LDN 631—Understanding and Supporting Diverse Learners
This course is the part of the online professional certificate program in Learning Differences and Neurodiversity (LDN) offered by Landmark College, with specializations in “Executive Function,” “Autism Online and on Campus,” or “Postsecondary Disability Services”.
This course, designed for both beginners and veteran education professionals, starts with an understanding of neurodiversity, latest research findings on learning and executive function, and changes in legal mandates; and expands to incorporate application of evidence-based practices such as universal design for learning and coaching-like approaches for addressing executive function difficulties. Instructors bring a range of skills and expertise and work directly with participants to ensure that the course is relevant and valuable to their current and future professional roles.
Three graduate credits will be awarded per course for students achieving a grade of 80% or greater.
This is an 8-week online course. Each week is a module that includes a variety of resources, readings, online discussions, and multimedia activities designed to engage participants in the course content. The course also includes 6 weekly online synchronous sessions (video conferences) scheduled primarily in the evenings (Eastern Time). We will make every attempt to accommodate individual schedules, but participants should plan on attending at least 5 of the 6 synchronous sessions; makeup work is allowable for those unable to attend live. The course uses Canvas as its Learning Management System (LMS). Registered participants will be provided with details to log on during the week before the start of classes.
The course objectives align with professional standards in the field of LD, specifically the standards for special educators established by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). We have chosen to align to the “Advanced” set of Preparation Standards, as this higher-level set of standards more closely matches the level of content and expertise required of a graduate level course in the field. The CEC Advanced Preparation Standards are linked here, or can be found on the CEC’s website: www.cec.sped.org.
|Objectives||CEC Advanced Preparation Standards|
|Articulate new and emerging understanding of neurodiversity and neuroatypical profiles of learners, including awareness of neuroplasticity and multiple perspectives on individual differences in Executive Function (EF).||2.2, 2.3
|Discuss current evidence-based findings on EF, and LC’s approach to addressing EF challenges among diverse learners.||2.3
3.1, 3.2, 3.3
|Identify, evaluate, adapt, and apply the LC model of EF supports, including LC’s approach to academic advising, universal design pedagogies, first year seminar courses, geared towards meta-cognitive awareness and self-determination.||1.2
4.1, 4.2, 4.3
|Articulate current legal mandates and their implications for students with EF challenges, including understanding of EF accommodations, both in and out of the classroom.||3.3
|Analyze the conceptual framework and principles of universal design as an approach to addressing EF difficulties and its applications.||2.2, 2.3
3.2, 3.3, 3.4
|Describe the basic tenets of nondirective EF coaching as it applies to students with EF difficulties and its application in multiple settings.||2.2, 2.3
|Evaluate their own professional development within the context of this course with respect to practical applications and lessons learned.||3.3
6.0, 6.2, 6.4
|1||• New and emerging understanding of “how we learn”
• Neurodiversity and neuroplasticity
• Brain training programs—a critical review
|2||• EF challenges among students with LD/ADHD/autism
• Brief overview of dopamine pathways and ADHD
• ADHD in children vs. adults
• EF research and its application to the classroom
|3||• Cognitive load and EF
• Understanding the interrelationship EF and Working Memory
• Classroom applications
|4||• Drill down topic: participants’ choice or EF and time management
• Time management apps and technologies that support time management
• Technology for Self-Management Project
|5||• LC’s model of EF supports for college students with disabilities
• Proactive advising
• First year seminar courses
• Nondirective coaching approach
|6||• EF challenges among students who learn differently
• Drill down topic: approaches and techniques of nondirective coaching model
• EF and meta-cognitive awareness—what can you do to help yourself?
|7||• Framework of Universal Design(UD)—how does it work for students with EF deficits?
• UD—practical applications in and out of the classroom
• Creating your own repository of strategies for EF support
|8||• Understanding the range of legal rights and responsibilities (ADA and IDEA) for supporting students with
- EF challenges
- Drill down topic: participants choice
Details of the module format are as follows:
- Module Objectives—Each module will start by articulating the objectives for that module. The objectives will list anticipated learning of the topics that will be addressed in each module.
- Warmup Activities—Warmup activities are designed to help to create a community of learners within this course, to understand each other’s perspectives, and to engage in a discourse. Warmup activities will be posed at the start of each module as a query or a scenario to get us thinking about the topic as a group. You can post your own insights, observations, and/or respond to someone else’s posting.
- Learning Activities—Learning activities serve as instructional content for the module topics. (Example: viewing/listening to presentation slides; readings, assignments, targeted website browsing, creating your own library of resources.)
- Talk Time—Talk Time is the synchronous meeting time for the course. During this time, we will address queries and points to ponder for discussion. Graded.
- Participation Prompts—The Participation Prompt section is like a discussion blog. Instructors will post questions that are designed to guide knowledge acquisition and application of the concepts within each module. You will need to post an original response and comment on the response of a classmate. Graded.
- Additional Resources—A resource repository on EF and LD will be created and added to by all members of this learning community. Ungraded.
The final course grade is determined by the following four categories of assignments.
- Participation Prompt Rubric—Each module will have Participation Prompts. You must post an original response to a Participation Prompt AND post a response to someone else’s comment. For full credit, each of your Participation Prompts should follow the specified directions for responses and be posted before the week for the module is over. You should plan on responding to at least 6 Participation Prompts (4 points each) including commenting on a classmate’s response (1 point each). You only have to respond and comment in 6 of the 8 weeks. (30 points total; 5 points each)
- Talk Time—During Talk Time (Synchronous meeting) we will be discussing live the queries and comments presented by course participants and instructors. Participants will receive 5 points for each of the Talk Time sessions. In these sessions, we are looking for your active participation and thoughtful engagement. There will be 6 talk times in all; you should plan to participate in at least 5 of these synchronous sessions. (25 points total; 5 points each)
- Technology for Self-Management—You will be researching, analyzing, and synthesizing resources to create a summary document on technology options for self-management by diverse learners. The summary document can be PowerPoint slides, YouTube video, or a text document. The goal of the assignment is to create a web-based “product” directed towards professionals on the theme of self-management. (15 points)
- Executive Function Implementation Project—This is the final project of the course and is directly related to your current or future professional role. The goal of this assignment is to apply the collective knowledge from this course to create an item of value to you in your job. Examples of the final project include: (1) a case study description with recommendations, (2) a sample lesson plan with a specific intervention, (3) a tip sheet for parents at your institution, (4) a student guide for using a time management app, (5) description of an orientation program for addressing EF challenges, and so on. (30 points)