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M.Ed. in Moderate Disabilities

Our 36-credit M.Ed. in Moderate Disabilities prepares you for your Initial License to work with children in grades PreK-8 with moderate disabilities who participate in integrated or self-contained classrooms. Through coursework and field-based experiences, you develop an understanding of subject matter knowledge, curriculum design, instructional strategies, observation and assessment, communication, and collaboration with families and the community.

This program is approved by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and is aligned with the Massachusetts Professional Standards for Teachers and Subject Matter Knowledge requirements.

Key features of our Moderate Disabilities M.Ed. program include:

  • Eight (8) online courses: You achieve 32 credits through eight convenient, self-paced online courses – each is eight weeks in length and is worth four credits.
  • Field-Based Experiences: You learn in the classroom from the start of your program. There are two pre-practicums (30 to 55 hours depending on prior teaching experience) and a full practicum 450 hours, which is the equivalent of 15 weeks. Field-based experiences are arranged at conveniently located schools in Massachusetts, close to home. Your teacher education program specialist provides personalized support throughout your field-based experiences. Successful completion of the 15-week practicum contributes four credits toward the degree for a grand total of 36 credits.
  • Immersion Events: You and other students in your program have the option of gathering during your program for immersion events (e.g., seminars, guest speakers and networking events) to connect in person with your peers, faculty and leading educators in the field.
  • Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) Exam Preparation Support: You will gain support and preparation assistance for the MTEL exams required for your Initial License in Massachusetts. MTEL preparation is built right into your program. The Moderate Disabilities Concentration requires successful completion of the following MTEL exams:
    • Communication and Literacy Skills (01): Reading and Writing subtests (we recommend completion prior to enrollment – unofficial test scores accepted)
    • General Curriculum (03): Math and Multi-Subject subtests
    • Foundations of Reading (90)

Initial Licensure students who decide not to pursue their license will still be able to complete their degree as a personalized non-licensure master’s degree.

Teaching and Learning in the Inclusive Classroom
(ED 5740G)4 Credits

The course will present the basic components of lesson planning using Understanding by Design (UbD). Students will learn techniques around differentiating instruction, including tiered instruction, scaffolds to accommodate differences in learning styles, needs, interests, and levels of readiness of students. Students will examine specific systematic behaviors teachers use to create orderly, cooperative, and motivating learning environments that promote student achievement.

Co-requisites (0 credits):

  • ED 6500G – Pre-Practicum Field-Based Experience I
  • ED 6501G – Teacher Education Program Orientation
Challenges in Learning and Development
(ED 5710G)4 Credits

This course provides an overview of the challenges that students with moderate disabilities encounter in their lives. The class will explore how disabilities are identified, what necessary steps are taken to refer students for evaluations in the Special Education process, characteristics of students with disabilities, general issues of evaluation approaches, and research-based accommodations and interventions including the use of assistive technology devices and behavioral interventions. State and federal laws as well as an overview of local and national support agencies are also reviewed.

Reading Strategies and Interventions
(ED 5200G)4 Credits

This course provides an introduction to the significant theories, practices and programs for developing literacy skills in children with learning challenges. Beginning with an introduction to literacy development, the focus will be on planning assessment, designing instruction, and selecting research-based interventions for children with disabilities, students from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds, and students with limited educational experiences. Topics will include linking assessment to instruction, research-based methods and strategies, accommodations, modifications, and the use of assistive technology devices to support literacy success.

Core Math: Numbers and Operations, Function, Geometry and Algebra
(GRAD 519)4 Credits

This course will focus on numbers and operations, and on functions and algebraic concepts as described in the Massachusetts Mathematics Curriculum Frameworks for grades 1-8. As many children have mathematical capabilities beyond their grade level, course participants will be stretched to use and apply the mathematical concepts learned to multiple situations and to higher level problems. Emphasis will be placed on the attainment, articulation and application of the math concepts associated with each strand of learning. Teaching and assessment methods that are challenging yet attainable, and developmentally appropriate will be examined.

Math Methods for the Elementary School
(ED 5730G)4 Credits

This course is designed to enable prospective elementary school teachers to teach mathematics efficiently and effectively to diverse student populations. Prospective teachers will learn how to develop and coordinate learning objectives, assessment techniques, and instructional methodologies according to the psychological principles of how children learn mathematics. Attention will be given to teaching recommendations from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Common Core State Standards as well as the professional standards for teaching determined by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education of Massachusetts.

Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment in Science, Health and Physical Education
(ED 5020G)4 Credits

The first section of this course will focus on science education. Attention will be given to cognitive development and scientific reasoning skills, the scientific method of inquiry, and elements important to teaching science and assessing student understanding. The second section will focus on health education, addressing the “Coordinated School Health Program,” law and policy around health and safety, signs and symptoms of maltreatment, and the assessment and interpretation of content for presentation to different cognitive and developmental levels. In both science and health there will be a focus on application through investigations, and lesson and unit plan development based on the strands and standards of the Science and Technology, and Comprehensive Health Frameworks for the elementary grades. The third section will focus on the planning and development of the elementary physical education program.

Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment in Social Studies and World Geography
(ED 5010G)4 Credits

The course will address three major aspects of social studies. Initially, there will be a focus on the development of geography skills and global awareness through the study of five world regions and the convergence of environmental, cultural, political and economic systems of globalization. Secondly, the course will focus on developing history skills such as critical, creative and analytical thinking, problem solving, valuing, and decision making. Lastly, the course will apply cooperative learning, vocabulary and concept formation, and online resources to the study of the Social Studies. Throughout the course, there will be a focus on the organization of curriculum, instructional methods and student assessment processes.

Sheltered English Instruction, with Field Experience
(ED 5820G)4 Credits

The purpose of this course is to prepare teachers with the knowledge and skills to effectively design content instruction in order to support English Language Learners (ELLs) in accessing curriculum and achieving academic success as they prepare for their futures in the 21st century global economy. Throughout the course, effective research-based strategies will be modeled. Teachers will have opportunities to practice strategies, to analyze their practice, to provide and receive feedback, and to reflect on their own experiences. The course addresses three over-arching goals for teaching ELLs:

  • To help teachers effectively carry out their responsibility for the teaching and learning of ELLs as well as to understand the social and cultural issues that contribute to and impact schooling for ELLs.
  • To expand teachers’ knowledge of how language functions within academic content teaching and learning, and how children and adolescents acquire a second language.
  • Provide teachers practical research-based protocols, methods, and strategies to integrate subject area content, language, and literacy development using the Massachusetts English Language Development (ELD) standards and the World Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) standards to support ELL students’ success in meeting standards of the 2011 Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks as well as the Common Core content standards.

This course is delivered in a hybrid model with on-ground elements delivered in person over a series of weekends. Alternate models for the completion of your SEI endorsement are available. Please contact the Program Director for more information.

Practicum for Teacher of Moderate Disabilities
(ED 551G)4 Credits

This is the practicum required for licensure.

Talk to an Application Specialist today for more information about how the online M.Ed. and graduate teacher education programs can help you achieve your professional goals at:


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