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 spring 2015. 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).
Meet your Instructors
Contact your Instructors
There are many ways to get in touch with your Capstone Course instructors: office hours and email are the most popular.
Office hours. Beginning in Module 3, office hours will be scheduled twice weekly and take place in what we call the Coffeehouse. This is a great opportunity to ask any questions you have or to just check in. You are welcome to come to as many office hours as you like, and we strongly encourage you to come to at least one. Even if you don’t have any questions, you can attend office hours to complete the tech check assignment. More information about the tech check assignment may be found here.
Email. 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.
Attendance. This may seem like an odd issue to address in an online course that is designed so that working professionals can complete their work asynchronously, according to their own needs. That said, as part of this course, you become part of our learning community. As a member of our community, we expect certain courtesies if you are unable to participate as expected. For instance, it is expected that when students make online appointments with instructors and classmates, or are required to provide feedback, that they are available and attend. If you are going to miss a meeting, please provide advance notice to all concerned. If you are traveling and know that you’ll be out of contact for a few days, or won’t be able to respond to incoming messages as quickly as normal, please give advance notice to your instructor and colleagues. Generally, our online classes are designed to give you flexibility — but this flexibility also comes with the assumption that you will participate actively as required by the course. If you do not attend an event, expect your instructor to contact you so that you can productively resolve any issues that result. Repeated “attendance” issues will result in a penalty of up to 1 full grade point, assessed by the instructor in consultation with program administration. Decisions will be taken after full consideration of each case.
Good news! There are no books or any other materials you need to purchase.
Your virtual house and peer feedback
Early in the course, you will be placed in a ‘virtual house,’ a group of students who will interact with you frequently. The purpose of this interaction will be to give and receive 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. However, if you are the first person to post in your house, you are not required to respond to anyone else, and if you are the second person to post in your house, you are required to only post to one another person in your house; of course, if you are the first or second person and would like to provide feedback in addition to the requirements, then you are more than welcome to do so.
In 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 provide cycles of review and feedback that will ensure quality portfolios by the time the course is over.
Please note that 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 portfolio approaches and different web-authoring tools. The early assignments in the course will guide 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 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 home page. Then, you add a resumé. By the time the course is over, you’ll have a full portfolio that you can be proud of!
- Cycles of feedback – At each step along the way, there are many types of feedback to help you build that full portfolio. You’ll be getting feedback every week from members of your virtual house. You’ll 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.
- An exhibition – Near the end of the course, your efforts will be highlighted in an exhibition of your work to a small group of your peers and instructors. This is our online equivalent of the exhibit that an artist might have in a gallery to portray their work to a larger audience.
- 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 reading. We will ask you to read some text to provide context, suggestions, and food for thought. However, these pieces are very short and are 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 each contribute 1-4 points to your total grade for a total of 30 points, which is 30% of your overall grade. For example, the biggest of these weekly assignments (4 points) will be the online exhibition of your work. The points associated with each module will be clearly specified in that module. For example, Module 4 has 2 points associated with it: 1 point for submitting your resumé 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 them to an authentic audience: whomever you envision your portfolio reaching most effectively. Your portfolio will be evaluated based on completeness (i.e., whether major components such as the annotated transcript and synthesis essay 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 to 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 to just design “something”—a start, a first 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 after 48 hours 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 about 2% of your grade (some modules represent more). It is okay if you miss a week or are late once: 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:
|00 – 64.99||0.0|
|65 – 69.99||1.0|
|70 – 74.99||1.5|
|75 – 79.99||2.0|
|80 – 84.99||2.5|
|85 – 89.99||3.0|
|90 – 94.99||3.5|
|95 – 100||4.0|
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 life happens to our students—it does for all of us, too. 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 your MSU email address. You must check this account during the semester or have it forward to your main email account. Please also make sure that email you receive through D2L is set up to forward to your http://mail.msu.edu account; this should be the case by default, but we occasionally have students who experience trouble with this.
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 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, we encourage you to think carefully about the personal/private boundaries that you need to establish and make choices accordingly. The degree to which you share personal details is up to each of you.
There are important privacy boundaries, however. For example, all instructor feedback is given to you 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 2/6/2015. The last day to drop this course with no refund and no grade reported is 3/4/2015. 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.)
Therefore, unless authorized by your instructor, you are expected to complete all course assignments, including homework, lab work, quizzes, tests and exams, without assistance from any source. You are expected to develop original work for this course; therefore, you may not submit course work you completed for another course to satisfy the requirements for this course. Also, you are not authorized to use the www.allmsu.com web site to complete any course work in this course. Students who violate MSU academic integrity rules may receive a penalty grade, including a failing grade on the assignment or in the course. Contact your instructor if you are unsure about the appropriateness of your course work. (See also the Academic Integrity webpage.)
Academic honesty violation procedures – If an instructor believes the academic honesty policy has been violated, they will follow procedures as outlined on the Academic Integrity webpage.
Accommodations for students with disabilities – From the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD): Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Requests for accommodations by persons with disabilities may be made by contacting the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities at 517-884-RCPD or on the web at rcpd.msu.edu. Once your eligibility for an accommodation has been determined, you will be issued a Verified Individual Services Accommodation (“VISA”) form. Please present this form to me at the start of the term and/or two weeks prior to the accommodation date (test, project, etc.). Requests received after this date may not be honored.
Use of Media Derived from the Class – As members of a learning community, students are expected to respect the intellectual property of course instructors. All course materials presented to students are the copyrighted property of the course instructor and are subject to the following conditions of use:
- Students may (may not) record lectures or any other classroom activities and use the recordings only for their own course-related purposes.
- Students may (may not) share the recordings with other students enrolled in the class. Sharing is limited to using the recordings only for their own course-related purposes.
- Students may (may not) not post the recordings or other course materials online or distribute them to anyone not enrolled in the class without the advance written permission of the course instructor and, if applicable, any students whose voice or image is included in the recordings.
- Any student violating the conditions described above may face academic disciplinary sanctions.
Please note that this course website will remain available to you for at least a week following the end of the course date. Once the course is closed, the instructors will not re-open the course to students at a later date.
Thanks to Dr. Patrick Dickson for his thoughtful design and execution of ED870. Much of the structure and 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.