Teaching Diversity:

Influences & Issues in the Classroom


Instructor Name:          Dr. Karen Lea

Phone:                         509-891-7219

Office Hours:               8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST Monday - Friday

Email:                          karen_lea@virtualeduc.com

Address:                      Virtual Education Software

                                    16201 E Indiana Ave, Suite 1450

                                    Spokane, WA 99216

Technical Support:       support@virtualeduc.com



Welcome to Teaching Diversity: Influences & Issues in the Classroom, an interactive computer-based instruction course designed to give you the knowledge and tools to facilitate a diverse classroom effectively. This course will help you understand and identify differences in approaches to learning and performance, including different learning styles and ways in which students demonstrate learning. This course will emphasize understanding how students’ learning is influenced by individual experiences, talents, disabilities, gender, language, culture, family, and community values. You will be challenged to apply knowledge of the richness of contributions from our diverse society to your teaching field.


This computer-based instruction course is a self-supporting program that provides instruction, structured practice, and evaluation all on your home or school computer.  Technical support information can be found, in the Help section of your course.


Course Materials (Online)

Title:                Teaching Diversity: Influences & Issues in the Classroom

Instructor:        Dr. Karen Lea

Publisher:         Virtual Education Software, inc. 2005, Revised 2010, Revised 2014, Revised 2017


Academic Integrity Statement

The structure and format of most distance-learning courses presume a high level of personal and academic integrity in completion and submission of coursework. Individuals enrolled in a distance-learning course are expected to adhere to the following standards of academic conduct.


Academic Work

Academic work submitted by the individual (such as papers, assignments, reports, tests) shall be the student’s own work or appropriately attributed, in part or in whole, to its correct source. Submission of commercially prepared (or group prepared) materials as if they are one’s own work is unacceptable.


Aiding Honesty in Others

The individual will encourage honesty in others by refraining from providing materials or information to another person with knowledge that these materials or information will be used improperly.


Violations of these academic standards will result in the assignment of a failing grade and subsequent loss of credit for the course.


Level of Application

This course is designed to be an informational course with application to educational settings. The strategies were designed to be used to aid in teaching students in a diverse classroom ranging from K-12. The strategies are general in nature, are not intended to be prescriptive, and are not intended to be used as a formula. As is true of all information, the information covered in this course should not be used to stereotype any students based on cultural, ethnic, gender, etc. differences.


Learning Outcomes:

As a result of this course, participants will demonstrate their ability to:

·         Reflect through online exams how participants can combine and apply their knowledge of

learning styles and teaching theories in a multicultural classroom. Participants will be challenged to honestly

evaluate their own attitudes and teaching, and to change those if necessary in order to teach so that all students

succeed in their classrooms.

·         Analyze how poverty issues in our society affect the students in classrooms.

·         Gather information from several sources on individual student cultures, knowledge, skills, language proficiencies,
and interests.

·         Gather information from several sources on individual students’ special needs.

·         Discuss development patterns of classroom interactions that are friendly and demonstrate general caring and respect.

·         Apply a system that responds successfully to disrespectful behavior among students.

·         Employ behavioral intervention to remediate disruptive, negative, and/or self-destructive behavior.

·         Employ positive framing to model and reinforce appropriate student behavior and redirect inappropriate student behavior.

·         Initiate regular communication with families to discuss class and individual activities.


Course Description

This course is designed to help classroom teachers, school counselors, and other educational personnel gain strategies to understand how our diverse society influences student learning in the classroom. Participants will explore issues of culture, gender, and individuals with exceptionalities, and how these affect a student’s learning and behavior in the classroom.


The course is divided into four chapters. At the completion of each chapter, there will be an examination covering the material. Students must complete the examination before proceeding to the next chapter. This sequential approach to learning will help all participants to gain a better understanding of what they have learned as they proceed through the course.


Although this course is a presentation of societal issues and how these affect the classroom, there is certainly a wealth of research and topics not covered in the scope of this course. The instructor highly recommends that you augment your readings from this course with further research to gain a fuller understanding of the complexities of this subject. In addition to what is required in this course and your individual research, the instructor recommends that you read research from the authors found in the reference section of this syllabus.


Student Expectations 

As a student you will be expected to:

·         Complete all four information sections showing a competent understanding of the material presented in each section.

·         Complete all four section examinations, showing a competent understanding of the material presented.  You must obtain an overall score of 70% or higher, with no individual exam score below 50%, and successfully complete ALL writing assignments to pass this course. *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete a review of any section on which your examination score was below 50%.

·         Retake any examination, after completing an information review, to increase that examination score to a minimum of 50%, making sure to also be achieving an overall exam score of a minimum 70% (maximum of three attempts). *Please note: Minimum exam score requirements may vary by college or university; therefore, you should refer to your course addendum to determine what your minimum exam score requirements are.

·         Complete all course journal article and essay writing assignments with the minimum word count shown for each writing assignment.

·         Complete a course evaluation form at the end of the course.


Course Overview

Chapter 1:  Teaching in a Diverse Classroom This chapter explores how our society has changed, the diversity of our society as a whole, and the diversity of the community in which the participant lives and works.


Chapter 2: Race, Ethnicity & Culture – This chapter explores research norms about race, ethnicity, and culture while challenging individuals to refrain from using this information to stereotype, but instead to use it as a foundation to start understanding people as individuals. Participants are challenged to evaluate their own attitudes and teaching honestly, and to change them if necessary in order to teach so that all students succeed in their classrooms.


Chapter 3: Gender Differences & Gang Influences – This chapter explores research norms about gender differences while challenging individuals to refrain from using this information to stereotype. Participants are challenged to evaluate their own attitudes and teaching honestly, and to change them if necessary in order to teach so that all students succeed in their classrooms. In addition, the influence of gangs is discussed.


Chapter 4: Socioeconomic Issues & Social Justice – This chapter explores socioeconomic issues in our society and how they affect the students in your classroom while challenging individuals to refrain from using this information to stereotype. Participants are challenged to evaluate their own attitudes and teaching honestly, and to change them if necessary in order to teach so that all students succeed in their classrooms.



At the end of each chapter, you will be expected to complete an examination designed to assess your knowledge. You may take these exams a total of three times.  Your last score will save, not the highest score.  After your third attempt, each examination will lock and not allow further access.  The average from your exam scores will be printed on your certificate.  However, this is not your final grade since your required writing assignments have not been reviewed.  Exceptionally written or poorly written required writing assignments, or violation of the academic integrity policy in the course syllabus, will affect your grade.  As this is a self-paced computerized instruction program, you may review course information as often as necessary. You will not be able to exit any examinations until you have answered all questions. If you try to exit the exam section before you complete all questions, your information will be lost. You are expected to complete the entire exam in one sitting.


Writing Assignments

All assignments are reviewed and may impact your final grade.  Exceptionally or poorly written assignments, or violation of the Academic Integrity Policy (see course syllabus for policy), will affect your grade. Fifty percent of your grade is determined by your writing assignments, and your overall exam score determines the other fifty percent.  Refer to the Essay Grading Guidelines which were sent as an attachment with your original course link. You should also refer to the Course Syllabus Addendum which was sent as an attachment with your original course link, to determine if you have any writing assignments in addition to the Critical Thinking Questions (CTQ) and Journal Article Summations (JAS).  If you do, the Essay Grading Guidelines will also apply.


Your writing assignments must meet the minimum word count and are not to include the question or your final citations as part of your word count.  In other words, the question and citations are not to be used as a means to meet the minimum word count.


Critical Thinking Questions

There are four CTQs that you are required to complete. You will need to write a minimum of 500 words (maximum 1,000) per essay. You should explain how the information that you gained from the course will be applied and clearly convey a strong understanding of the course content as it relates to each CTQ.   To view the questions, click on REQUIRED ESSAY and choose the CTQ that you are ready to complete; this will bring up a screen where you may enter your essay.  Prior to course submission, you may go back at any point to edit your essay, but you must be certain to click SAVE once you are done with your edits.


You must click SAVE before you write another essay or move on to another part of the course.



Journal Article Summations

You are required to write, in your own words, a summary on a total of three peer-reviewed or scholarly journal articles (one article per JAS), written by an author with a Ph.D., Ed.D. or similar, on the topic outlined within each JAS section in the “Required Essays” portion of the course (blogs, abstracts, news articles or similar are not acceptable). Your article choice must relate specifically to the discussion topic listed in each individual JAS. You will choose a total of three relevant articles (one article per JAS) and write a thorough summary of the information presented in each article (you must write a minimum of 200 words with a 400 word maximum per JAS). Be sure to provide the URL or the journal name, volume, date, and any other critical information to allow the facilitator to access and review each article. 


To write your summary, click on REQUIRED ESSAYS and choose the JAS that you would like to complete. A writing program will automatically launch where you can write your summary. When you are ready to stop, click SAVE.  Prior to course submission you may go back at any point to edit your summaries but you must be certain to click SAVE once you are done with your edits. For more information on the features of this assignment, please consult the HELP menu.


You must click SAVE before you write another summary or move on to another part of the course.


Instructor Description

Karen Lea holds a Ph.D. in education. Dr. Lea has fifteen years’ experience teaching at the K-12 level and another fourteen years’ experience teaching education courses at the undergraduate and post-graduate level. Currently she is a coordinator for a cadre of instructional developers and project manager for aerospace online training. Dr. Lea has been professionally published over fifteen times and has served on over a dozen panels and boards, including serving on the NCATE (CAEP) Board of Examiners.


Contacting the Instructor

You may contact the instructor by emailing karen_lea@virtualeduc.com or by calling (509) 891-7219, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. PST.  Phone messages will be answered within 24 hours. Phone conferences will be limited to ten minutes per student, per day, given that this is a self-paced instructional program. Please do not contact the instructor about technical problems, course glitches, or other issues that involve the operation of the course.


Technical Questions

If you have questions or problems related to the operation of this course, please try everything twice. If the problem persists please check our support pages for FAQs and known issues at www.virtualeduc.com and also the Help section of your course.


If you need personal assistance then email support@virtualeduc.com or call (509) 891-7219.  When contacting technical support, please know your course version number (it is located at the bottom left side of the Welcome Screen) and your operating system, and be seated in front of the computer at the time of your call. 


Minimum Computer Requirements

Please refer to VESi’s website: www.virtualeduc.com or contact VESi if you have further questions about the compatibility of your operating system.


Refer to the addendum regarding Grading Criteria, Course Completion Information, Items to be Submitted and how to submit your completed information. The addendum will also note any additional course assignments that you may be required to complete that are not listed in this syllabus.



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Course content is updated every three years. Due to this update timeline, some URL links may no longer be active or may have changed. Please type the title of the organization into the command line of any Internet browser search window and you will be able to find whether the URL link is still active or any new link to the corresponding organization's web home page.


Updated 12/15/17 JN