Internet Explorer 7, 8, and 9 are no longer supported. Please use a newer browser.
Concourse works best with JavaScript enabled.
Liberty University logo

Online · School of Education · Graduate Education

Issues and Trends in Exceptionality

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 02/04/2022

Contact Information

See detailed faculty information in Canvas.

Course Description

A research oriented course that focuses on issues and trends that face the discipline of special education. The course utilizes research to analyze and examine through written discussions controversial issues in various areas of exceptionalities.


For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


It is imperative that all educators are prepared to deal with the special needs of exceptional students. Ministering to those in need is the professional responsibility and the spiritual mandate for every Christian. Furthermore, it is necessary that doctoral-level students are able to investigate, interpret, and conduct research that leads to informed decision-making as it affects the education of those with disabilities.

Course Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand current issues in Special Education from differing perspectives.
  2. Formulate opinions about current issues within Special Education.
  3. Develop professional writing skills.
  4. Locate and digest research.
  5. Formulate and design research.
  6. Use APA formatting and style.

Course Resources

Click on the following link to view the required resource(s) for the term in which you are registered: Liberty University Online Bookstore.

Additional Materials for Learning

    1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
    2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
    3. Canvas recommended browsers
    4. Microsoft Office

Course Assignments

Textbook readings and presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Discussions (6)

Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. The candidate will choose a position after doing the readings for both sides of the issue that week. The candidate will argue either for or against the topic for that module’s reading assignment. The candidate’s argument must be submitted in a thread of at least 300 words. For each thread, the candidate must support their assertions with at least two citations in current APA format. The candidate will then reply to a classmate with an opposing viewpoint using a coherent argument that is logical, properly formed in manner and respect, and coherent. Each reply must be at least 150 words and must include at least one source in current APA format. Acceptable sources include the textbook, the Bible, and article reviews. (A, B, C, and F).

Journal Critiques (6)

The candidate is required to complete 6 Journal Critiques throughout the course. The candidate will choose an article aligned with the readings for the week but is encouraged to try to find an article that also supports the chosen research topic. Each critique must be 1–2 pages, must follow current APA style, and must be completed using the outline provided. (C, D, F).

Thesis Statement

The candidate must have an appropriate topic chosen for their Research Proposal, which will be used for the Literature Review. The candidate will then formulate a strong thesis statement. (C, E).

Research Proposal

The Research Proposal is intended to help the candidate begin thinking about appropriate research techniques. The research proposed must be related to the research topic. The candidate is not required to perform the research that is proposed here, nor does the candidate need to know the specific statistical analysis. The Research Proposal must be 3–5 pages and must follow current APA style. (C, E, F).

Literature Review

The candidate will write a 10–15-page Literature Review that utilizes 15–20 sources, primarily research journal articles, and follows current APA style. (C, D, E, F).

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


Discussions (6 at 40 pts ea)


Journal Critiques (6 at 50 pts ea)


Thesis Statement


Research Proposal


Literature Review





Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussions, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at

Grading Scale

A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
940-1010 920-939 900-919 860-899 840-859 820-839 780-819 760-779 740-759 700-739 680-699 679 and below

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.


Course calendar and related activities
When Topic Notes
Course Overview
Student Acknowledgements

Course Requirements Checklist
Advising Guide Acknowledgement

Module 1: Week 1

Read: 1 item

Watch: 1 item

Explore: 1 item


Journal Critique: Labels and Students with Disabilities Assignment

Discussion: Labels and Students with Special Needs

Module 2: Week 2

Read: 6 items

Watch: 1 item


Journal Critique: Behavior and Discipline Assignment 

Thesis Statement Assignment

Discussion: Whole-School Reform and Discipline Problems

Module 3: Week 3

Read: 1 item

Watch: 1 item


Journal Critique: Defining and Designing Special Education Assignment 

Discussion: Redesigning and Redefining Special Education

Module 4: Week 4

Read: 1 item

Watch: 1 item


Journal Critique: RTI and IDEA Assignment 

Discussion: RTI and IDEA Child Find

Module 5: Week 5

Read: 1 item

Watch: 1 item


Research Proposal Assignment

Module 6: Week 6

Read: 1 item

Watch: 1 item


Journal Critique: Inclusion Assignment

Discussion: Inclusion and Effective Teacher Preparation

Module 7: Week 7

Read: 1 item

Watch: 2 items


Journal Critique: Autism Assignment 

Discussion: Best Practices for Students with Autism

Module 8: Week 8

Read: 1 item

Watch: 1 item


Literature Review Draft Submission

Literature Review Assignment