SPED 520.01W Exceptional Children
Summer 2 2012
Instructor: Dr. Suzanne Thomas
Office: Henderson 227
Telephone: (903) 348-9585 (summer phone contact)
Fax: (903) 886-5510
Email: [email protected] (preferred method of contact)
Office Hours: as this is a summer on-line class, office hours will be by appointment only.
Please do not hesitate to contact me, preferably through e-mail, if an appointment is needed.
Course Description:
The purpose of this course is to familiarize the participants with the characteristics and learning
differences of exceptional students. Legal mandates regarding special education will be discussed.
Course participants will develop an understanding of the identification process and educational options
for students with exceptionalities. Accommodations and modifications that may be considered to assist
students with disabilities in general education setting will be explored.
Smith, D.D., & Tyler, N. C. (2010). Introduction to Special Education: Making a Difference (7th Ed.).
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrell (ISBN # 13:978-0-205-60056-4 / 10: 0-205-60056-5)
Course Objectives:
The following are the standard course objectives: The student is expected to be able to understand and
will apply knowledge of:
• The philosophical, historical, and legal foundations of special education
• Special education terminology and definitions
• The characteristics and needs of students with disabilities
• Diversity in students with exceptionalities
• Procedures for managing the teaching and learning environment, including procedures related to
the use of assistive technology
• How to communicate and collaborate effectively in a variety of professional settings including
the fostering of home-school relationships
Class Requirements/Assignments/Activities/Expectations and Grading:
Getting to Know You (or “All About Me”): 10 points
Provide a short autobiography so that your classmates and I can get to know you. Give nformation about
your degree sought, teaching experience, ambitions for the future, etc. It would be helpful to provide a
picture of yourself so others “get to know you”, if possible. This assignment should be completed as part
of a discussion thread for week one.
GRADING: maximum 10 points
Sample Quiz: 10 points
Week #1 contains a short, simple, sample quiz. This is intended to give you an opportunity to “practice”
taking an on-line quiz, in case you have not yet had this “learning opportunity”. There are 5 questions on
this quiz. PS – it’s easy, you can’t fail. There is nothing to “study” before taking the quiz, so just “dive
Grading: maximum 10 points
Sample Drop Box: 15 points
Week # 1 requires you to make an entry into the drop box. Unlike the sample quiz, which does not
require you to study anything pertaining to this class, for the drop box, you are required to watch several
short video clips and react to them. The video clips will serve as an introduction to special education for
those unfamiliar with some of the topics that we will be discussing during the remainder of the semester.
For this assignment you will be required to watch the 9 parts of the video, Misunderstood Minds.
This series of videos introduces you to 5 “exceptional” children and their families. The various
parts of this video will help you begin to think about aspects not generally thought of with
“exceptional” children. Few people would ever think about special education when first
introduced to Nathan VanHoy!
1. Access the videos at www.youtube.com. Search “Misunderstood Minds”
2. You will need to watch Chapters 1 through Chapter 8.1. All are approximately 9 minutes
with the exception of 8.1 which is 4:39 minutes.
Sample Drop Box Assignment: Write a ½ to 1 page reaction to what you learned from watching
Misunderstood Minds. This is to be brief, but include enough detail to show me that you watched the
clips. Post your paper to the M.Minds drop box in week #1. GRADING: 15 points
Response to Intervention Module: 50 points
You will be assigned an activity or module on Response to Intervention (RTI). The module consists of
reading and watching the videos and answering assigned questions. A handout will be available
in “doc sharing” tab of eCollege giving you 1) how to access the module electronically and 2)
the questions you are to answer. Your response is due to be posted in the drop box.
Grading: 50 points
Discussion / Reflection:
(150 maximum points)
Students are expected to participate actively in assigned discussions. For each discussion, you are to
contribute at least one original thought by posting your reflection to a thought provoking question based
on assigned readings / videos, etc. Discussions will be posted to a discussion forum as specified in each
assignment. For some discussion forum posts, you will be required to respond to one or more postings of
one of your classmates (peer response).
• Due dates for each reflection will be included in each lesson. Reflections and peer responses will
not be accepted after the due date!
GRADING: Reflections are worth 25 points each. It is anticipated that 6 discussion / reflection
postings will be due throughout the semester for a total of 150 available points
The 25 points may be divided between your reflection and your response to the
reflection of a peer, dependant of each lesson requirements
• These assignments are to encourage thoughtful reflection and expression of your views.
This is a college class so postings called “drive by” postings (such as: “that’s great”,
“yea I agree”, “good idea”, “You go girl!”) are not welcome and will NOT receive a high
• There are few “wrong” answers. As said, these assignments are to encourage thought and
reflection. I expect all students in this class have different education and professional
experiences and have different goals in life. New ideas and new ways of looking at
things are encouraged. For those of you with a “lifetime” in special education, we can
always learn from those less indoctrinated into our system. More importantly, remember
that your colleagues new to the field will probably think more like our student’s families,
so we need to listen to and learn from their perspective. Be creative and have fun with it.
Scoring will be based on timeliness, correctness of any factual information, and your
ability to justify your opinion.
There is no minimum length like you may have had in other classes. Conversely, I don’t
encourage really long answers – remember your peers have to read it (as well as me) and
they are just as cramped for time as you are. Generally, a few sentences or a short
paragraph is sufficient.
In responding to another person’s post, be considerate and respectful. You may not agree
– and do not have to. We all learn by being challenged to think deeper and consider more
alternatives. I encourage “talking” out new ideas and perspectives. BUT, if you disagree,
you are expected to express your disagreement in a respectful way.
Typically, your grade will not be based on writing mechanics or correctness of grammar
and punctuation. Good writing mechanics shows a respect for your reader, however, and
allows me to score your response (and not your grammar). If your writing and grammar
compromises my reading and understanding, you will not receive a high score. On this
note – I don’t speak “text” very well, so don’t use text abbreviations and expect me to
understand. Just, play it safe and don’t use these abbreviations.
Chapter Tests / Quizzes: Points 390
For each chapter, you will have a quiz that will cover all information on that chapter. These quizzes are
intended to test your knowledge of information from the chapter and to give you an idea of what to expect
on the final examination. Most quizzes will be timed and will have a “cut off” date and time after which
they will not be available. However, for most quizzes, you will be allowed to take the quiz multiple times
until the cut off time or until you reach the grade that satisfies you. These quizzes are open book, open
notes, but closed to your peers (it must be your own work). As the quizzes will be timed you will need to
have a good, general understanding of all the material in advance of taking the quiz in order to complete it
accurately and timely.
GRADING: Quizzes are worth 30 points each for 13 lessons = 390 total available points
Disability in Society 100 total points
These two assignments will allow students to analyze how society experiences “disability” as it
is portrayed in film and as perceived and experienced by families in day-to-day situations with a
child with a disability. Additional information on these two assignments will be provided.
GRADING 50 points each for a total of 100 points
Both of these assignments can be turned in before the due date
Assessments (Tests) (1 final exam at 100 points maximum score)
The only test to be given during the summer semester is one comprehensive final examination.
The final examination is intended to measure your comprehension and ability to apply the course
content. The final exam may consist of both objective questions and/or short essay questions and
will be posted to on-line to eCollege and taken from your home or university computer lab. A
specific time period will be allocated for the examination. The final exam is closed book (no
access to notes/book, etc.).
Any student with an “A” average on all previously submitted materials &
assignments will be exempt from taking the final exam.
Course Evaluation & Grading:
“Getting to Know You” Post
Sample Quiz & Sample Drop Box (10 + 15)
Discussions 6 @ 25 points
Chapter Quizzes 13 @ 30 points
Disability in Society
- Analysis of Film
- Analysis of Family Interview
RTI Module
Total possible IF EXEMPT from final
Final Exam
Total possible WITH final exam
Grading Criteria:
A = 90%; B = 80%; C = 70%; D = 60%; F = < 60%
Communication & Support:
If you have a question that others in the class may also be having, please post those questions to
my Virtual Office on eCollege. Please consult virtual office to see if a question has already been
answered before sending me an e-mail. Responses to emails will be made Monday through
Friday within 48 hours unless out-of-office notification has been provided. Please note that I
will not guarantee response to virtual office posts or emails during weekends, holidays, or in the
evenings. If you have any questions or need clarifications on any aspect of the course, please
post early in the week.
As a student enrolled at Texas A&M University-Commerce, you have access to an email account
via MyLeo. ALL class emails from your instructor will be sent from eCollege (and all other
university emails) and WILL GO TO YOUR MyLeo ACCOUNT. Please be sure to check this
email account frequently and regularly.
Technology Requirements:
This is a totally on-line course that will be conducted within eCollege (the class will NOT meet
face-to-face). eCollege works best within a Microsoft Windows environment, and requires a
high speed internet connection (not dial-up). This means you should use a Windows operating
system (XP or newer) and a recent version of Microsoft Internet Explorer (6.0, 7.0 or 8.0). The
course will also work with Macintosh OS X along with a recent version of Safari (2.0 or better).
eCollege also supports the Firefox/Mozilla (3.0 or better) on both Windows and Mac operating
systems. It is strongly recommended that you perform a “Browser Test” prior to the start of your
course. To launch a browser test, login to eCollege, click on the “myCourses” tab, and then
select the “Browser Test” link under Support Services. To get started with the course, go
to:https://leo.tamu-commerce.edu/login.aspx. You will need your CWID and password to login
to the course. If you do not know your CWID or have forgotten your password, contact
Technology Services at 903-468-6000 or [email protected]
Contacting eCollege for Technical Support:
The following support options are available 24 hours a day / 7 days a week
Help: Click on the “help” button on the toolbar for information regarding working
with eCollege (i.e., “How do I submit to dropbox?”, “How do I post to discussion
board?”, etc.
Chat Support: Click on the “Live Support” on the toolbar within your course to chat
with an eCollege representative.
Phone: 1-866-656-5511 (toll free) to speak with an eCollege Technical Support
Email: [email protected] to initiate a support request with eCollege
Technical Support Representative
Other Important Notes:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that
provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other
things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning
environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you
have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact:
Office of Student Disability Resources and Services
Texas A&M University-Commerce
Gee Library, Room 132
Phone (903) 886-5150 or (903) 886-5835
Fax (903) 468-8148
[email protected]
All students enrolled at the University shall follow the tenets of common decency and
acceptable behavior conducive to a positive learning environment. (See Code of Student
Conduct from Student Guide Handbook)
o All students are expected to display professional behaviors (dispositions)
expected of educators and to demonstrate these behaviors in their interactions
with K-12 students, families, your colleagues, the professor, and communities at
all times. These professional behaviors consist of such behaviors as professional
responsibility, professional and personal integrity, collegiality, and commitment
to learning. Failure to display professional behaviors can result in counseling by
the professor and result in lowering of the course grade.
o Academic Dishonesty. To be successful in this class, you must invest time for
study. Honesty is expected. Academic dishonesty (cheating, plagiarism, collusion)
will NOT be tolerated and will result in a grade of zero (0) for the assignment. A
second infraction will result in automatic failure of the class. Dishonesty is
defined as (i) the use of unauthorized materials, (ii) any communication with
peers during quizzes, (iii) representing another’s work as one’s own (i.e.
plagiarism) or (iv) fabricating information. The professor reserves the right to
determine occurrences of cheating.
o Plagiarism occurs at any time that another’s ideas or words are used as your own
without attribution. Direct quotations must be cited and set off from other text by
quotation marks (“ ..”). Paraphrasing of another’s ideas must also be cited
(although this does not require quotation marks). Copying from other students
and two or more students who work together and turning in the exact same work
(unless it’s an assigned group project) also constitute plagiarism.
For many assignments, students are encouraged to work together.
However, if individual submission of the assignment is required, the final
product must be your own work.
All assignments must be turned in on the assigned due date. Unexcused assignments
turned in after the due date will be returned ungraded.
o Please note: Late postings to the discussion board will not be allowed, regardless
of the circumstance, as the purpose is to stimulate discussion, which is
compromised if postings are not timely.
Ensure that the assignment guidelines presented in the syllabus are followed. It is
important that all assignments are organized according to headings and subheadings
delineated in the guidelines. Failure to do so will result in an ungraded assignment or a
lower evaluation.
Make/Up exam. There will be NO make-up exams for this course unless a true
emergency exists. Students are expected to submit relevant documentation ( e.g. doctor’s
note, funeral notice, etc.) when requesting a make/up examination.
Written Assignments. Written assignments MUST be typed using double spaced lines,
include your name, and have page numbers. In addition, work submitted should reflect a
professional quality in terms of scope, depth, writing mechanics, and appearance that
would be expected of students at a prestigious university. Proofread all assignments as
only materials with minimal or no errors will receive high scores.
Person First Language: Our language is a reflection of our attitudes. Always refer to
persons with disabilities with respect. Degrading terminology will not be tolerated. In
this class we will strive to use “people first” language at all times. “People First”
language always refers to the person first and not as a label or a category. For example,
refer to “a student with autism” and not “an autistic” or “students with disabilities” and
not “disabled students”. In addition, avoid such stigmatizing terminology as “confined
to a wheelchair” (say “uses a wheelchair” instead.).
If you have suggestions, comments, questions, or concerns about the class or the
assignments, please call or see the instructor. Please do not save your suggestions for the
evaluation at the end of the term when it is too late to implement your suggestions.
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