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Early Childhood Special Education Bachelor's Degree Online Courses

Curriculum Details

80–81 credit hours required in the major

Coursework in this ECSE program is delivered 100 percent online in a flexible format so you can continue to work while earning your degree. The interdisciplinary curriculum includes a variety of clinical experiences throughout the program, concluding with a semester-long student teaching experience, giving you the opportunity to apply what you learn in a real classroom or educational setting.

Personal connection is a core component of our online programs, so you’re learning online but not alone.

Standards of Effective Practice Core


An introduction to early childhood, elementary, and secondary education for students interested in teaching. Students will explore their potential for teaching in light of admission criteria and licensure requirements. Includes study of historical and social foundations of education; topics such as inquiry into the teaching and learning process, schools in a multicultural and diverse society, the profession of teaching; principles of cooperative group learning; and cultural differences, communication, and stereotyping. Fifteen hours of field experience is included.

The focus of this course is educational uses of technology. Students will explore computer applications as tools for their own learning, as well as the ethics of electronic communications, and will begin developing a Teacher Education portfolio using LiveText software.

This is an introductory study of child growth and development from conception through adolescence with a concentration on the physical, cognitive, and social-emotional domains of development. Emphasis areas of the course include: historical foundations and theories associated with the study of child development, the research process, the implications of teaching and learning, student diversity and pertinent topics associated with the possible effect of environment and behavior on prenatal development through adolescence.

This course provides information on the various exceptionalities and facilitates understanding of the basic special needs education services provided to children with disabilities, and includes gifted and talented. Topics include federal and state mandates, planning with parents, team approaches, teaching methodologies, and curriculum modifications and adaptations. A portfolio, reflective journal, and field experience will assist students in valuing diversity and inclusion.

Covers concepts and ideas which enable students to recognize and identify oppression, discrimination, and racism, along with learning techniques for building a community of teachers and learners in a pluralistic society with its great variety of cultures, value systems, and life styles. Includes study of American Indian language, history, government and culture.

Causes and consequences of prejudice, discrimination, and segregation; relationships of ethnic, racial, and religious minorities to dominant categories in the United States and globally; remedial programs to reduce racial, ethnic, and religious tensions.

The course enables teacher candidates to improve communication proficiency as language develops in the child from early childhood through adolescence. With consideration of the academic ELA standards and inclusion of the ELA literacies: reading, writing, listening, speaking, viewing, and visually representing – including media/digital literacy, the focus of the content of English language arts includes: literature, writing, vocabulary, spelling, grammar/language conventions & effective usage, poetry, phonics, and handwriting. This course explores the process of language development and appropriate strategies to stimulate and encourage the continuation of language growth, and includes focus on understanding interrelationships among culture, language, and thought, with emphasis on technology, diversity, and the needs of English learners. Teacher candidates will complete an informal (self-placed) eight-hour field experience.

Provide education teacher candidates an understanding of the principles of effective classroom management and an opportunity to use a range of strategies to promote positive relationships, cooperation, and purposeful learning in the classroom; grow in their knowledge on how to create learning environments that contribute to the self-esteem of all persons and to positive interpersonal relations, establish a positive climate in the classroom and participate in maintaining a positive climate in the school as a whole. Participants will professionally grow in their development of skills necessary to lead with confidence, compassion, creativeness and commitment and team planning and teaching with multi-age grouping for K – 6 diverse learners. Teacher candidates cooperatively plan and teach content and skill objectives during a special two-day clinical lab experience in a K – 6 setting with diverse learners.

The purpose of this course will be to learn research techniques and applications by participating in action research, specifically the performance assessment required by the State of Minnesota for teacher candidates who want to obtain a Minnesota teaching license. This course will focus on action research and researching learning strategies in preparation for teaching.

This course is designed to introduce TESL teacher candidates to fundamental theories in the field of teaching ESL. The course builds a foundation of understanding of English learners and topics impacting the academic experiences of language minority students in the United States. TESL teacher candidates will participate in a 15 hour lab field experience with focus on culturally and linguistically diverse learners.

The required preparation includes two years of HS foreign language or one year of foreign language in a post-secondary setting.

This required course will help the teacher education student begin a plan for professional development. A portfolio will be an ongoing project for the course, as well as discussions and activities related to preparing for the teaching profession. Students taking the course will complete their Pre-Student Teaching Experience.
This required course will help the teacher education student begin a plan for professional development. A portfolio will be an ongoing project for the course, as well as discussions and activities related to preparing for the teaching profession. Students taking the course will complete their pre-student teaching experience.
A supervised student teaching experience providing an opportunity to relate theory to practice in a home- and center-based educational setting for infants/toddlers/preschoolers birth through age 6.

Special Education Core


This course provides the characteristics and educational programming for mild to moderate disabilities, including emotional behavior disorders, learning disabilities, developmental cognitive disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, traumatic brain injuries, and other health disorders.

A course in the best practices and procedures in curriculum instruction techniques and performance evaluation for all exceptionalities. Application in the process of individualized programming and modification/accommodation plans in integrated educational settings, use of assistive technologies, and adaptive techniques will be covered.

A course in theories of behavior, functional behavior assessment, and the laws, policies, and ethical principles regarding the planning and implementation of positive behavior supports for students with challenging behavior.

An understanding of the issues, resources, and techniques of communication, collaboration, consultation, and transitions for children, their families, the school, and all stakeholders in regular and special education settings. This includes professional reflection and development. The role of mental health professionals and agencies is included.

Procedural safeguards for legal, judicial, medical, and educational systems that serve students with disabilities are studied, which includes due process and transition.

Elementary Education Courses


This course is a study of children’s literature at pre-primary, kindergarten, and elementary levels, with emphasis on diversity.

This course is an introduction to early literacy and linguistics, which is the scientific study of language. The theory of linguistics and teaching methods will be investigated. Topics taught in this course are language development, including the sounds of language and how they are produced (phonology); the structure of words (morphology); sentence structure (syntax); and how meaning is expressed (semantics). Early literacy topics addressed in this course include concepts about print, alphabetic principle, phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, fluency, and written language. Emphasis will be placed on teaching techniques, strategies, and assessment tools used to instruct beginning readers, with special focus on the need to differentiate instruction to accommodate the needs of all learners, particularly the struggling reader and students for whom English is a second language. There is a 15-hour field experience attached to this course.

This course addresses the total spectrum of an inclusive P-6 developmental literacy program, including a study of phonemic, graphemic, and semantic systems, as well as strategies for teaching fluency, vocabulary, writing, and comprehension skills to learners. This course includes a field experience with structured assignments for teaching reading skills to diverse learners in grades P-6.

In order to teach young children it is necessary to be familiar with patterns of growth concerning physical, mental, social, emotional, and aesthetic development of this age group. And to know both methods and materials is essential in order to create a living/learning environment where children can experience the best possible educational program. This course requires a 15-hour field experience.

Note: For the BS in Educational Studies program, students may take either take MATH 129 or ED 418 to fulfill the requirement.

Early Childhood Special Education Content Courses


Foundations in the field of early childhood special education. This includes history, philosophical perspectives, characteristics, policy, and collaboration.
Current research and recommended practices for early intervention will guide the study of methods, materials, and transitions employed in natural environments with typically and atypically developing infants and toddlers, birth through 35 months. The key role of the family is integrated into the course and includes working with families in the IFSP/IEP development process. This course involves a 15-hour field experience.

This course is designed to provide individuals seeking the early childhood special educator license with an opportunity to integrate and reflect on theory and practice related to the evaluation, planning, and supporting preschoolers (ages birth through 6) with diverse abilities. Specifically, individuals will have opportunities to learn various assessment strategies and tools, practice implementing a comprehensive evaluation, develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and design individual, small and large group activities to meet a child’s IEP goals in an inclusive early childhood setting. This course includes 30-hours field experience in an integrated public school Early Childhood Special Education setting ages birth through age 6.

A study of current research and evidence-based practices for instructional, medical, and social needs of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and primary students, ages birth through 6, and their families.
This course will prepare the candidate for assessment, the educational process, and transitions for young children with special needs. Topics include collaboration with families to determine appropriate individualized planning and placements of young children birth through age 6.

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