Welcome to my Mini-Course! This is a photo of me from my first day of teaching in September 2021.

Return to: ETAP 623 Spring 2022 (Byrne) | Shannon Gallagher - Mini Course

About Me

Hello! My name is Shannon Gallagher and I am in the Curriculum Development and Instructional Design Masters program at UAlbany! I am also currently in my first year of teaching 7th grade Special Education at a small school in the Finger Lakes region of New York!

My current role as a Special Education teacher is in the Integrated Co-Taught (ICT) classroom setting in all of "core area" classes (Math, English, Science, and Social Studies). I also teach multiple Math and ELA Academic Intervention Services (AIS) classes.

In my time outside of the classroom you will most likely find me spending time with my friends and family! Some of my favorite activities include playing golf, exploring the Finger Lakes, shopping, and cooking/baking!

My Topic and Purpose

Intent of Project: Strategies for Supporting Flexible Path and Pace in the Special Education Classroom

The intent of this course is to provide educators with strategies to support flexible path and pace for special education students. Flexible path and pace is a key component of supporting the individual needs of special education students.

Topics that will be covered:

  • What is flexible path and pace?
  • What is the importance of path and pace?
  • How does flexible path and pace support individual students' needs?
  • How can educators implement flexible path and pace?

Scope of Learning Outcomes and Content

Learners will be able to:

  • Identify examples of flexible path and pace in the classroom
  • Understand the importance of path and pace
  • Apply strategies for flexible path and pace in the classroom
  • Choose to allow for flexible path and pace in the classroom

Needs Assessment

The Instructional Problem:

A key element of personalized learning is flexible path and pace. Flexible path and pace is an idea that has grown in recent years due to an increase of available instructional technologies that can adapt content to meet the individual needs of every student. With an understanding that content can be individualized to each student and their personal needs, the next step is to allow students to navigate said content through various paths (modes of instruction, varying materials) when and where they need to. All students have differing learning styles, therefore, they need to have multiple avenues to gain an understanding of a common content, or goal. While teachers are aware of the need for flexible path and pace, it can be a challenge to plan and account for multiple modes of instruction and learning that hits at the needs of every student.

What Will Be Learned:

In this course, learners will be exposed to flexible path and pace, and its importance - especially within the context of special education. Learners will find resources for implementation, as well as real life applications of flexible path and pace across the four core content areas (Math, Science, English, and Social Studies) in accordance with New York State standards. This includes an overview of instructional design and an introduction to various digital resources to support differentiated lesson planning. The course will also allow learners to explore the "pros and cons" of student-centered versus teacher-centered instruction. Throughout this course learners will fully understand what an instructional need is. Further, learners will discover how flexible path and pace supports students' individual needs, and how to pinpoint what exactly those needs are.

Analysis of the Learner and Context

Analysis of Learners:

Due to the nature of this problem and the span of its implementation K-12, learners will be more than just classroom teachers looking to improve their instructional practices. Below are the learners that will benefit from this course:

  • Classroom Teachers
  • School Administrators
  • Professors of Education
  • Instructional Designers
  • Student Teachers
  • Board of Education Members
  • Paraprofessionals

With a consideration of the variety of people partaking in this course, and their current levels of understanding of flexible path and pace unknown, it is important that this mini-course be formatted in a way that is accessible to both veterans and novices. By designing this course with a diverse audience in mind, it allows for fewer barriers in conversation between the groups of learners as they all come from different backgrounds and experiences.

Context for Learning:

This course will be taught in a fully online format. Four main topics will be covered throughout this course, and the topics will be broken down into units. To model flexible path and pace strategies, this course will be learner driven, as learners can work through the units at their own pace. Throughout the units there will be multiple check-points for understanding. In order to access this course learners will need access to a device such as a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or other similar device that allows viewing of websites, videos, graphics, etc.

Exploring the Problem and Solution:

This course will guide participants to an understanding of the need for having opportunities for flexible path and pace. Course participants will understand that in order for students with diverse needs to be successful academically they need a variety resources and of modes of instruction available to them.


The goal for this course is for educators to gain an understanding on the need for flexible path and pace. Further, educators will gain access to a variety of tools to help implement flexible path and pace in their classrooms.

Performance-Based Objectives

Learners will be able to do the following at the end of this mini-course:

  • Describe the need for, and benefits of flexible path and pace for all students
  • Given a grade level, identify appropriate models and methods to implement flexible path and pace within lessons and activities

Task Analysis

Module 1: What is flexible path and pace, and why should we provide students with it?

At the end of this unit learners will be able to:

  • Define and recognize the importance flexible path and pace
  • Understand what the purpose of flexible path and pace is
  • Identify how flexible path and pace fits in personalized learning

Module 2: Identifying student needs and meeting them through flexible path and pace.

At the end of this unit learners will be able to:

  • Understand what a students' need can be, and interpret how to best meet them
  • Understand what a needs assessment is and complete one
  • Define what a content analysis is
  • Organize materials to prepare to teach various needs

Module 3: Tools and strategies for implementing flexible path and pace.

At the end of this unit learners will be able to:

  • Define what a playlist is
  • Understand the benefits of implementing a playlist
  • Create a list of appropriate technologies to incorporate

Module 4: Exploring flexible path and pace through project based learning.

At the end of this unit learners will be able to:

  • Define project based learning
  • Brainstorm where they can apply flexible path and pace in their content area
  • Organize ideas to begin building a playlist

Curriculum Map

This is my curriculum map. Look here for details as to what to expect from each unit.

References and Resources

Shannon Gallagher's Mini-Course on Flexible Path and Pace in the Special Education Classroom