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TEAS 4001/5001/6001 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

TEAS 4001/5001/6001 - Collaborative Practices, Trends and Issues, and Characteristics of the Exceptional Learner in Special Education

4 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course includes special education mandates, LRE; ADA; general education; parents; communities; support services; and characteristics of special learners. 

This course is available at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Undergraduate courses are listed as 4000-level courses; graduate courses are listed as 5000- or 6000-level courses according to university policy.

Course Outcomes:

Candidates will be able to demonstrate the following knowledge and skills upon completion of the course:

  1. Knowledge of historical concepts in special education as it parallels historical changes in general education and the impact on collaboration as professional educators.
  2. Identify critical and current issues related to the evolution of best practices in special education.
  3. Describe the various disability categories as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, including definitions and classification categories.
  4. Describe the principles of education and related services (as mandated by law) for individuals with disabilities.
  5. Discuss the multicultural aspects associated with the over-identification of persons from minority and culturally diverse populations.
  6. Discuss the issues of categorical perspectives, service delivery, definitions and technology applications with special populations.
  7. Discuss issues related to placement, inclusion, and assessment for classification, eligibility, and educational progress.
  8. Describe issues and trends related to home school partnerships, parental partnerships, culturally diverse families and effective family partnerships
  9. Discuss the future of special education including program evaluation, effective service delivery of programs and teacher preparation.
  10. Understand the importance of a longitudinal perspective in the provisions of the educational and related services to individuals with disabilities. 
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Students must have a teaching certificate. TEAS 4001 can be taken in conjunction with 4002.

Course Topics:

The suggested sequence of topics is outlined under Assignments and Projects: 

Specific Course Requirements:

All students should have a working knowledge of the following:

  • word processing (Microsoft word) 
  • email and attachments (web mail, outlook or internet explorer)
  • using an internet browser.
  • searching the world wide web (WWW)- including locating and using websites
  • downloading and uploading documents and Internet links

In order to complete the following requirements:

  • specified web quests for information on various handicapping conditions and specific teaching strategies associated with each condition
  • article critiques, case studies, related projects, graphic organizers, debates, etc.
  • final research paper on a topic related to this course. Topic must be approved by the professor. 

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

Danforth, S., & Taff, S. D. (2004). Crucial readings in special education. Columbus: Pearson/ Merrill Prentice Hall. 

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

There will be no formal tests administered for this course. The assignments are application-based therefore any sources are allowable but must be referenced appropriately. Specific deadlines will be outlined and must be adhered to or a deduction of points will be applied. 

Grading Procedures:

All candidates are required to complete all assignments including a final research paper. All assignments are to be submitted to the professor or posted on the course website by 10:00 PM on the deadline date. Late arrivals will result in a deduction of points. 

Maximum points to be awarded per assignment are as follows: 

AssignmentMaximum Points - UndergraduateMaximum Points - Graduate
Graphic Organize1010
Pros/Cons debate1010
Paper on Inclusion2020
Summary & Critique2020
Family Interview OR paper/ highlights20/10 
Family Interview AND paper/ highlights 40/10
Community Awareness2020
Summary and Interview2020
8 discussion questions4040
Final paper5050


Grading Scale:
PercentageGradeUndergraduate PointsGraduate Points
90-100A225-250 points245-270 points
80-89B200-224 points215-244 points
70-79C175-199 points190-214 points
60-69D150-174 points162-189 points


Assignments and Projects:

Module 1 Introduction, Course overview, Historic Overview of Special Education in society 

Read 1 –3 articles(of your choice) from Part One of Danforth, Chapter 1 & 2 in Ysseldyke, and read 1-2 articles discussing the historic overview of special education/general education.
Compare the history of special education to that of general education and prepare a compare/contrast graphic organizer highlighting both trends. Be prepared to place on course website or email to all candidates. 10 points

Module 2 Issues in service delivery, disability categories, definitions and labeling

Assignments: Read chapters 3-4 in Ysseldyke. Access the State of Tennessee Special Education website and locate the State definitions for all the Handicapping conditions in Tennessee.
Choose 1 disability of interest, contact a classmate via email to be your partner, and list the pros and cons of identifying and labeling a child with the specific disability. Develop a debate over the issue of labeling and post your response on the course website. 10 points 

Module 3 Inclusion issues including placement, assessment, accommodations, and modifications.

Assignments: Read chapters 5 and 6 in Ysseldyke and read articles 4.3, 6.2, 7.1, and 8.2 in Danforth.

Choose a disability and then take a stand for inclusion or not according to what research you can locate to support your decision. Write a 1-2 page paper explaining your position and defending it with supportive research. Be sure to cite all references according to APA. Submit paper to the professor via an attachment. 20 points

Module 4 Instructional issues- technology- collaboration- effective practices

Read chapter 7 in Ysseldyke and read articles 4.2 and 7.2 in Danforth, plus review 2 current articles on effective practices in special education.
Describe the qualities of effective collaborators referencing the readings: Evaluate your own strengths related to these qualities. Describe qualities that you feel need further development. Submit summary of articles and your self-critique to professor via an attachment. 20 points
Arrange to observe a special education classroom by contacting the supervisor of instruction: Observe for at least 1 hour time total and write a review of a teaching strategy employed by the teacher. (Guidelines for observation –TBA) 20 points

Module 5 Partnerships and Cultural Diversity

Read chapters 8 and 11 in Ysseldyke and articles 3.2, 4.1, and 6.1 in Danforth.
Arrange to spend an hour with a culturally diverse family (preferably a family with a child who has special needs) (Complete a family interview –guidelines to be provided) and write a written summary of the experience).
write a 2-3 page paper discussing whether minorities are overrepresented in special education classes. Choose one worth 20 points
Prepare a summary of highlights to be posted on course website. 10 points

Module 6 Funding Issues Related to Special Education and Related Services And School Reform

Read chapters 12 and 13 in Ysseldyke. Read 2-3 articles on funding issues and school reform.
Research how funds are provided for schools within your hometown. Include salaries, materials, special education funding, transportation, etc. Answer one of the three questions located on page 347 of Ysseldyke and apply answers to information discovered through your research. 10 points

Module 7 Transition- Graduation- Post school/adulthood/Quality of Life

Read chapters 10 and 14 in Ysseldyke and articles 5.1, 5.2, and 7.4 in Danforth. Develop a community awareness and advocacy program for persons with disabilities. (Guidelines TBA) 20 points 

Module 8 Teacher Preparation Issues

Read chapter 15 in Ysseldyke and review at least 5 articles from the web on the direction of teacher preparation in special education. Summarize the articles and include what you have found to be the trend in preparing special education teachers for mild disabilities. (Specific guidelines TBA). 10 points

Interview a special education teacher and determine how effective he or she perceives the training received in undergraduate coursework has prepared him or her to teach in the field of special education. (Specific guidelines TBA). 10 points 

Class Participation:

Students must participate in all interactive aspects of the course. Students must communicate with other students in the chat room, students are expected to communicate with the instructor as a learning resource, students must check the course bulletin board frequently for announcements, and students must actively participate in threaded discussion events. Students must also adhere to specific deadlines. 

Late Policy:

All assignments are due by 10:00PM on the designated date. Be sure to follow Module outlines and note specific dates. 

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on May 9, 2017