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Earn your degree from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Get the same diploma as on campus students
The online Special Education, Visual Impairment (P-12), Graduate Teaching Endorsement program prepares students with the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively address the specific educational needs of students with visual impairment or blindness.
Students choose this program because:
- It is one of the only teacher preparation programs in the Midwest offering high-quality distance education in visual impairment.
- The small, supportive learning community introduces students from across the country who are working in the same field.
- The flexible nature of online learning allows students to complete the program when it fits into their schedule which is a benefit to busy, working professionals.
Note: This unique visual impairment graduate-level program is offered online during the academic year with a few weeks of skill-based courses for two summers. Summer courses have a hands-on component that requires students to attend in-person. Summer locations vary.
Career Outlook: Special education teachers engage with children and youth that have a wide variety of disabilities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the need for Special Education Teachers will grow by about 8% from 2016-2026. Although most special education teachers work in public schools, some find jobs in the private sector taking care of special needs children in childcare services and other institutions.
More about the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders:
The Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders (SECD) is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with special needs, their families, schools, and communities.
The vision is that every individual with special needs will:
- Achieve maximum potential for learning.
- Communicate autonomously.
- Enjoy optimum health and well-being throughout the lifespan.
Students have the ability to choose to:
- Take one or a few classes of interest.
- Pursue the teaching endorsement or graduate certificate.
- Complete a graduate degree.
Mackenzie Savaiano coordinates the graduate program in Visual Impairments and her courses focus on assessment, educational planning and instructional methods for teachers of students with visual impairments (TVIs). Savaiano's primary interest is braille literacy.
To be accepted to this program, you must have:
A bachelor's degree
2.50 GPA or above on a 4.0 scale
Taken the GRE
Taken the TOEFL or IELTS
(Only required if English is not your native language)
A written personal statement
3 letters of recommendation
Official transcripts from all previous schools
To apply to this program:
- Apply and be admitted to Graduate Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
- Pay the non-refundable $50 application processing fee
- Submit one set of official transcripts from each college or university you have attended to Office of Graduate Studies
- Apply and be admitted to the department
- Fall Semester
- January 15
In addition to the required courses listed here, students also choose six credit hours electives in consultation with their adviser. Topics vary and course offerings will vary by semester.
|SPED 872 OR SPED 882||3|
SPED 872 Psychology and Sociology of Deafness OR SPED 882 Instructional Strategies for Students with Sever Disabilities
|SPED 960, SPED 860 OR SPED 861||3|
SPED 960 Family and School Collaboration, SPED 860 Issues in Early Childhood Special Education OR SPED 861 Infants with Disabilities and Home Visiting
Course Number: SPED 454
Techniques for managing children's challenging behaviors. Functional assessment of behavior problems, strategies for preventing behavior problems, techniques for increasing prosocial behavior, and non-aversive procedures for decreasing problematic behavior.
|Visual Impairment: Characteristics||3|
Course Number: SPED 846
An introduction to current educational programs and services for children with visual impairments, including children with additional disabilities. Topics include the history of educational services for this population, developmental characteristics, psychosocial aspects and current and past legislation.
|Etiologies of Student with Vital Impairments||3|
Course Number: SPED 847
Structure and function of the visual system, conditions that affect visual ability, and the functional and environmental implications of low vision. Strategies for enhancing visual ability in children with visual impairments and children who have additional disabilities. Conducting Functional Vision Assessments.
|Braille Codes and Material Adaptations||3|
Course Number: SPED 849
Basic skills in literary Braille transcription and codes. Acquire competence in reading and writing Braille and using the Perkins braillewriter and slate/stylus.
|Intermediate Braille Codes and Instructional Material Adaptations||3|
Course Number: SPED 851
Advanced skills in Nemeth (mathematics code) and/or Literary code. Basic activities in braille formatting, foreign language, music and identification of braille technology devices and resources.
|Instructional Methods for Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments||3|
Course Number: SPED 852
Methods and materials for educating children who are totally blind or have low vision, including students with multiple impairments. Practical skills in selecting, designing, and/or modifying materials for content area subjects: mathematics, science, social studies, creative arts, foreign language and other subjects.
|Applied Technology Methods||1|
Course Number: SPED 852A
Theory and skill development in the selection and use of technology for students with visual impairments. Technology assessments, data collection, equipment feature, source of equipment, funding sources, writing technology instructional plans and demonstration of using various equipment and technology.
|Applied Instructional Methods||2|
Course Number: SPED 852B
Practice using appropriate instructional methods and materials for educating the blind and low vision child.
|Orientation & Mobility I||3|
Course Number: SPED 853
Theory and applied practice in basic orientation and mobility techniques for use with students with visual impairments. Practical methods for work in concept development, orientation skills, travel skills and techniques, personal safety and independent travel. Needs of specific populations such as people with low vision and individuals with additional disabilities. Vision simulators and occluders. An introduction to the history and development of the profession.
|Sensory Disabilities: Itinerant Teaching Methods||3|
Course Number: SPED 875
Methods for providing services for students who are visually impaired and/or deaf or hard of hearing, using itinerant and consultative models. Professional and parent in-service development, team-based problem solving, curriculum based pull-out services. Ecological assessment; technologies; and use of interpreters and paraprofessionals.
Course Number: SPED 897
Laboratory and teaching experience in the area(s) of specialization.
Cost for Nebraska Residents
Per Credit Hour
- Tuition: $356.50
- Fees: $52.25
- Total: $408.75
3 Credit Hours
- Tuition: $1069.50
- Fees: $156.75
- Total: $1226.25
Cost for Out of State Residents
Per Credit Hour
- Tuition: $652.00
- Fees: $52.25
- Total: $704.25
3 Credit Hours
- Tuition: $1956.00
- Fees: $156.75
- Total: $2112.75
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What's it like to take a program online?
Quality learning experience
The University of Nebraska has offered distance education courses for more than 100 years so you can expect a quality, rigorous experience. Online courses are often highly interactive with faculty and students communicating through e-mail, discussion forums and chat groups. You’ll have direct access to world-class faculty – researchers who are experts in their fields or practitioners with real-world experience. Also, you’ll be part of a community of learners and can benefit from the perspectives of students from across the globe.
Online learning gives you the flexibility and freedom to attend your classes wherever is convenient to you. You can save time and money by being able to continue to work and by avoiding relocation or travel costs. You will be required to complete assignments in a certain timeframe, but in most instances, you can log in and complete coursework during the time of day that works best for you. You aren’t tied to a specific class time.
Service you expect from a leading University
Online learners at the University of Nebraska have access to the same student services available to on-campus students. An academic adviser will guide you along your journey, library services are available to help you excel in your program and career services are available when you are ready to take your next step. These are just a few of the services in place to help you succeed.