The Capstone Portfolio class is two courses, CEP807 and ED870 taught together. The goal of these courses was to help each student develop a web portfolio that shows in a rich, thoughtful way the work they completed in their masters program (MAET or MAED). Students developed these portfolios for an authentic audience, not just the instructors in the course. As they developed their portfolios, they kept in mind their peers, students, (potential) employers, and significant others so that their portfolios would have life beyond the course, and not collect dust after they graduate.
This course was taught in fall, 2014. I no longer want to maintain the full website for the course (because so many wordpress installs becomes difficult to manage from a security standpoint). Accordingly, I have archived the portfolios that students have created, and the syllabus below. If you’re interested in the full version of the course, http://capstone.matt-koehler.com/ should take you to the most recent version.
Below are the names of the students making portfolios this semester. Click on a name to see their portfolio (no guarantee it still exists or is maintained).
INSTRUCTORS (and their portfolios)
OFFICE HOURS & CONTACTING YOUR INSTRUCTORS
There are many ways to get a hold of your Capstone instructors: office hours & email are the most popular. Use the “Communicate” menu at the top of the course website to reach an instructor promptly. Make sure you put “Capstone Portfolio Course” in the title of any email, so that we can easily find your message in our inboxes.
We do not know of any better way to explain the course expectations than to say that our total focus in this class is to help you each end the course with a web portfolio that shows in a rich, thoughtful way the work you have done in your Master’s program, and which is written for your authentic audience, not just for us or for meeting the requirements of the Capstone Portfolio Course. We want you to look good in the eyes of your peers, your students, your (potential) employers, and your significant others. So please be thinking of this as your portfolio, not your instructors’. Also, think of your portfolio as something to be shared with others into the future, not one that is put away in some dusty file cabinet when this course is over.
Because we are focused on you and your audiences, we encourage you to feel free to be creative and diverse in the portfolios you create. This makes our job harder (and our expectations perhaps a bit ambiguous at times) but we really do want you to complete the Capstone Portfolio Course with a portfolio you are proud of, a deeper understanding of the power of the portfolio concept, and an expanded set of web publishing skills combined with some deep reflection about the power of web publishing in the lives of others you teach. That is not to say, however, that there are not some common requirements and guidelines that will help structure the great diversity, creativity, and originality that will span the range of portfolios that are possible. We’ll say more about that later as we go along.
There are a couple of things we’d like you to keep in mind.
First, each of you comes to the course with differing levels of technical expertise for web publishing. Several members of the class have never published web pages, but not to worry…many students during in previous semesters also began without this expertise. Other members of the class are experts in web publishing, and one has taught web design courses at a community college. We will be asking you to help each other, especially asking those who are experienced in web publishing. (More on this later)
Second, we are sure some of you would like to work quickly and complete your portfolios and be done. And in fact this course is strongly product oriented…our goal is for each of you to complete the course with a superb portfolio on the Web that showcases your work in the Master’s. We really want you to look good on the Web… and you will. But equally important in this course is for you to discuss your ideas with others in the class and to give lots of feedback and encouragement to your study buddies. And that won’t work if we don’t work through the assignments module by module.You know this dilemma we face as teachers. Students naturally would like to know what is expected in the course, but as teachers we recognize the value in unveiling or rolling out assignments week by week, or in this case, module by module. So when this week we give you the opportunity to see the scope of requirements and the kinds of work the previous class did, you will have a detailed look at what the semester has in store….and you can begin thinking about and gathering the information you need to complete your portfolio, and even work ahead if you want to. But realize, there are times when you might have to “work back” to the rest of your classmates to complete group-oriented mini-assignments. Not everyone may be as far ahead as you.
One other conceptual idea we would like you to keep in mind is that the power of web-based portfolios comes from the sharing of good work via the Web over time with a community of learners. You will learn a lot this week because the students before you left their work up on the web for you to see. And related to this idea is our obsession with your doing authentic work for an authentic audience. Your portfolio should not be designed for the master’s requirement, but should be designed for your fellow teachers, parents, prospective employers, etc.
Good news! There are no books are any other materials you need to purchase. All readings are available online.
YOUR VIRTUAL HOUSE & PEER FEEDBACK
Early in the course, you will be placed in a ‘virtual house,’ or large group of students who you will interact with frequently. The nexus of this interaction will be about giving and receiving good feedback from one another as you complete portions of your portfolio. In every course module, you will post something in your house about the work you did, and then provide feedback to two others in your house about the work that they did. You also receive feedback from two others.
Each module we’ll give you specific things to include in your post and in your feedback to others. Together, you and your housemates will help provide cycles of review and feedback that will ensure quality portfolios by the time the course is over.
Please note, this is above and beyond the feedback that you will receive from your course instructors, which will also be a valuable source of input.
WHAT YOU WILL BE DOING
You don’t just create a portfolio from scratch – just as Rome wasn’t built in a day. How do you build a portfolio in one semester then?
A “figure it out” period – Built into the early weeks of the course is a period of time for you to evaluate different approaches to portfolios and different web-authoring tools. The early assignments in the course will take you through the decision process, so if you’re feeling a little nervous about this, please relax.You’ll get to choose the approach and tools that work for you, only after trying a few out.
A series of progressive assignments – In this course, we use a series of smaller assignments to slowly build up the portfolio, piece by piece. You start with just making a page. Then, you add a resume. By the time the course is over, you’ll have something to be proud of.
Cycles of Feedback – At each step along the way, there are many types of feedback to help you build something to be proud of. You’ll be getting feedback every week from members of your virtual house. You also get reviews from the instructors, and from the final portfolio exhibition. Each round of feedback is meant to provide opportunities to revise your work, and make it better.
Reflecting on your Experiences in your Master’s Program – Some of the assignments are going to ask you to think critically about your experiences to date in the Master’s program. This is, after all, a capstone course. It is designed to make you think, reflect, and synthesize across all of your course experiences. These will take the form of thoughtful essays that will become part of your web portfolio.
Minimal Reading, Maximal Doing – The course is designed to have you do minimal outside reading. We will provide you some text to provide context, some suggestions, some food for thought. However, these pieces are very short, and designed to help you place the work you are doing in context, and to help you think about the bigger ideas embedded in the work. They may help you think about these ideas in your own teaching as well.
There are two components to your grade.
|Each week there are a number of activities that are designed to help you build your portfolio step by step. These activities result from 2-5 points in your total grade, for a total of 30 points, and 30% of your overall grade. The points associated with each module are clearly specified in each module. For example, Module 4 has 2 points associated with it – 1 point for submitting your resume and 1 point for providing feedback to peers.|
|The largest component of your grade will be the quality of your final portfolio. All of the smaller assignments along the way are designed to scaffold your development of a portfolio that demonstrates your accomplishments and communicates to an authentic audience. Your portfolio will be evaluated based on completeness (e.g., major components such as coursework page, synthesis paper, etc. are complete and meet the requirements given in the assignments), quality of writing, and quality of web design. These elements will be graded at the end of the semester, giving you the freedom to post “work in progress” along the way and get helpful feedback from your classmates and from us. (This component will be 70% of your final grade. This means that doing a great portfolio alone is not enough to pass the course. Responsible and timely participation in this community of learners is also a requirement.)|
LATE WORK. We’ve worked hard to design the course as a series of activities, along a timeline, that works towards getting most people a complete a high quality portfolio on time. We hope you stick to the deadline, as we believe it is best for you in the long run. Most of our weekly modules ask you just design “something” – a start, a 1st draft, a placeholder – rather than a finished product. You can always improve on it later. In most cases as long as you do “something,” you’ll get most of the credit for the activity.
We realize, however, that circumstances arise from time to time that may require to you need extra time for an assignment. That is okay, so long as you contact us *before* the due date, to make a suitable alternate schedule that fits the circumstances.
Policy for late work without prior notice – Work received up to 48 hours after the deadline without prior notice may receive up to 1/2 credit. Work received up to 48 hours without prior notice will receive no points.
Keeping perspective – Each of the modules presents a series of activities that moves you towards a final portfolio. However, each module only represents 2% of your grade (modules 9-11 are more). It is okay if you miss a week, or are late, you can still receive a good grade in the course. Habitual lateness, however, can be costly. Together, the module assignments total 30% of your grade, and you wouldn’t want to miss all those points.
Final grades are assigned in the course according to the following:
If you email an instructor, you will generally receive a response within 24 hours. If we email you, we would like you to respond within 48 hours. If an “out of office assistant” or “vacation notification” email indicates that you are unavailable, we will certainly take that into consideration.
We certainly understand that, as students, life happens—it does for all of us. If you are having difficulty with the course or with the completion of assignments please email us right away, before things get out of hand.
All official course communication will be conducted via MSU Mail. You must check your MSU Mail account during the semester. Make sure you have your D2L email forwarding to your http://mail.msu.edu account, as this will ensure that you receive all class communication.
PUBLIC WORK AND PRIVACY
This course, like other courses in your program, requires students to create work and share work publicly on the web. Sometimes, this work will be in draft form. Sometimes this work will be openly reviewed by peers who will provide thoughtful and respectful feedback. Usually, work will be hosted on students’ websites.
We ask students to engage in this type of public activity for several reasons. Sharing work in draft form with others instills a design mindset; showcasing professional learning on the web highlights skill development for multiple stakeholders in the student’s professional learning network; using multiple technologies to explore, create, and share work helps students to develop advanced skills and dispositions for technology integration in learning contexts. Participation in these activities is essential. Managing your online presence and identity, however, is an important part of this process.
As a student and a professional, it is important to consider the online identity that you create for yourself. To participate in the college of education learning community, your work has to be publicly visible. However, you are encouraged to think carefully about the personal/private boundaries that they need to establish, and make choices accordingly. The degree to which you share personal details is up to each student.
There are important privacy boundaries, however. For example, all instructor feedback is given to students privately. Constructive suggestions, grades, and all other communications are conducted via email, password protected forums, or in the course management system grade book.
MSU, COLLEGE, AND PROGRAM POLICIES
MSU Minimum GPA Policy – MSU, the College, the CEPSE Department, and the MAET program all have a policy that requires MA students to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA. “If, upon completion of 18 or more graduate credits, the student has not attained a grade– point average of 3.00 or higher, he or she becomes ineligible to continue work toward the master’s degree in the College.” – from Academic Standards, University Graduate Policy – Education, p. 1.
MSU Minimum course grade policy – There is also a policy regarding credit and grades for MA courses. According to MSU policy, students cannot receive credit for any course with a grade below 2.0. You will have to take an extra course if you earn below a 2.0 grade on any course.
Drops and Adds – The last day to add this course is the end of the first week of classes. The last day to drop this course with a 100 percent refund and no grade reported is 6/4/2014. The last day to drop this course with no refund and no grade reported is 6/27/2014. You should immediately make a copy of your amended schedule to verify you have added or dropped this course.
Academic Honesty and Integrity – Article 2.3.3 of the Academic Freedom Report states that “The student shares with the faculty the responsibility for maintaining the integrity of scholarship, grades, and professional standards.”In addition, the MAET program in the CEPSE Department adheres to the policies on academic honesty as specified in General Student Regulations 1.0, Protection of Scholarship and Grades; the all-University Policy on Integrity of Scholarship and Grades; and Ordinance 17.00, Examinations. (See Spartan Life: Student Handbook and Resource Guide and/or the MSU Web site: www.msu.edu.)
Academic honesty violation procedures – If an instructor believes the academic honesty policy has been violated, they will procedures as outlined on the Academic Integrity webpage.
Accommodations for students with disabilities – Thanks to Patrick Dickson for his thoughtful design and execution of ED870. Much of structure, as well as text, used in this course are his original work. I have also taken inspiration, and assignments from Dr. Robin Dickson’s version of this course, CEP807. I, of course, have made some changes to suit my own style, preferences, and perspectives. But this course could not have been offered without the hard work of either of the Drs. Dickson.