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ESE380 : Syllabus : Syllabus



ESE 380 Introduction to Exceptional Children

The mission of the Center for Excellence in Education at Northern Arizona University is to prepare education professionals to create the schools of tomorrow.


Center for Excellence in Education

Instructor: J'Anne Ellsworth, Psychology

Associate Professor in Educational Specialties

Course Credit: 3 hours

Address: Northern Arizona University, Box 5774, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011

Office: (Bldg 27), CEE Room 144

Phone: (928) 523-2951 (NAU) (928) 567-0899 (home)

Instructor: Martha Ellsworth, Community Counseling

Clinical Instructor in Educational Specialties

Address: Northern Arizona University, Box 5774, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011

Office: (Bldg 27), CEE Room 148

Phone: (928) 523-8742 (NAU) (928) 567-0899 (home)


Catalog Description: Philosophy and psychology of teaching exceptional children with an overview of educational practices

Course Structure: The format for this course is web based with textual readings, individual activities, on-line readings, group activities, and practical applications.

Course Description: This course meets one of the Arizona Department of Education requirements for special education certification. It is a basic overview/survey of all areas and categories of special education. The purpose is to provide an introduction to students with exceptionalities for those who have no background in special education.

Course Goals include:

A. To assist class members in the development of a personal perspective and acceptance of the importance of appropriate education for all children.

B. To provide an opportunity for open discussion and exchange of ideas.

C. To assist class members in acquiring factual information necessary for understanding the individual child and possible exceptionalities.

D. To broaden personal experiences with children and their challenges through web based instruction, including readings, essays, group interactions and class projects.

E. To familiarize class members with medical, social psychological, emotional and educational aspects of special education.

F. To broaden expertise in working in community since special education services are enhanced by those who build networks and can develop and utilize transdisciplinary teams for meeting federally mandated IEP programs and service provision.

Course Prerequisites: None


Course Objectives
AZ Standards
1. Discuss the major social, cultural, economic issues in special  
2.Demonstrate knowledge of IDEA 97, P.L. 105-17; the Arizona Revised Statutes (AZ-TAS), Title 15 A.C.R.R., R7-2-401 through R7-2-405; and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Standard 9.2
3.Analyze legal responsibilities of schools, parents and students. Standard 9.2
4.Demonstrate knowledge and an understanding of characteristics and etiologies of the ten identified mandated categories and other various conditions that affect provision of educational services.  
5.Demonstrate an understanding of normal child growth and development and the educational implications of possible deficits and deviations from age and stage norms. Standard 9.1
6.Demonstrate knowledge of the physical, nutritional, cultural and environmental factors related to learning problems. Standard 9.1
7. Demonstrate an understanding of the roles of parents with children who have disabilities.  
8.Demonstrate knowledge of history and philosophy of educating youth with special needs and identify cultural and ethnic issues related to education/special education.  
9.Demonstrate knowledge of the unique needs of culturally diverse, exceptional individuals and their families.  
10.Demonstrate knowledge of career and vocational education and employment of individuals with disabilities. Standard 9.1
11.Demonstrate knowledge of community and agency resources for serving persons with disabilities.  
12.Demonstrate knowledge of the history and philosophy of regular and special education.  
13.Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of current issues and trends in special education service delivery systems including the Regular Education Initiative and consultation/ collaboration model.  
14. Demonstrate respect and sensitivity toward all individuals.  
15.Demonstrate an awareness of the role of technology, including assistive technology, in the special education process. Standard 9.3


COURSE STRUCTURE: The format of the course will be web based, with a choice of three texts. Students may choose to be a part of a group through the university conference center (WebCT), by initiating and participating in a chat room, or dialogue with other class members with the Buddy or ICQ process.. Members may also meet in real time to develop strategies and competencies.

Students may work together to learn and perform activities and are expected to communicate and network at least once each week. In addition, students will converse with the instructor through web based communication. Tests and assignments will be conducted on-line.

COMPUTER SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: Success in a web course depends, in part, on the hard ware and software that is available to the participant. To make the process pleasurable, it is critical to take the course on a system that is reliable -- that has sufficient speed to load materials quickly, that does not "crash" or freeze intermittently, and through a net provider that is consistently accessible. Optimizing your system is crucial to a feeling of success.

The computer system will enhance the web course experience if it includes multimedia capability, a 28.8 baud modem, 16 megs of RAM (minimum), Netscape 3 or above or Internet Explorer 4+.

Readings and Materials

Required Textbooks: Choose one text, preferably based on your learning style inventory. To order this book on the web, you can click on , Barnes and Noble or . All necessary reading material is available on the web or in the text. There is a list of books and movies that add dimension to understanding the human condition. They should be available through libraries, the NAU Interlibrary loan or in video rental stores.

Linear Lou
Heward, W. L. (2000). Exceptional Children: An introduction to Special Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill. ISBN 0-13-012938-0
Pensive Pat

Smith, D. D. (2001). Introduction to Special Education: Teaching in an age of opportunity. (4th Ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon. ISBN 0-205-29222-4

Caring Kit
Turnbull, A., Turnbull, R, Shank, M, Smith, S. & Leal D. (2002). Exceptional lives: Special Education in today's schools. (3rd Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill. ISBN 0-13-030853-6
Busy BJ

Smith, D. D., & Tyler, N. C. (1998). Student Resource Manual for Introduction to Special Education: Teaching in an age of challenge. (3rd Ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon. ISBN 0-205-26798-X

or The Turnbull workbook and materials


EVALUATION AND GRADING: Exams will be available on the web from the beginning of the course and will be open note and open book. There are various projects assigned, based on the individual modules. Each module will provide a list of competencies, assignments, readings and evaluations. These exercises will provide practice in target skills for this class. The material offers participants the opportunity to sculpt the class to individual needs and taste. A personalized syllabus can be developed that tailors the class to personal learning style, age and grade interest and perceived areas that need to be augmented. All assignments will be graded on a mastery basis.

Final grades will be assigned based on completed assignments. Letter grades will be assigned, however, ALL course competencies must be addressed successfully to receive a passing grade. In addition students who receive an A must accomplish some extra credit project (of their choice). This is one way the student shows s/he has accepted personal responsibility for the course.


A All assignments completed and graded as excellent (including assignment for an A)
B Mixture of excellent and good grades on assignments
F Failure to turn in any contractual assignment


Course Policy This class will underscore personal responsibility for education. It will also work on Bloom's Mastery Learning model, by which it will be expected that all students will provide evidence of sufficient mastery of the material. If it were not important for students to thoroughly understand the information it would not be a required course. Students who do poorly on assignments will be expected to redo assignments and relearn materials until a satisfactory grasp of the materials exists. Thus, it follows, that a student with the capability to become or continue as an educator will finish the course with at least a B.

Typically, each credit hour is worth 1000 points, so an A in the course would mean completing 3000 points worth of assignments and showing competency level in the 15 objectives for the course. In addition, the student will fulfill a contract to accomplish a personal project or service activity. Only one extra assignment is needed per class, not per module. This project is negotiable, but might be something like:

Read an additional text or materials

Volunteer and work with a youngster with disabilities

Work as a big brother or sister with a youth who is at-risk

Help with service organizations, such as Special Olympics, Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts

Write and publish insights from the class - for example an "in house" news letter

Attend educational forums or programs View media specials on discipline and management Read and report on management in education issues, discipline plans, etc.

Please remember: In order to receive an A, students must contract to become personally involved in the educational process, "going the second mile" so to speak, in showing motivation and interest in being a self-sustained learner. Only one extra assignment is needed, regardless of the credit hours taken.

Attendance: Continuity is important in a web course. Therefore, all students will be expected to maintain at least weekly web contact. The course is meant to be asynchronous, so in the event of a protracted absence, please contact the instructor or to keep her informed. After all, this material suggests that teacher student relationships are invaluable, and the instructor wishes to extend that community building, even in an external learning environment. Under ordinary circumstances, three hour courses can be completed within a fifteen week period, although faster or slower progress is expected and welcomed.

Additional Information: Plagiarism or any other form of cheating cannot be tolerated. Any student participating in such activities may expect to receive an F. Assignments submitted to fulfill requirements in another class may not be submitted to fulfill the requirements of this class without prior instructor approval.

Group participation is also required since collaboration and community building are an integral part of success classroom management. Plan to visit the WebCT early in the class Working together is encouraged. Working together on assignments is seen as collaboration and networking and is quite acceptable. It will be necessary for you to do exemplary work if you are working in a group. If you are about to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable or that sets up some feeling of discomfort - be safe and discuss it with the instructor. This is a course where "YES" is taught and modeled, so there is a good chance that the things you want to do will be valued.


There are assignments that are subjective and are about your own experiences. These can not be done as a group. These are easy to discern because they ask about you and how you feel and the ways you are thinking.

Assignment failure = Class Failure Reward yourself for hard work and find ways to be excited about learning.

Recommended Due Dates The following list provides a week by week rundown.


Buy Book

Read Syllabus

Read FAQs

Establish Learning Style and Persona

Browse through the entire course and print out helpful material

Buy materials to set up files on ten categories

IF you do not know how to use the web, consider spending time in the NAU Web Boot Camp to build web and Internet expertise.

Caring Kit: Begin Reading book. Read One Chapter Write First Summary

Linear Lou: Read One Chapter in Book Write First Summary

Pensive Pat: Read One Chapter in Book Write First Summary

Busy BJ: Read and Print Out 10 Category Secret Files, Complete First Summary

All Personas Review Module Six


Caring Kit: Read Three Chapters Write Three Summaries

Linear Lou: Read Three Chapters in Book Write Three Summaries

Pensive Pat: Read Three Chapters in Book Write Three Summaries

Busy BJ: Read and Print Out 10 Category Secret Files, Complete Three Summaries

All Personas Watch one movie or read one book and critique in Module Six



Caring Kit: Read Three Chapters Write Three Summaries

Linear Lou: Read Three Chapters in Book Write Three Summaries

Pensive Pat: Read Three Chapters in Book Write Three Summaries

Busy BJ: Read and Print Out 10 Category Secret Files, Complete Three Summaries

All Personas: Do First Essay Module One

All Personas Watch Second movie or book and critique in Module Six


Hate web courses and not able to learn using the computer? Contact the teacher by phone or email and let's set up a contingency rather than losing the course or credit - failing or losing face!!! Still time to withdraw -----.

Caring Kit: Read Three Chapters Write Three Summaries

Linear Lou: Read Three Chapters in Book Write Three Summaries

Pensive Pat: Read Three Chapters in Book Write Three Summaries

Busy BJ: Read and Print Out 10 Category Secret Files, Complete Three Summaries

All Personas: Do Second Essay Module One

All Personas Watch Third movie or book and critique in Module Six



Caring Kit: Finish Module One Begin Reviewing Module Two

Linear Lou: Finish Module One Begin Reviewing Module Two

Pensive Pat: Finish Module One Begin Reviewing Module Two

Busy BJ: Finish Module One Begin Reviewing Module Two




Caring Kit: Finish Module Two

Linear Lou: Finish Module Two

Pensive Pat: Finish Module Two

Busy BJ: Finish Module Two


Caring Kit: Begin Reviewing Module Three

Linear Lou: Begin Reviewing Module Three

Pensive Pat: Begin Reviewing Module Three

Busy BJ: Begin Reviewing Module Three


Caring Kit: Finish Module Three

Linear Lou: Finish Module Three

Pensive Pat: Finish Module Three

Busy BJ: Finish Module Three


Caring Kit: CompleteModule Four

Linear Lou: Complete Module Four

Pensive Pat: Complete Module Four

Busy BJ: Complete Module Four


Caring Kit: Complete Module Five

Linear Lou: Complete Module Five

Pensive Pat: Complete Module Five

Busy BJ: Complete Module Five

All personas ensure that all assignments are complete and turned in. Turn in any assignments that had to be redone. Do course assessments.


Course must be completed by week ten


Course must be completed by week ten


Course must be completed by week ten


Course must be completed by week ten


Course must be completed by week ten

If you want to see all the assignments at a glance, click here. You may want to print the list and keep track of your submissions.


Once you have finished you should:

Go back to Introduction to Exceptional Children

E-mail J'Anne at or Martha at

Course developed by J'Anne and Martha Ellsworth


Copyright © 1999 Northern Arizona University