An Introduction To Special Education Education Essay



This course is designed to provide each student with an overview of special education and the students who are served in special education programs. The course is appropriate for students in programs to prepare them for careers in working in schools, with adolescents or adults, or for professionals from other disciplines who desire to become familiar with terminology, concepts, and issues that are important for an understanding of the needs of people with disabilities and the types of services that are available to them.

It is important to keep in mind that an online course requires that the students be self disciplined as there is not a weekly, face-to-face meeting with an instructor who is reminding everyone of due dates. The instructors will be interacting with students in the threaded discussions, responding to individual questions within the course site email, and announcing information that will be helpful to everyone. However, all of the work required in this under-graduate level course is self-directed. To be successful in this course students must work independently and must participate in on-line discussions many times each week.

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It is very important for you to review this syllabus thoroughly and to read through all of the information provided in the course site. Much of the information typically announced in face-to-face classes is provided in the syllabus and within the course site to enable you to be successful with this course

Course Objectives

By the conclusion of this course each student will know-

The characteristics of students who are typically served in special education programs,

The various models for providing an appropriate education for these students,

The various laws for serving these students,

The role of special and regular education teachers and other school professionals,

The various delivery models for students with low incidence disabilities in both academic functional areas and vocational areas,

By the conclusion of this course each student will have expanded his/her awareness of various special education programs and/or agencies that provide services for persons with disabilities.


The grade for the course will be based on the following:

* Introduction and Threaded Discussions 65 points

* Media Notebook 55 points

* Resource Tool Box 40 points

* 2 Exams (@ 50 points each) 100 points

The grading scale is as follows.

A 95-100% C 73-76%

90-95% C- 70-72%

B+ 87-89% D+ 67-69%

B 83-86% D 63-66%

80-82% D- 60-62%

C+ 80-81% E/F below 62%

Deadlines and Incompletes : There are no deadline extensions in this course. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you submit materials well before deadlines rather than waiting until the last minute. Also, the grade of "I" (incomplete) is not available; the course grade is based upon the work completed during this semester.


Smith, D. D. (2007). Introduction to Special Education: Making a Difference (7th ed.). Boston, Allyn & Bacon.

Distance Delivery

Course Format: Since this course is provided via distance education, students who enroll should be comfortable with using the internet and email and should recognize that almost all course activities will be handled electronically. Moodle will be the platform for the course but a prior knowledge of Moodle is not necessary.

There will be no class meetings and students will not attend any group or class sessions.

Course Participation:

Threaded Discussions: Participation in threaded discussions, related to the course modules, is mandatory. The threaded discussions will be available 24 hours per day during the module periods. These discussions are asynchronous; therefore you may participate at any time and at various times during the duration of each module. It is very important that you contribute to the discussions each week.

Other assignments: Media Notebook, the Resource Tool Box, and the 2 exams will be submitted via the course site.

Communication with the Instructor

All communications with the instructor should be handled via email, phone, or by appointment. When using e-mail, type "EEX 3012" in the subject line.

Course Requirements

1. Posting of an introduction.

Each person is expected to submit an introduction; this is due by Saturday, January 9. No work for the course will be counted until the introduction is posted.

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The purpose of the introduction is to help all students in the course get to know each other. Your professional experiences, where you live, your hobbies, information about your family, your favorite vacation experiences….all are welcome.

2. Participation in discussion groups.

Discussion groups consisting of not more than 5 students will be assigned. Each group will work collaboratively to cover the content of each module. To do so, each group will divide the readings for each module and then participate in an on-line discussion of the readings. This will function as an on-line "jigsaw" activity in which each group member provides summary information about their portion of the readings for their group mates. This summary should be posted in the discussion no later than noon of the first Wednesday of the module period. Each member of the group is expected to respond to this information by posing questions, raising issues, making relevant comments, etc.

A minimum of four substantial contributions is expected during each module period. To earn full credit (65 points) for this assignment more than the minimum is expected. (Four postings will not earn full points.)

Please note that comments such as, "That's a good idea," or "I agree" are certainly welcomed and valuable. However, they are not considered substantial; actual substantive participation in the discussion is required to meet the criterion of substantial.

It is helpful when responding to someone's posting to briefly comment on that post; this helps with the 'flow' of the discussion. So instead of beginning with, "I agree and want to add that….." it's much better to say, "I agree with Karen's post where she indicated that IEP forms can be abused. I think we should also consider that….."

Although formal writing is expected for the other assignments, informal writing is acceptable for the threaded discussions. However, please use proper grammar, punctuation, and complete sentences.



Module A

January 9 - 23*

1, 2, & 3

Module B

January 24 - 30


Module C

January 31 - February 6


Module D

February 7 - 20

6 & 7

Exam 1

February 19-20**

Exam 1

Module E

February 21- March 5***

9 & 12

Module F

March 15 - April 3

10, 11, & 13

Module G

April 4 - 17


Exam 2

April 19 - 20****

*Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday: January 18

** EXAM 1: February 19-20 (chapters 1 - 3, 5-8)

*** Spring Break: March 6 - 13

**** EXAM 2: Open Monday, April 19 - Tuesday, April 20 (chapters 9-14)

3. Exams

Two exams-each worth 50 points-will be given during the semester. Exam 1 will be available on-line February 19-20. Exam 2 will be available April 19 - 20. Each exam will consist of multiple choice and short answer items.

4. Resource Tool Box

Each student will compile a Resource Tool Box on a disability/exceptionality of your choice. You tool box must include the following:

Tool Box #1: 10 related Internet sites with a two-sentence description of each site. Include the web address. This is worth 10 points and must be submitted by January 30.

Tool Box #2: 5 suggested resources for teachers (ex: journals, curriculum kits, books, etc.). These should be tangible resources you could use in your classroom to plan instruction or to assess student progress. Include bibliographic information necessary to locate the sources. Do not include web sites in this section. This is worth 10 points and must be submitted by February 20.

Tool Box #3: 5 books related to the disability that are appropriate for elementary, middle, or secondary school age students. Also include a brief (2-3 sentences) description of the book and bibliographic information necessary to locate the book. This is worth 10 points and must be submitted by March 27.

Tool Box #4: 5 suggested strategies for teachers to use in teaching students with the disability. Please include information to access these resources. This is worth 10 points and must be submitted by April 17.

Tool Box entries will be submitted via links on the course site.

5. Media Notebook

Each student will complete a Media Notebook with 10 entries illustrating how individuals with disabilities are portrayed in the popular media. Media will include current (a) movies, (b) newspaper and magazine articles, (c) television and radio programs, and (d) advertisements. The notebook must contain at least one entry representing each of the four types of media as well as a final reflection and should follow the directions below.

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Print newspaper/magazine/advertisement: A link to the article or advertisement must be included. (If a link is not available, the article or advertisement must be scanned and submitted with the rest of the entry.) Briefly summarize the article. Follow your summary with a reflection discussing the article and your thoughts about the way persons with disabilities were portrayed. Also react to the content of the article or advertisement. Each of these entries should be 1 to 1.5 pages long (not including the copy of the article).

Movie, radio, advertisement, or television program: Include the title or other identifying information, a summary, and your reaction to the content. Include the date and time of the program. Discuss your thoughts about the way persons with disabilities were portrayed. Each of these entries should be 1 to 1.5 pages long.

Include a final reflection to the experience of this project. What did you learn? How would you summarize how the media portray individuals with exceptionalities? This reflection should be 1 to 1.5 pages long.

The 10 entries and the final reflection are worth 5 points each for a maximum of 55 points for the completed assignment.

Each entry in the notebook will be submitted individually via links on the course site. Due dates for each entry and the final reflection are listed below.

Due Date:

Due Date:

Entry 1:

January 16

Entry 6:

February 27

Entry 2:

January 23

Entry 7:

March 20

Entry 3:

January 30

Entry 8:

March 27

Entry 4:

February 6

Entry 9:

April 3

Entry 5:

February 13

Entry 10

April 10

Overall Reflection

April 17

Submission Problems

On rare occasions some assignments which have been submitted are not able to be read. Should that occur, you will be notified and asked to resubmit your assignment directly to your instructor as an email attachment. Do not submit assignments in this manner unless advised to do so by your instructor.

Course Calendar (Due dates are on Saturdays except Exam 2)

Note: The schedule is subject to change. If changes are made everyone will be notified by an announcement within the course site.

Jan. 5 - 9: Course introduction; contact reading group mates and divide readings for

your group

Jan. 9: Introduction due

Jan. 10 - 23: Module A: Chapters 1, 2 & 3

Jan. 16: Media Notebook Entry 1 due

Jan. 23: Media Notebook Entry 2 due

Jan. 24 - 30: Module B: Chapter 8

Jan. 30: Media Notebook Entry 3 due

Jan. 30: Tool Box #1 internet sites due

Jan. 31 - Feb. 6: Module C: Chapter 5

Feb. 7-20: Module D: Chapters 6 & 7

Feb.6: Media Notebook Entry 4 due

Feb.13: Media Notebook Entry 5 due

Feb. 20: Tool Box #2 Teacher Resources due

Feb. 19-20: Exam 1

Feb. 21 - Mar. 5: Module E: Chapters 9 & 12

Feb. 27: Media Notebook Entry 6 due

(Mar.6-13: UF Spring Break)

Mar. 15 - Apr. 3: Module F: Chapters 10, 11, & 13

Mar. 20: Media Notebook Entry 7 Due

Mar. 27: Media Notebook Entry 8 due

March 27: Tool Box #3 Books due

Apr. 3: Media Notebook Entry 9 due

Apr. 4 - 17: Module G: Chapter 14

Apr. 10: Media Notebook Entry 10

Apr. 17: Final Reflection due - Media Notebook

Apr. 17: Toolbox #4 Strategies due

Apr. 19-20: Exam 2 - Note this exam is open on a Monday and TuesdayAssignments by Month:



Assign Readings within group

Modules A & B

Media Notebook Entries 1,2,3

Toolbox #1


Exam 1

Modules C & D

Media Notebook Entries 4, 5 & 6

Toolbox #2


Modules E & F

Media Notebook Entries 7 & 8

Toolbox #3


Exam 2

Module G

Media Notebook Entries 9, 10 & Reflection

Toolbox # 4


This course has been designed to be accessible to all students. If you need any assistance due to a disability please inform your instructor immediately so that proper accommodations may be made.