SPED 310 - Exceptional Students


To enroll in this course, you must be declared as one of the following majors:

Dependent on your major you will need a C- or better in one of the following courses.


This course will emphasize the types and developmental patterns of specific exceptionalities (including giftedness and poverty), addressing risk factors, etiology, characteristics, and classifications of common disabilities. Focus will also be on legal issues, parent/student rights, responsibilities of teachers, both general education and special education, quality teaching for ALL students, including intervention strategies, accommodations, and the use of community resources to meet children's individual needs. Child maltreatment, including legal requirements, is introduced.

Required Materials

Including Students with Special Needs. A Practical Guide for Classroom Teachers, 7th Edition, Marilyn Friend and William D. Bursuck. ISBN 13# 978- 0133569940

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Technology Skills Needed

As a student, you will need to have skills to be able to create a blog page, use software to develop cognitive maps, and be able to video/audio chat with peers.


This course utilizes collaboration and group work for an extensive part of the assignments. There can be 1-3 assignments per week that will be group based. This course is not set up to be an independent study, where you can work at your own pace. There will be assignment deadlines. Group work is part of the outcomes to prepare you for your future career in education.


By the end of the semester or sooner, each student will demonstrate:

  1. Explain the history, philosophy, and laws related to the education of children with exceptionalities.
  2. Explain the learning characteristics, etiology, eligibility criteria, recommended educational practices, adaptive technology, and prevalence of each IDEA disability category and educational exceptionality.
  3. Explain the six principles of disability law and the benefits of an inclusive learning environment.
  4. Advocate for the needs of exceptional students and their families and teach them to self-advocate.
  5. Apply the process and components related to the development of an IFSP and IEP.
  6. Design and implement universally designed and differentiated instruction to the individual needs of diverse learners, based on assessment data.
  7. Develop and teach instruction using the principles and models of co-teaching and explain their attendant benefits to others.

Course Expectations

Professionalism in attitude, behavior, and communication should be a part of every teacher education course. In this class it is expected that you will:

Course Questions/Problems/Concerns

This course has a “Questions and Conversations” page in each lesson. Use this discussion board to ask questions, post answers, or report problems in the course such as broken links and missing information. Check back periodically to see if your question or concern has been resolved.

Using this board will inform the instructor, class members, and others monitoring the course of the issues you find, and will allow the proper people to correct them for everyone. Please use this board. If you are experiencing the same problem as another student who has posted, post as well with a response post so others know the seriousness of the problem. If you know the answer to a problem, please post solutions. Helping to solve your classmates’ problems is another way to teach one another.

Note: Email your instructor directly if the problem is of a personal nature or your instructor informs you that is the way he/she would like to be made aware of questions, problems, or concerns.

Teacher Assistant Policy

There is a TA for this course. They will be posting on the Questions and Answers Board regularly, answering any questions or concerns that you will have. They will also assist in grading your assignments so you can contact them with questions about your feedback. Feel free to contact them. They will post or email their contact information.

Group Work

This course, is intended to prepare you to begin your career as a capable, professional person who is ready to make an impact in the lives of those you will work with. An essential skill for all educators, and for special educators in particular, is the ability to work effectively in councils and committees.

This course has been deliberately designed to provide you with weekly opportunities to hone your skills as effective council and committee members. Though the nature of the assignments you complete together as a group will vary somewhat from lesson to lesson, the purpose and objective will remain constant - to prepare you for the opportunities and responsibilities that await you in the field of education. Technological and other logistical challenges may arise as you work with your group throughout the semester. You are expected to search for solutions together as a team, and to reach out for help from the TA or instructor when necessary. Your attitude and approach to the group activities in this course will be a key indicator of your overall success.

Because group and council work is such an integral component of the course, each and every student is expected to participate as an equal in their groups. Those who do not work and communicate well with their councils will fall short of achieving many of the outcomes and expectations listed in this syllabus. Grades on group assignments will reflect the quality of an individual's contribution to their group success. Group members who do not participate will receive a score of 0 for the assignment that they missed. People will be depending on you daily as an educator. Form the habit now of following through on the commitments that you make in your councils.

The course is organized into 14 one-week lessons. In Lesson 01, you will complete the Course Introduction activities to help orient you to the course and give you time to practice using the online tools. Lesson 14 will allow you to sum up your learning experience and reflect on both what you have learned, and what you have become through your efforts throughout the semester.

Even though this course is online, it is not an independent study course. In fact, discussion with classmates is a key component of this course. You will be expected to form opinions that can be supported with textual evidence and work together in order to better learn the course material. In order to do well, you should expect to spend 3-4 hours weekly for every credit earned. Therefore, you will need to be able to commit 9-12 hours each week to this course. If you are unable to commit to the time demands this semester, please consider taking the class some other time when you can devote the necessary time to completing the workload.

As you interact with others in various assignments, please remember to be kind, considerate, and respectful of differing viewpoints. You can differ in opinions (sometimes the best learning comes when others challenge your thinking) but still be civil. Any violation of basic common courtesy—including interaction with the instructor—will negatively impact your grade.

Lesson Organization

Under each of these organizers will be activities you will need to complete each week:

Grading Policies


93% - 100%


74% - 76%

​A -

90% - 92%

C -

70% - 73%


87% - 89%


67% - 69%


84% - 86%


64% - 66%

B -

80% - 83%

D -

60% - 63%

C +

77% - 79%


Below 60%


The instructor reserves the right to change any part of this syllabus at any time during the semester in order to adapt to changing course needs. You will be notified of any changes that may take place.