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 07/28/2020

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.





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.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand the problems and issues associated with delivering instruction and services to students with disabilities at various academic levels.
  2. Use critical thinking skills and the ability to analyze and synthesize information relevant to the topics related to issues and trends in special education.
  3. Acquire appropriate research skills by selecting a researchable topic of study, conducting a review of literature, and formulating an appropriate research plan for carrying out that investigation.
  4. Gain competence in using the publication guidelines of the American Psychological Association.
  5. Gain competence in written communication skills as evidenced by performance in discussion board and written assignments.

Course Resources

Required Resource Purchase

Behan. (2015). Taking sides: Clashing views in special education – Custom (7th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. ISBN: 9781308467368.

Disclaimer: The above resources provide information consistent with the latest research regarding the subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific personal, religious, philosophical, or political positions found in these resources.

 Recommended Resource

American Psychological Association. Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (Current ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Additional Materials for Learning

    1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
    2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
    3. Blackboard 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 Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (6)

Discussion Boards are collaborative learning experiences. The candidate will chose a position after doing the readings for both sides of the issue that week. The student will argue either for or against the topic for that module/week’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 his/her 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 cite at least one source in current APA format. Acceptable sources include the textbook, the Bible, and article reviews.

Journal Article Critiques (6)

The candidate is required to complete 6 Journal Article Critiques throughout the course. The candidate must select articles related to the topic for his/her Literature Review. Each critique must be 1–2 pages, must follow current APA style, and must be completed using the outline provided in Blackboard.

Course Comprehensive Paper

Thesis: The candidate must have an appropriate topic chosen for his/her Research Proposal, which will be used for the Literature Review. The candidate will then formulate a strong thesis statement.

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.

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. This assignment will be submitted through SafeAssign and in Blackboard.

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


Discussion Board Forums (6 at 40 pts ea)


Journal Article Critiques (6 at 50 pts ea)


Course Comprehensive Paper:






Research Proposal



Literature Review





Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, 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 board 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 board 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 board 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.


EDUC 721

Textbooks: Behan, Taking Sides: Clashing Views in Special Education (2015).


Reading & Study




Behan: Issue 1.5

1 presentation

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

Advising Guide Acknowledgement

DB Forum 1

Journal Article Critique 1







Behan: Issue 1.4

Bible Readings

1 presentation

DB Forum 2

Journal Article Critique 2

Thesis Statment





Behan: Issue 2.4

1 presentation

DB Forum 3

Journal Article Critique 3




Behan: Issue 2.6

1 presentation

DB Forum 4

Journal Article Critique 4




Behan: Issue 2.5

1 presentation

Research Proposal



Behan: Issue 2.2

1 presentation

DB Forum 5

Journal Article Critique 5




Behan: Issue 1.6

1 presentation

DB Forum 6

Journal Article Critique 6




Behan: Issue 3.3

1 website

Literature Review




DB = Discussion Board

NOTE: Each course module/week begins on Monday morning at 12:00 a.m. (ET) and ends on Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. (ET). The final module/week ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday.