with add code: June 22, 2020
  • Last day to drop without a “W”: June 22, 2020
  • Last Day to drop with a “W”: July 8,  2020    

Cuesta College Add and Drop Policies are linked below:

Waitlist Policy: I am excited to welcome all students up to the class cap. Please contact me directly if you are interested in adding this course. If you add this class after the first week, be aware that you need to complete your volunteer paperwork immediately and arrange for your fieldwork observations ASAP. Please review Cuesta’s waitlist procedure and instructionsLinks to an external site..

Please write back!

I look forward to meeting you very soon! Please let me know you have read this message by sending me a brief email at monica_contreras@cuesta.edu.  Introducing yourself by including:

  • Your name and pronouns
  • General reason you are taking this course
  • A fun fact about yourself
  • A question (or several) you have about this course

I will see you Tuesday, June 16 at 10am!


Monica Contreras, M.Ed.


Faculty, College Success Studies/Counselor

Cuesta College

(805) 316-1344

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