SPED 346 Introduction to Exceptional Children
Spring 2013
Web-based Sections 04W and 05W
Instructor: Dr. Suzanne Thomas
Office: Henderson 227
Telephone: (903) 886-5592
Fax: (903) 886-5510
Email: [email protected] (preferred method of contact)
Office Hours: Tuesday & Thursday 9:00 – 10:30am; Tuesdays 1:00 – 3:00 pm or by appt.
It is my desire that each of you profits from this course. Please contact me via e-mail or phone or
schedule to meet with me if you need any assistance. Appointments are NOT required, but are
appreciated, preferred, and given priority.
Course Description:
This course will provide a survey of populations with exceptionalities. Attention will be given to the
cause of these deviations and their effect upon the individual’s development. Professional roles of the
special education team members as well as the policies and regulations applicable to special education
programs in general will be covered.
Hallahan, D.P., Kauffman, J. M., & Pullen. P.C. (2012). Exceptional Learners: An Introduction to
Special Education (12th Ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon. (ISBN # 13:978-0-13-703370-6 / 10:0-13703370-2
Course Objectives:
The following are the standard course objectives: The student is expected to be able to
Understand and apply knowledge of the characteristics and needs of students with
Understand and apply knowledge of procedures for managing the teaching and learning
environment, including procedures related to the use of assistive technology
Understand the philosophical, historical, and legal foundations of special education, and
Know how to communicate and collaborate effectively in a variety of professional settings.
Class Requirements/Assignments/Activities/Expectations and Grading:
Getting to Know You (or “All About Me”) 10 points:
Students will provide a short
autobiography so that your classmates and I can get to know you. You will be asked to give information 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 – BUT READ THE SYLLABUS
1st! Just “dive in”.
Grading: maximum 10 points
Sample Drop Box: 20 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 this assignment, 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. 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 on what you learned from watching
Misunderstood Minds. This is to be brief, but include enough detail to show me that you watched the clips.
MAXIMUM LENGTH = 1 PAGE! Post your paper to the M.Minds drop box in week #1.
GRADING: 20 points
Weekly Discussion Forum Participation:
Students are expected to participate actively in
discussions on each assigned lesson (typically weekly). 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. For most discussion forum, you will be required to respond to at least one posting of one of your
classmates (peer response).
• Due dates for each reflection and each peer response will be included in each lesson. Typically, your
reflection must be posted by midnight Wednesday and your peer response must be posted by midnight
Sunday. Reflections and peer response postings will not be accepted after the due date!
GRADING: Discussions are worth 25 points each for 10 lessons = 250 total available points
If the discussion requires a peer response in addition to your personal reflection, the 25 points will be
divided with your reflection being worth 15 points and your peer response being worth 10 points.
These assignments are to encourage thoughtful reflection and expression of your views. This is a college
class so postings called “drive by” postings (“that’s great”, “yea I agree”, “You go girl!”) are not welcome
and will NOT receive a high grade.
• 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
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.
Weekly Chapter Quizzes:
For each lesson (approximately weekly), you will have a quiz that will cover
all information presented that week. These quizzes are intended to give you an idea of what to expect on the
examinations. Typically, the quizzes will be open for the entire week, and, generally, will close on Sunday at
11:59 pm. You will only be allowed to take the quiz one time unless otherwise noted. These quizzes are open
book, open notes, but closed to your peers (it must be your own work). The quizzes will be timed so that 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 14 quizzes = 4200 total available points
Disability in Society
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
• Due Dates:
o Analysis of a Film
Due April 7
o Analysis of Family Study
Due April 28
Assignments can be turned in before the due date
Assessments (Tests) (3 tests at 50 points each=150 points)
Three (3) tests (two during the semester and one final exam) will be scheduled during the semester to
measure your comprehension and ability to apply the course content. Assessments may consist of both
objective questions and/or short essay questions. All exams will be posted to on-line to eCollege and
taken from your home or university computer lab. Specific time periods will be allocated for each
examination. Exams are closed book (no access to notes/book) unless otherwise specified.
Tentative exam schedule: The weeks of February 4 and March 25
The final exam is tentatively scheduled for May 6 - 10
Any student with an “A” average on all previously submitted materials will be
exempt from taking the final exam.
Course Evaluation & Grading:
“Getting to Know You” Post
Sample Quiz
Misunderstood Minds Discussion
Discussion Forum 10 @ 25 points
Chapter Tests 14 @ 30 points
Disability in Society
- Analysis of Film
- Analysis of Family Interview
Examinations 2 @ 50
Total possible points without final
Final Exam
Total possible points WITH final
Point Distribution:
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 the
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 virtual office and/or 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 emails during weekends, holidays, or in the evenings. If you
have any questions or need clarifications on any aspect of the course, please post your question 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 course will include electronic communications throughout the semester, therefore, access to and
use of eCollege is required. 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.tamucommerce.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:
Students with Disabilities:
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 Dispositions: 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, 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.
All assignments must be turned in on the due date. Any late assignment will receive a 10%
deduction PER DAY for the first 3 days it is turned in past the due date (e.g., a 10% deduction
for 1 day late; 20% deduction for 2 days late, etc.). Any assignment turned in four or more
days after the due date will be returned ungraded.
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 activities or 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.) or “suffers from ____” (say “has ____” 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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