Introduction to Special Populations

EDUC 2301

  • State Approval Code: 1310015109
  • Semester Credit Hours: 3
  • Lecture Hours per Week: 3
  • Contact Hours per Semester: 64

Catalog Description

An enriched integrated pre-service course and content experience that provides an overview of schooling and classrooms from the perspectives of language, gender, socioeconomic status, ethnic and academic diversity and equity with an emphasis on factors that facilitate learning. (Course includes 16 contact hours of field observations of P-12 special populations.)


TSI Reading Complete

Instructional Goals and Purposes

Panola College's instructional goals include 1) creating an academic atmosphere in which students may develop their intellects and skills and 2) providing courses so students may receive a certificate/an associate degree or transfer to a senior institution that offers baccalaureate degrees.

General Course Objectives

  1. Describe the diverse populations in public schools and effective methods of dealing with students who are culturally or academically diverse.
  2. Describe characteristics of students in diverse populations (students with disabilities, students with cultural/gender differences, students who are academically advanced or at risk of failure or dropping out of school).
  3. Describe the referral, assessment, and placement process for students in special programs, and describe the characteristics of an Individualized Education Plan.
  4. Describe effective methods of instruction, assessment, and behavior management for students in special populations.
  5. Describe how collaboration supports programs for students with special needs.
  6. Describe how technology, especially assistive technology, supports instruction and management of students in special populations.
  7. Complete sixteen hours of on-site observation in Texas public schools.

Specific Course Objectives

  1. Examine personal assumptions and perceptions of students with disabilities.
  2. Define Universal Design for Learning and describe instructional strategies and accommodations associated with it.
  3. Trace the evolution of services for children with special needs.
  4. Summarize major provisions of important legislation, including the Disabilities Education Act, IDEA 2004, No Child Left Behind Act, and Section 504 (PL 93-112).
  5. Explain the role and function of the multidisciplinary team.
  6. Identify the required components of an individualized education plan (IEP).
  7. Identify examples of related services for students with special needs.
  8. Identify high and low incidence disability groups and outline their behavioral characteristics.
  9. Define terms/characteristics associated with special needs students, including least restrictive environment, inclusion, mental retardation, speech and language impairments, emotional or behavioral disorders, ADHD, gifted/talented, at risk, sensory impairments, autism spectrum disorders, physical and health disabilities, and traumatic brain injury.
  10. Identify models of collaboration and cooperative teaching.
  11. Discuss the role of families in educating students with disabilities.
  12. Illustrate the importance of using technology in the classroom, including assistive technology.
  13. Identify effective classroom assessment approaches, including the role of assessment in the content areas.
  14. Describe various interventions or techniques that can be used according to students learning domains.
  15. Articulate the important concepts of reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies instruction.
  16. Extend and revise lesson plans to accommodate learners with special needs.
  17. Select strategies to reinforce appropriate behavior.
  18. Discuss elements of the Texas Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities documents.
  1. Domain I:  Designing Instruction
  2. Domain II: Creating a Positive, Productive Classroom Environment;
  3. Domain III: Implementing Effective, Responsive Instruction and Assessment;
  4. Domain IV:  Fulfilling Professional Role and Responsibilities
  1. Complete sixteen hours of on-site observation in Texas public schools and submit proper documentation.

General Description of Each Lecture or Discussion


To be successful in this course, you should be able to:

  • Use a web browser
  • Use MS WORD (available in Panola College computer labs)
  • Access and use the Canvas Learning Management System
  • Use email within Canvas to communicate with your instructor
  • Send an email attachment
  • Download appropriate files
  • Upload files to Canvas


The student should:

  1. Read assigned sections in the text.
  2. Use Canvas to access assignments and course materials.
  3. Locate information in the library databases or on the Internet when assigned.
  4. Use Canvas email to communicate with the instructor.
  5. Interact with other students and the instructor via the Canvas discussion board.
  6. Complete assignments and exams.
  7. Complete field study requirements.

CLASSROOM ETIQUETTE: A student is expected to be respectful of other students' views as in the traditional classroom. For online students, the same respect should be granted when corresponding via email or the discussion board. Comments and language should be appropriate for a college community classroom.

TESTING: All Exams are proctored and must be completed with the instructor or in an approved college testing center. Students using testing centers are REQUIRED to make appointments with the testing center staff. Be prepared to show a picture ID when you enter the testing center. Read the testing center policies before arriving for testing.


Sixteen hours of field experience on Texas public school campuses must be completed to received credit for this class. Failure to complete all sixteen hours will result in a grade of “F” for the class, regardless of grades on other assignments.


A Service Learning component is included in this class. The role of professional educators includes acting as an advocate for children and serving as a leader and resource in the community. Students will be offered an opportunity to participate in Service Learning activities throughout the semester.

Methods of Instruction/Course Format/Delivery

Students in both the traditional class and in the Internet class will have access to this course via Canvas. Students in the face-to-face course will meet regularly to discuss the material. Online students will be required to meet with the instructor/proctor for testing only. Instruction and class participation will include:

  • Instructor lecture or online facilitation
  • Online submission of assignments
  • Email
  • Videos
  • Discussion Board
  • Practice Exams
  • Quizzes
  • On-site Field Experience


The following items will be assigned during the semester and used to calculate the student's final grade:

  • Field Experience Journal and Documentation (Field Experience Portfolio) = 20%
  • Assignments: = 30%
    • Projects
    • Discussions
    • Quizzes
    • Class portfolio
  • Exams, including a comprehensive Final Exam = 50%

To earn a passing grade, all required documents for the sixteen-hour field study component MUST be submitted ON or BEFORE the DUE DATE. Students who do not complete all sixteen hours will not receive credit for the course, regardless of performance on other assignments. Refer to the SCHEDULE for DUE DATES.


90-100 %








Field Experience












Below 60%





Text, Required Readings, Materials, and Supplies

Teaching in Today's Inclusive Classrooms, A Universal Design for Learning, by Richard M. Gargiulo and Debbie Metcalf. (2010). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. ISBN: 9781111837976.