Individuals with Disabilities in Society

Michelle Dean, Ph.D.

Office: Madera 2602

Phone: 805-437-3735



Office hours: 10:00am -12:00 pm on Tuesdays or by appointment

I will make every effort to ensure that your experience in Individuals in Society is meaningful and pertinent to your everyday life. In return, please take the time to read this syllabus carefully and contact me right away if you have any questions or concerns. I will respond to emails within 24 hours during business hours on Monday through Friday. I am slower on the weekends. If I do not respond to your message within 24 hours assume I did not get your email.


Course Philosophy

Some online courses are isolating and independent learning experiences. That is not the case in this course. In this course you should be prepared to interact with your classmates via text, voice and video. You should be prepared to share your learning and personal experiences with and about disabilities. This class is designed to have you learn in community with your peers. Therefore, each of you must make the commitment to approach our online class with a great attitude and a willingness to help each other.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

1. Describe variations in children from developmental, educational, and psychological perspectives.

2. Differentiate characteristics of children in the major categories of disabilities and gifted and talented.

3. State the federal laws pertaining to the education of exceptional populations.

4. Describe the general education, special education and support personnel roles and responsibilities in the educational process (from identification, referral, assessment, IEP planning and meeting, instruction and evaluation) (Assess a students learning and language abilities for referral to special education and gifted and talented programs.

5. Find information about disabilities and evaluate the quality of sources.


How this class works

  • This is a fully online learning experience, comprised of 1 week-long learning modules.
  • Every module starts on Tuesday and finishes on Monday. In every learning module, you will have assignments due on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Monday.
  • Each module contains online content and activities (interactions with me and your peers) that you will complete asynchronously (on your own time) between the module's start and end dates.

How to Get Started

  • To access the class, log into your MyCI account and locate the class in your MyCourse list.
  • On or before the first day of the class, click on the name of the course to log-in
  • Once you are in the course, review the current Announcements and then click on the "Start Here" button in the left-hand Course Menu.

Necessary Materials

In order to be successful in this online class you will need:

  • A computer with a microphone and a webcam. Please let me know if this presents a hardship and we will discuss options.
  • Regular access to reliable, high speed internet access on a computer. You will be able to access some, but not all of the course content on a mobile device.
  • All viewing materials will be available through CI Learn.

Learner Expectations

  • Log-in on the first day of each learning module, review due dates for the module and schedule one's study time to ensure due dates are met.
  • Interact with peers and course instructor in asynchronous conversations that will involve written exchanges, as well as voice and video communications.
  • Have regular access to a reliable, high speed internet connection through the duration of this class.


Due to this being an online course, communication is extremely important. Please treat all course communication as professional communication. Address your emails appropriately, check your spelling, use correct grammar and sign your name. When posting the discussion boards or commenting on others writing, grammar and a professional tone are expected.

Activities and Assignments

In this course you will complete a series of activities based on the themes of the course. All activities are graded.


Theme 1: History and Law (7/5/2016-7/11/2016)
Theme 2: Intellectual Disability, Specific Learning Disability & Communication Disorders (7/12/2016-7/18/2016)
Theme 3: Autism, Emotional Disturbance, & Other Health Impairment (7/19/2016-7/25/2016)
Theme 4: Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Vision Impairment, Physical & Multiple disabilities (7/26/2016-8/1/2016)

Theme 5: Final (8/2/2016-8/8/2016)

Theme To Do List

These three items must be completed for each of the themes in the course.

  • Review all theme content
  • Participate in Voicethread Conversations and complete all theme activities by the due date.
  • Complete wrap up writing tasks at the end of each theme.

Course Requirements
Voice Thread Conversations: 40 points (10 points each, 1 per module)
Module Activities: 50 points (10 point each- Two in Module 1 and one in each of the remaining modules)
Wrap-Up Writing Tasks: 40 points (10 points each, 1 per module)
Identification of Interview Subject: 5 points
Annotated Bibliography: 20 points
Interview Questions and Collaboration: 25 points
Interview and Transcription: 20 points
Analysis of Transcriptions: 20 points
Ask & Answer Forum: 5 points
Final Presentation/Final Comments: 35 points
Total 250 points


Course Assignments

Course Assignments/Expectations

Class Participation

Students are expected to participate in each learning module.

For successful participation, students are expected to read/view each module posting, be prepared for each session, and participate actively in class activities and asynchronous discussions. Regular and substantive contributions define class participation.

Voice Thread Conversations (40 points)

In each module, a VoiceThread will be presented with a topic to be discussed. Students will respond to the prompt by the due date and then comment on at least two classmates' posts by the end of the module.

Module Activities (50 points)

In each module (with the exception of the final presentation module) a module activity will be presented that provides more insight into the topic being discussed. Directions for each activity and related materials will be presented in the modules.

Wrap-Up Writing Task (40 points; 10 points per paper)

Four 1-page double-spaced papers will be due throughout the course. There will be an assigned writing task due for each of the four (4) learning modules. Students will write a brief paper on the presented prompt that incorporate knowledge gained from the reaction to the lectures and activities completed during the module. A rubric for grading and an example are posted in the “Grading Guidelines" and "Samples" sections of the course website.

Collaborative Group Project (120 points total)

Children with disabilities have a team of adults that work together to design education plans and to help to promote optimal development. For example, parents collaborate with school personnel, and teachers work with related service providers. Each parent or professional has his or her own experiences and expertise. Successful teams benefit from various points of view, working together, listening to each other, and maintaining open lines of communication. Less successful teams are unbalanced—with one person taking more responsibility than others, or have difficulties with listening, communicating and respecting different opinions. Collaboration is an invaluable skill which requires practice. Students will be assigned to groups in the second learning module based on their disability of interest. Throughout the term, groups will move through a series of assignments that will ultimately culminate into one final project. Please be prepared to work in a group. This is a large part of this class experience.

Students will interview a parent/sibling/educator of a person with a disability, and compare and contrast the experiences of their interviewee to the experiences of people who were interviewed by fellow group members. First, students will identify a person to interview. Second, students will find research articles about the disability to be discussed with the interviewee (e.g., if you are interviewing a parent of a child with learning disabilities, you will research learning disabilities). Students will create an annotated bibliography which will be shared with the group. Third, group members will create interview questions based on the research collected by the group. Forth, students will complete their interview, and share the results of their interview with their group. Fifth, group members will analyze the transcriptions and identify similarities and differences that were identified. All of this work will culminate in a final presentation that will be submitted in the final module. Students may work in collaboration with fellow group members, or may choose to work independently on the final project.

Individual Assignments

1. Identification of Interviewee and Subject (5 points)

Students will select a person to interview for the final project. The interviewee can be a parent, teacher, sibling, etc. of a person with a disability. They may also interview a person with a disability directly. Directions for submission are presented in the first module.

2. Annotated Bibliography (20 points)

After identifying the person they plan to interview, students will read and review a professional journal article in reference to the disability that will be discussed with the interviewee. Students will prepare an annotated bibliography that will be shared with assigned groups. Group members should choose different articles—no two group members should create an annotated bibliography for the same article. Your annotated bibliography should be no more than two (2) double-spaced pages. Each bibliography should contain an APA formatted reference and the annotation for that particular journal article. The articles should be contemporary, that is, published during the last five years. An annotation is a summary of an article. A rubric for grading and an example are posting in the “Grading Guidelines/Samples” sections of the course website. Please refer to the many examples of various APA citations in the text and journal articles selected for guidance as to writing an APA citation. Each annotation should be about ¾ to 1 page in length. A format will be provided.

3. Individual Interview Questions (20 points)

Individually, students will create interview questions that will ultimately be used to create the interview protocol that will be used by all group members. At least two (2) of the interview questions will come from the annotated bibliographies. The group will determine (see group assignments) which questions will be used in the protocol.

4. Interview and Transcription (20 points)Students will interview a parent/sibling/educator/related service provider of a person with a disability using the questions created by the assigned group. Interviews will be conducted by phone or in person. Email interviews will not be accepted. Interviewees should be granted time to elaborate beyond the scope of the questions if they would like to share more. Students will take notes during the interview and type answers to questions when the interview is complete. The students will post their type-written interview notes on Blackboard. A rubric will be provided.

5. Analysis of Transcriptions (20 points)

Students will read the transcriptions of their group mates and determine no less than four (4) themes that cross most or all of the interviews. Each theme will be presented with corresponding quotes taken from each transcription.

Group Assignments

Collaboration for Creation of Final Interview Protocol (5 points)

Groups will create 10-15 interview questions that will be used as a standardized template for individual interviews. Interview questions will be open-ended, and formed based on issues described in assigned readings, class discussions, and annotated bibliographies. Questions will include, but are not limited to, asking about the child’s educational placement and services that he or she receives, family/school relationships, strengths and challenges of accessing services, and about cultural perceptions about disabilities.

Final Presentation (30 points)

Groups or individuals will prepare a presentation for the class to be submitted to the instructor. Final presentations will include the interview questions (and the research supporting the questions), the similarities and differences identified among interviewees, themes, and recommended future directions including high quality sources of information or resources (including, but not limited to websites and internet resources, access to services, parent training etc.). A rubric will be provided.

Course Policies

Late Assignment: Late assignments will not be accepted without prior approval from the instructor. Theme activities and and culminating assessments must be submitted on the due date. All assignments are due by 11:59pm on the due date. The blackboard system is constructed so that submissions will close at midnight, and you will not be able to submit past the deadline.

Technical Support: If you run into technical problems in this course, you should do the following:

  • Try a different browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari or Chrome)
  • Shut down and restart your computer
  • Contact the University Help desk or 805-437-8552

Academic Dishonesty: This course will adhere to the CSU Channel Islands Academic Dishonesty policy.

Inform your Instructor of Any Accommodations

Inform your Instructor of Any Accommodations

Cal State Channel Islands is committed to equal educational opportunities for qualified students with disabilities in compliance with Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. The purpose of Disability Resource Program is to assist students with disabilities to realize their academic and personal potential. Students with disabilities needing accommodation are required to contact the Disability Program office at (805) 437-3331. All requests for accommodations need appropriate advance notice by the student to avoid a delay in services. Please discuss approved accommodations with faculty.


In our preparation of professional educators, we have given extensive consideration to the alignment of professional standards and assessments as articulated by professional associations, certification agencies and learned societies. In particular, this course aligns with standards established by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC).

1. Through assignments and discussions, students demonstrate the ability to express their knowledge of current laws and regulations pertaining to special education. (Program Standard 2: Professional, Legal and Ethical Practices)

2. Through lecture, discussion, reading, and reading reactions, students demonstrate their knowledge about the etiologies and characteristics of students with disabilities (mild/moderate and moderate/severe).

3. Through assignments and reading reactions, students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of cultural, family, and community values that impact diverse learners.

4. Students write a research paper on a disability or topic with in disabilities studies, and present it to the class, to demonstrate knowledge of the characteristics of the disability and how community, culture, and linguistic differences impact it. (Program Standard 3: Educating Diverse Learners )

5. Students demonstrate the ability to use the Blackboard operating system to complete threaded discussions and in order to communicate with each other and the instructor.

6. Students demonstrate their knowledge of commonly used low and high tech assistive technologies.

7. Students demonstrate an understanding of universal design. (Program Standard 6: Using Educational and Assistive Technology)

8. Students describe variations in children from developmental, educational, and psychological perspectives.

9. Students differentiate characteristics of children in the eligibility categories of disabilities under IDEA and gifted and talented. (Program Standard 11: Typical and Atypical Development)

10. Students identify the federal laws pertaining to the education of exceptional populations. (Program Standard 14: Creating Healthy Learning Environments)

Teaching Performance Expectations (TPEs)

TPE 1: Specific Pedagogical Skills for Subject Matter Instruction

Students’ reading reviews, annotated bibliographies and website summaries/critiques demonstrate their understanding of cultural, family and community values that impact diverse learners. Students develop a Disability Journal with reflections to demonstrate knowledge of the characteristics of the disability and its effect on learning, skill development and behavior. Students demonstrate knowledge of disabilities and their effect on educational and psychosocial implications through readings, field observations, case studies, and films.

TPE 6:Developmentally Appropriate Teaching Practices

Students demonstrate their knowledge on setting student expectations based on their knowledge of typical and atypical development.


The Teacher Education Program Faculty is committed to infusing language, culture, special education/exceptionality, gender and technology competencies across the curriculum. These competencies are drawn from the Standards of Quality and Effectiveness for Professional Teacher Preparation Programs.

©2010 Lali Masriera. CC BY 2.0
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