1 Instructor: SYLLABUS EDU 541:Foundations of Special Education Online Course located at https://test.blackboard.american.edu/ Summer 2010 Sarah Irvine Belson Office: American University, Gray Hall 120 Phone: 202/ Google Chat: drsarah Office Hours: Wednesdays 5 to 7 pm (online) Other times by appointment Catalog Description: An introductory course to expose students to a variety of disabling conditions and to teach about the experiences of children and adults with exceptionalities. Students will learn to design instructional programs for success by building on the abilities, strengths, and interests of disabled students. Students will develop data based decision making skills for transforming academic material into hands on activities and exercises to teach socialization and life skills with a focus on using technology to support the teaching and learning process. Course Prerequisites, if any: None. Required texts and other readings, to include publication dates: Reference Book (optional) Irvine Belson, S. (2003) Technology for Exceptional Learners Houghton Mifflin: Boston, MA. Source Book (required) Tomlinson, C. A. (2001). How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed Ability Classrooms (2 nd ed). Alexandra, VA: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development. Novels you will write about 4 of the following (select four of the following): 1. Buck, P S. (1992) The Child Who Never Grew. Woodbine House. 2. Robison, J.E. (2008) Look me in the Eye: My Life with Aspergers. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press. 3. Smith, Sally. (1995) No Easy Answers: The Learning Disabled Child at Home and at School. Bantam. 4. Fox, M.J. (2009) Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist Hyperion Books.
2 EDU 541: Summer 2010 syllabus page 2 5. Redfield Jaminson, K. (1996). An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness. First Vintage Books. 6. Haddon, M. (2004). The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. Vintage. Course Objectives: Students enrolled in Foundation of Special Education for Exceptional Children will master the following objectives: 1. Educational and Technical Foundation 1.1 Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of the history and philosophy of Special Education 1.2 Identifies major issues in U.S. education and special education and the historical, social, cultural, economic, and philosophical bases. 1.3 Demonstrates knowledge of the legal responsibilities of schools, parents, teachers and students with regard to special education. 1.4 Demonstrates basic knowledge and understanding of the characteristics of various exceptionalities including: Learning Disabilities Emotional or Behavioral Disorders Communication Disorders Hearing Impairments Visual Impairments Physical and Health Disorders Giftedness and Talents Multiculturalism/Bilingualism 1.5 Demonstrates basic knowledge and an understanding of the role of the family in relationship to the development of the child. 1.6 Identify variations in beliefs, traditions, and values from across cultures within society and their effects on children, families, and school practices. 1.7 Identify knowledge and skills related to integrating technology into the teaching and learning process for students with exceptionalities. 2. Identification, evaluation, and placement process 2.1 Demonstrates skill needed to identify and refer students for screening who may be in need of special services. 2.2 Demonstrates skills needed to effectively collaborate and monitor student who may be in an inclusion, or mainstreamed, program 2.3 Discuss the role of technology and other tools in the evaluation process, for ongoing assessment, and to monitor students 2.4 Discuss the role of the special education teacher, classroom teacher, other educational specialists, students, administrators and parents in conferences including multidisciplinary conferences, individualized education plan (IEP) meetings, and placement conferences.
3 EDU 541: Summer 2010 syllabus page 3 3. Professional development and responsibilities 3.1 Express a personal philosophy of special education, particularly in terms of the relationship with regular education. 3.2 Demonstrates respect for the worth and uniqueness of all individuals, and shows sensitivity to the needs of others. 3.3 Identify variations in beliefs, traditions, and values from across cultures within society and their effects on children, families, and school practices. 3.4 Demonstrates the ability to locate and share professional materials and ideas. 3.5 Demonstrates an understanding of expectations and values held by peers, fellow students, paraprofessionals, parents, etc., regarding the purpose of special education for handicapped individuals. 3.6 Demonstrates a positive attitude toward teaching exceptional children and learning about education for exceptional children. ASSIGNMENTS The coursework consists of three parts: I. Tying the textbook and required readings together through a series of course forums. II. III. Writing a series of critical analysis papers with regard to novels and narratives you will be reading in the course. Wikipedian Assignments, creating your own content and adding to your peers content. These three parts are described in order below. I. PARTICIPATION IN COURSE FORUMS (75 POINTS) You are expected to attend (in the form of signing on to) class and participate in the discussions. Each week, it is critical that you read the pertinent readings which will prepare you for our discussions. Your participation in the forum requires you to build on the knowledge in the readings. Attendance policy: If you miss more than two class discussions, your grade will decrease by one letter grade (i.e.: from a "B " to a "C "). If you miss more than four class meetings, your grade will decrease by two letter grades. If you miss more than six class meetings, you will receive a grade of "F" in the course. No exceptions to the attendance policy will be made. Each week, we will participate in a weekly forum discussing current issues in special education. Participation in this forum is critical to attaining goals and objectives for the course. Students are expected to participate actively in those discussions, and provide meaningful and informed contributions into the topic under discussion. Your participation in each forum is worth up to 15 points. These points will be assigned based on your degree of participation in the forum, your
4 EDU 541: Summer 2010 syllabus page 4 ability to convey that you have read the assigned readings, and how you connect the topic and readings to principles of special education and equality in teaching. (15 points per discussion x 5 forums = 75 points). There will also be a series of Wimba presentations that will take place on Monday evenings that you can join virtually at 5:30pm on Mondays or watch at a later point (there will be an archive that you can download in MP3 or MP4 format). More information will be posted about these presentation on the Blackboard site. II. Book Talk Assignment: Critical Analyses Papers (200 POINTS) The course will require you to read a series of text about exceptionality and reflect on them within the context of the course. There are a total of five books that you will read, the first of which is by Tomlinson entitled How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed Ability Classrooms will serve as a "source text" for developing a set of thoughts related to access to education for underrepresented groups. You will then read four of the five novels listed on the front page of this syllabus, each about a person with an exceptionality. Based on the source text, you will write a reaction paper that describes the main character of the text, his or her learning opportunities and challenges to accessing a quality education, and how you would incorporate him or her into your own classroom using the differentiation tools described by Tomlinson. For example, you should look at how Carol, Pearl Buck s daughter, could be included in a general classroom and describe what types of differentiation you could do for her. How, as her teacher, would you use appropriate instructional methodologies to include Pearl in your classroom? You will write a total of four of these papers, each worth 50 points. The due dates for each paper are listed below in the course schedule, but you may submit any paper early. You will likely be asking, How long should these papers be? An average of 3 double spaced pages should do it. III. Wikipedian Assignments (175 points) You will be adding content to the main wiki areas of the course with this final assignment. For any two of the conditions listed under exceptionalities, you will have the option to add your own "content". Then you will build on other s work and reflection. The wikipedian assignments have two components: 1. For the first component, you should select an article, scholarly or newsworthy, to add to the descriptions of two of the conditions to support your own thoughts on any of the information currently posted on the wiki. You will 1) create a NEW Page with a unique title that includes your name (such as Smith: Thoughts on Inclusion for Students who
5 EDU 541: Summer 2010 syllabus page 5 are Blind ), 2) discuss the reading or article you found, and then 3) outline what teachers should know how you think this information contributes to classroom practice. For example, you might find a newspaper article on ADHD that discusses a new alternative treatment, and you can add this to the wiki pages about emotional and behavioral disorders, and share how teachers might need to be aware of this new treatment and its effect on children. Or you might read something about the achievements of a person with a visual impairment, and add this to the section about blindness by describing what we might keep in mind as we think about the self esteem of children who are visually impaired. Or you might read a scholarly article about inclusion and mainstreaming, and add this to any of the sections and discuss the debate about inclusion of those children into regular classrooms. Once you have created your NEW Page, you then need to edit the main wiki page for that condition, and add a link to your article where you think it might be appropriate. My goal is for each student to add content to the site where it's appropriate. All new pages must be created by May 24th. You will post articles about two different exceptionalities (LD, CD, DD, etc). There are a total of 2 postings worth 50 points each. 2. For the second component, you will add content to or edit pages created by your peers. You will 1) edit an EXISTING page that has been added by one of your peers and 2) add new information or perspective. For example, if Cindy posted the page titled Thoughts on Inclusion for Students who are Blind, Robert would carefully read and consider what Cindy posted, and then add to or alter what she has included. All edits and additions must be completed by June 20th. You will edit any 3 pages that your peers have added under the exceptionalities section, so a total of 3 postings, worth 25 points each. In summary, for the Wikipedian Assignments, you will add 2 new pages and edit or add to 3 other pages in total.
6 EDU 541: Summer 2010 syllabus page 6 Schedule for Completing Course Assignments No Later than Topic and Activity Monday May 10 at 5:30: Wimba Presentation 1 An Introduction to Issues in Special Education Assignments May 17 Monday at 5:30: Wimba Presentation 2 Introduction to Learning Disabilities Emotional and Behavioral Disorders May 24 Monday at 5:30: Wimba Presentation 3 Communication Disorders Enroll in the site, create your profile. Course Forum 1 Course Forum 2 First Critical Analysis Paper All new Wikipedian Assignment pages created May 31 Monday at 5:30: Wimba Presentation 4 Developmental Delays and Autism Spectrum Disorders June 7 Monday at 5:30: Wimba Presentation 5 Visual and Hearing Impairments June 14 Monday at 5:30: Wimba Presentation 6 Equity Issues in Special Education Course Forum 3 Second Critical Analysis Paper Course Forum 4 Third Critical Analysis Paper Course Forum 5 All edits and additions to Wikipedian Assignments due June 21 Issues for Professional Educators: Parental and community Involvement in Special Education Final Critical Analysis Paper Assessment of Performance Achievement of course objectives will be measured through the instructor s evaluation of student participation in class discussion, in class assignments, written assignments, and projects. Specific requirements and evaluation procedures are detailed above. Late Assignments Late assignments will not be accepted, due to the intense nature of the condensed summer, online course. Evaluation Percent of Total Points available (450) will be used to determine the class grade as follows:
7 EDU 541: Summer 2010 syllabus page % A 86 82% B 74 71% C 93 90% A 81 78% B 70 67% D 89 87% B % C+ 66% and below F Information about the at American University Philosophy of the School of Education, Teaching & Health The faculty of the School are committed to excellence in advancing educational theory and practice through the initial and continuing development of reflective, dedicated and proficient teachers, administrators and researchers. Graduates are equipped to meet individual needs, to nurture the strengths and talents of those individuals, and to initiate and provide leadership in classrooms, educational institutions, and in the public policy arena. The mission of the SOE is derived from the faculty's shared conviction that the fundamental task of schooling in America is the advancement of the welfare of children. The faculty of the School of Education wants our teacher education programs to be known for preparing effective teachers who understand and model a commitment to excellence, equity, community and diversity. The School of Education, Teaching & Health faculty and staff are committed to celebrating diversity and building a community of learners. As we work in collaboration in and out of the classroom: We believe that respecting each other's differences and opinions leads to a positive and open environment, We believe that open discourse promotes reflective and thoughtful educators, We believe that equitable treatment of each other is necessary for a positive, sustained, and working community, and We believe that each and every member of the community can make a valuable contribution to the community. These beliefs in action provide for all students, staff, and faculty a safe, productive, and positive educational community. General Information for School of Education Courses Information about the University There are three University publications you will need to refer to for various academic issues: The University Catalog, The Academic Regulations, 2001 (Eighteenth Edition)
8 The Student Handbook, EDU 541: Summer 2010 syllabus page 8 Incomplete Grades [Regulations, p. 21] Faculty members must approve student requests for an incomplete grade, and must do so before the end of the semester. Students must complete and submit an Incomplete Contract Form to the faculty member. Academic Integrity Code [Regulations, pp ] Students are expected to conform to the regulations of the University in regard to academic integrity, especially in regard to plagiarism, inappropriate collaboration, dishonesty in examinations, dishonesty in papers, work for one course and submitted to another, deliberate falsification of data, interference with other students' work, and copyright violation. If you do not feel comfortable with your understandings of Academic Integrity, read up on it at Note that ignorance of the code is not innocence, and you will be held to the highest of standards. Services for Students with Disabilities [Handbook, pp ] Appropriate modifications to academic requirements may be necessary on a case by case basis to ensure educational opportunity for students with disabilities, and individual faculty members may need to modify specific course requirements to permit equal participation by students with disabilities. Protection of Human Subjects Catalog, pp Any research involving interviewing, surveying, or observing human beings is subject to review and approval by the University Institutional Review Board (IRB). In the School of Education, the teaching unit liaison to the IRB is Professors Sarah Irvine Belson and/or Fred Jacobs and inquiries about policies and procedures may be directed to either of them. Using Appropriate Documentation Formats The School of Education permits the use of two formats for research citations, footnotes, list of references, and layout, and all written work must adhere to those guidelines: OR Chicago: The University of Chicago Press 1982 Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Fifth Edition Failure to use the format selected appropriately and accurately will result in a grade penalty. Attention students in all graduate degree programs
9 Comprehensive Examinations [Regulations, p. 72] EDU 541: Summer 2010 syllabus page 9 All students in master's and doctoral programs must satisfactorily complete one or more comprehensive examinations. In the School of Education, written comprehensive exams consist of a series of one or two hour essay responses based on the contents of the entire program, with the content of specific courses included in the comprehensive exam cumulatively. In the MA in Specialized Studies program, a project may be substituted for a comprehensive examination, with the permission of the Program Director and Dean.