Foundations of Special Education

Course Details

Course Number: SPED 4113 & 5613  Fall 2013

Location: Ferguson Hall

Classroom Number: 202

Days & Times:

Monday 5:30-8:20 p.m.

Course Attachments


Exceptional Children: An Introduction to Special E  ISBN: 978-0-13-262616-3

MSU Faculty Member
Emerald Collins   
view Profile »

Course Objectives


The candidate will meet the Special Education Standards required of all beginning Special Education Teachers of the Common Core Content Standards as described by the Council for Exceptional Children on the table below.    



The candidate will demonstrate the dispositions of dependability, sensitivity, and a commitment to becoming practitioners and leaders in the profession of education who practice within the CEC Code of Ethics.


CEC Code of Ethics

  • Maintaining a high level of professional competence and integrity and exercising professional judgment to benefit individuals with exceptionalities and their families.
  • Promoting meaningful and inclusive participation of individuals with exceptionalities in their schools and communities.
  • Practicing collegially with others who are providing services to individuals with exceptionalities.
  • Developing relationships with families based on mutual respect and actively involving families and individuals with exceptionalities in educational decision making.
  • Using evidence, instructional data, research and professional knowledge to inform practice.
  • Protecting and supporting the physical and psychological safety of individuals with exceptionalities.
  • Neither engaging in nor tolerating any practice that harms individuals with exceptionalities.
  • Practicing within the professional ethics, standards, and policies of CEC; upholding laws, regulations, and policies that influence professional practice; and advocating improvements in laws, regulations, and policies.
  • Advocating for professional conditions and resources that will improve learning outcomes of individuals with exceptionalities.
  • Engaging in the improvement of the profession through active participation in professional organizations.
  • Participating in the growth and dissemination of professional knowledge and skills.

Adopted by the CEC Board of Directors, January 2010

Course Expectations

Course Requirements


Advocacy/Service Learning   

Students will complete ten (10) hours of advocacy/service learning, to be divided among the following organizations: 1) Work Services, Inc. 2) Special Olympics 3) The Arc of Wichita County.  Students will not be allowed to accumulate all advocacy hours with a single organization. Students will write a one (1) page reflective paper about their experiences at each organization attended and be responsible for maintaining a time log sheet for turn in at the end of the semester.



Law Portfolio

Students will research the major research legislation and litigation pertaining to special education. As a result of their research, students will develop a law portfolio, summarizing in their own words, the significance and educational implications of each.  Ideally, students will use this portfolio as a resource in their future careers.


Video Reports (2)

Students will view two videos in which the subject (or significant character) is a person with disabilities.  Students will write a report highlighting the factors related to social/emotional, communicative, and environmental effects. Students will prepare one report for each video, and share with others in the class.



Graduate students will complete the following assignments in lieu of the service learning requirements completed by the undergraduate students.



  1. Graduate students will each create and present to the class a 30-minute multimedia lesson on a Current Issue in Special Education.  The presentation must include five scholarly references. The topic should be from those identified as significant current issues by CEC.


  1. Graduate students will create a 15-minute documentary on a disability that includes an interview of an adult with that disability and how the disability affected her/his life. 

Grading Standards

Grading for the Course:


Undergraduate  Assignments and Exams



Video Reports (2)                                                                    50

Law Portfolio                                                                          150

Advocacy Activities/Reflective Papers                                 100

Midterm Exam                                                                        100

Final Exam                                                                              100

Total                                                                                        500



Graduate students Assignments and Exams

Law Portfolio                                                                          150

Multimedia lesson on a Current Issue                                       50

Minidocumentary                                                                    100

Midterm Exam                                                                        100

Final Exam                                                                              100

Total                                                                                        500



500-450 = A

449-400 = B

399-350 = C

349- 300 = D

< 299 = F

Submission Format PolicyNote: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Plagiarism Policy Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception. Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters. We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student. We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed. Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

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 believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Attendance Policy


Upon your second absence from an undergraduate education course, your final grade will be lowered by one letter grade. Upon the third absence you will be dropped from the course and a Fitness Alert will be filed with the College of Education. In extreme circumstances (e.g. documented medical emergency), your continued participation the course will be determined in a scheduled meeting with your professor(s).


Issues identified on the Fitness Alert will result in the filing of such an alert with the college.



Other Policies

 Other Class Policies:  

Candidates are expected to be prepared for class by reading assigned material and being able to engage in meaningful discussion of content.


Assignments will not be accepted after the beginning of class on the date that they are due.  Students should complete written assignments well in advance of the due date so they do not have difficulties at the last moment that prevent them from submitting work on time.

There are no assignment options; therefore, all students are expected to complete all assignments. Failure to complete an assignment, even if you have sufficient points to attain the grade you are seeking, will result in a 10 % reduction in points for the overall course; therefore, be diligent and complete all assignments in an exemplary manner.

Writing Proficiency Requirement All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed English 1113 and English 1123 and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.