MODULE 10 (Nov 8 – Nov 14)

In this module, you will prepare your “buddy checks”—two extensive reviews of your classmates’ portfolios. You will also receive two checks on your own portfolio. The goal is to review the feedback you receive from these buddy checks and get your portfolio as polished as possible before your final exhibition.

Also, this is the last week to do your Tech Check—please complete it by the end of this module.

 

Basic Assignment(s)

  • Review Last Week’s Feedback – Before you start on your new task, make sure you review your feedback from last week. Taking the time to make adjustments each week will lead to a more helpful review of your overall portfolio from peers in their Flipgrid feedback and buddy checks this week.
  • Prepare Your Portfolio – Spend at least a little bit of time reviewing your portfolio before your buddies do.
    • Please make sure that everything on your portfolio is accessible!
    • Does the link in your Gravatar (from our class roster page) go to your current portfolio?
    • If there are any password-protected pages, have you shared the passwords with your buddies? (More info on who those people are, below)
    • It will also be helpful to make as many improvements as you can to previous assignments before your buddies begin—that way you get feedback on your latest and greatest efforts!
  • Identify Your Buddies – For your buddy checks, you will give detailed feedback to two classmates. Who you give feedback to is based upon the exhibition signup form. Once an exhibition is full (you might have to wait), your exhibition will have four group members (in some circumstances only three spots are allowed). For example,
    1. Lando Calrissian, cloudcityadmin@msu.edu, http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Lando_Calrissian
    2. Lagy Gaga, pokerface@msu.edu, http://www.ladygaga.com/
    3. Miley Cyrus, wreckingball@msu.edu, http://www.mileycyrus.com/
    4. Malcom Reynods, brownshirts4ever@msu.edu, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_Reynolds

    Buddy_Check_CircleThink of the slots as a circle (see image), and you give buddy checks to your neighbors.

    For example, slot 2 (Lady Gaga) will give feedback to the students in slots 1 (Lando) and 3 (Miley).

  • Review Portfolios – We ask that you spend 60 minutes (or more, if you wish) perusing your first buddy’s portfolio (and then repeat for your second buddy!). While we don’t want to limit what you consider, we would recommend you look for aspects such as:
    • things that are done particularly well
    • unique, creative, and personal components that stand out
    • writing mechanical issues: spelling, grammar, wording
    • formatting issues: alignment, overlapping, consistency of font
  • Write your Reviews – Given all of the items you might comment on, we expect these postings to be rather long, informative, substantive, specific, and constructive. We do not want to put a specific length, but it is difficult to imagine doing a good buddy check in less than 749 words. We know you have provided a lot of video feedback, so this is an opportunity to provide written feedback to your buddies. Here are some examples of high-quality buddy checks that do a good job being specific, complimentary, and critical:
  • What format should you put your review in? – We try not to get too formulaic when it comes to a buddy check. Even within the expectations that we list, we have seen a lot of different strategies and formats that have worked for students in the past. If you’re looking for some advice, here are some examples that we think have worked pretty well:
  • Share Your Feedback with your Buddy and Instructors – Email your buddy with an attachment or a link to your feedback.
    • You can get email addresses from our roster page, the exhibition signup page, or their portfolio (which hopefully has a “contact me” option).
    • Make sure to include “capstone_instructors@matt-koehler.com” in the email or sharing invitation.
    • Note: Our email filters may catch your email if it is very large. If this happens you will receive an email letting you know that your email is waiting “moderator approval.” Not to worry! We will approve your email as soon as we can.

Grading Summary

Each assignment in this course is important for developing your abilities to design and implement your portfolio. There are 100 total points assigned in this course; the specific assignments in this module will count towards your grade as follows:

  • (2 points) – You have to complete a Tech Check sometime before the end of this module. This requirement is worth 2 points and is explained in “Elaboration” below.
  • (2 points) – Each buddy check is worth up to one point, based upon providing up to 749+ words of high quality feedback that was shared with buddies and instructors.
  • (Coming up) – The quality of your video reflections and video feedback in this module will be self-assessed (with some guidance) in Module 11. There, you will give yourself between 0 and 5 points for your efforts across Modules 6 through 11.

Elaboration

Tech Check Requirements

Finding ways to meet face-to-face in an online class can be tough, but we’ve found that it’s worth it, especially for your exhibition in Module 11. To make exhibitions go smoothly and to give you some additional opportunities for face-to-face feedback, we require you to check out the Capstone Coffeehouse technology at least once by the end of Module 10. In short, the Capstone Coffeehouse is Zoom – the video conferencing software we use in this course.

You can find some general information on using the Capstone Coffeehouse here. To fulfill this requirement (and get your points), you must specifically do four things:

  • Check video: Make sure that your webcam is working and that you (and others) show up on the screen when you join the Coffeehouse. This should happen automatically.
  • Check audio: Make sure that you can hear other people in the Coffeehouse and that they can hear you. Zoom, the Coffeehouse technology, should ask you for permission to use your speakers and microphone once you join. In a few cases, though, this takes a little fiddling to get it to work properly.
  • Check chat: Make sure that you know how to open the chat window in Zoom (the Coffeehouse technology) and that you can read and write messages properly. If you’re using the Zoom desktop client, the Chat button should appear at the bottom of the Zoom window.
  • Check a page: You (and each of your classmates) should take a few minutes to share a page that you’ve recently completed. If possible, make this a Piece of Flair page, but you really have free range on what you’d like to look at. Have some specific questions and concerns in mind: What are you trying to accomplish with this page? What are you still struggling with? This is a great chance to “practice” for the end-of-semester exhibitions and to get some more face-to-face feedback, which capstone students consistently point to as one their most valuable experiences.

For most people, the Tech Check is a quick and easy assignment, but problems do occasionally occur. If you are experiencing frustration with the Tech Check, keep in mind that it’s better to experience this during the Tech Check than during the exhibition! Also, please remember what you had to do to get past the difficult spots, just in case they come up again.

There are two ways to complete the Tech Check: through office half hours or with a classmate.

Office half hours (if you prefer to talk to instructors)

In addition to talking about your portfolio during an office half hours session, you can carry out the Tech Check with the instructor who is running office half hours. Just mention that you’d like to take care of your Tech Check, and she or he will walk you through the steps and make sure to give you the points!

Classmate (if you prefer to talk to your fellow educators)

The great thing about the Coffeehouse technology is that it is available 24/7. If one of the office half hours sessions doesn’t work for you or you would prefer to meet with a classmate instead, you can schedule a time to meet with a classmate in the Coffeehouse and take care of the Tech Check on your own. Walk through the four specific steps listed above, and once you’ve made sure that everything works for all of you, send us an email to let us know that you took care of everything. While this should be a short email, please include enough detail that we know who you worked with and that you walked through all four steps together.

What should I do with the feedback I receive?

Equally important as giving good feedback is learning how to receive good feedback. We have a few tips for receiving feedback:

  1. Take time to process the feedback. Carefully review the feedback you received and take time to go through it. We can sometimes read constructive feedback as critical feedback, but this feedback may be especially helpful to the development of your portfolio. If some of the feedback seems critical, taking time to see the value in it can be helpful.
  2. Think through how the feedback applies to your portfolio. While we trust that the feedback you receive will be helpful, there are always opportunities to think through how the feedback applies to your portfolio. For example, specific feedback about how to organize a specific page may not make sense given your audience and goals, but the feedback may still be helpful in terms of the need to organize it to be easier to navigate. Other feedback may be helpful and aligned with the rubric and assignment descriptions, but you think that you have a good reason for designing a page or your portfolio in a specific way. In these cases where your design may not align with feedback you receive, please feel free to reach out to the person providing it—or us—to clarify and expand on the feedback. We are always happy to help with this in any way we can.
  3. Make a plan for changes, but recognize that some may take longer than others. If portfolios are to be authentic and ongoing, everyone needs some flexibility in when they will introduce all of the changes that have been suggested. If you simply don’t have time to make a particular change to your portfolio (especially if the change isn’t a critical part of the assignment requirements), try to leave a record of the suggested change and go back to it later. Think of these as not as an “IOU” but as an “IOM,” meaning something “I Owe Myself.” Of course, you are also free to say, “My portfolio was actually perfect before the feedback and there was really nothing I learned from feedback that was worth treating seriously, so I’ve made no changes as a result of the experience.” We think that’s highly unlikely to happen, though.
When are office half hours?

Office half hours are optional times that instructors are available for you to meet online in our capstone coffeehouse to discuss your work, ask questions, or get additional feedback. They are completely and totally optional, although office half hours is one way you can meet the tech-check requirement.

Our office half hours are held in the capstone coffeehouse (under the “Communicate” menu). Our scheduled time for office half hours are below. Please note that all times reflect the Eastern Time Zone. Appointments are available too, details are at the bottom of this page.

Module TA Date Time
Module 3 Sarah Wednesday, September 13th 5:00pm to 5:30pm
Spencer Thursday, September 14th 7:30pm to 8:00pm
Module 4 Brittany Thursday, September 21st 8:00pm to 8:30pm
Spencer Tuesday, September 26th 8:00pm to 8:30pm
Module 5 Brittany Thursday, September 28th 8:30pm to 9:00pm
Spencer Monday, October 2nd 8:00pm to 8:30pm
Module 6 Sarah Wednesday, October 4th 4:00pm to 4:30pm
Sarah Monday, October 9th 4:00pm to 4:30pm
Module 7 Brittany Sunday, October 15th 8:00pm to 8:30pm
Spencer Tuesday, October 17th 7:30pm to 8:00pm
Module 8 Sarah Thursday, October 19th 8:30pm to 9:00pm
Brittany Monday, October 23rd 8:00pm to 8:30pm
Module 9 (Week 1) Spencer Saturday, October 28th 8:00pm to 8:30pm
Sarah Monday, October 30th 4:30pm to 5:00pm
Module 9 (Week 2) Brittany Thursday, November 2nd 8:00pm to 8:30pm
Spencer Monday, November 6th 7:30pm to 8:00pm
Module 10 Sarah Wednesday, November 8th 4:00pm to 4:30pm
Brittany Sunday, November 12th 8:00pm to 8:30pm

Exhibition preparation

Office half hours are opportunities to prepare for the end-of-semester exhibition in Module 11. This is particularly true from a technology perspective, since we want to help you iron out any bugs or problems well ahead of time. However, this is also true from a face-to-face perspective; one of the most common things we hear every semester is that people wish they had had more opportunities to meet with classmates and instructors face to face. Although we don’t have any “mid-semester exhibitions,” office half hours are meant to provide this kind of opportunity throughout the semester!

By appointment

If any of these times don’t work for you, and you need help or need to meet the Tech Check requirement by the end of Module 10, contact us to schedule an alternative time for you that works.

Please also keep in mind that you can use the Coffeehouse to meet with your classmates! If you’d like to get some face-to-face feedback from someone in your house, just set up a time to meet together and use the Coffeehouse to do it!

Where are office half hours?

Access office half hours by clicking the ☕ button on the menubar on the top of this page, or by reading our full overview of and instructions for the Coffeehouse.

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How do I complete the tech-check requirement?

Finding ways to meet face-to-face in an online class can be tough, but we’ve found that it’s worth it, especially for your exhibition in Module 11. To make exhibitions go smoothly and to give you some additional opportunities for face-to-face feedback, we require you to check out the Capstone Coffeehouse technology at least once by the end of Module 10. In short, the Capstone Coffeehouse is Zoom – the video conferencing software we use in this course.

You can find some general information on using the Capstone Coffeehouse here. To fulfill this requirement (and get your points), you must specifically do four things:

  • Check video: Make sure that your webcam is working and that you (and others) show up on the screen when you join the Coffeehouse. This should happen automatically.
  • Check audio: Make sure that you can hear other people in the Coffeehouse and that they can hear you. Zoom, the Coffeehouse technology, should ask you for permission to use your speakers and microphone once you join. In a few cases, though, this takes a little fiddling to get it to work properly.
  • Check chat: Make sure that you know how to open the chat window in Zoom (the Coffeehouse technology) and that you can read and write messages properly. If you’re using the Zoom desktop client, the Chat button should appear at the bottom of the Zoom window.
  • Check a page: You (and each of your classmates) should take a few minutes to share a page that you’ve recently completed. If possible, make this a Piece of Flair page, but you really have free range on what you’d like to look at. Have some specific questions and concerns in mind: What are you trying to accomplish with this page? What are you still struggling with? This is a great chance to “practice” for the end-of-semester exhibitions and to get some more face-to-face feedback, which capstone students consistently point to as one their most valuable experiences.

For most people, the Tech Check is a quick and easy assignment, but problems do occasionally occur. If you are experiencing frustration with the Tech Check, keep in mind that it’s better to experience this during the Tech Check than during the exhibition! Also, please remember what you had to do to get past the difficult spots, just in case they come up again.

There are two ways to complete the Tech Check: through office half hours or with a classmate.

Office half hours (if you prefer to talk to instructors)

In addition to talking about your portfolio during an office half hours session, you can carry out the Tech Check with the instructor who is running office half hours. Just mention that you’d like to take care of your Tech Check, and she or he will walk you through the steps and make sure to give you the points!

Classmate (if you prefer to talk to your fellow educators)

The great thing about the Coffeehouse technology is that it is available 24/7. If one of the office half hours sessions doesn’t work for you or you would prefer to meet with a classmate instead, you can schedule a time to meet with a classmate in the Coffeehouse and take care of the Tech Check on your own. Walk through the four specific steps listed above, and once you’ve made sure that everything works for all of you, send us an email to let us know that you took care of everything. While this should be a short email, please include enough detail that we know who you worked with and that you walked through all four steps together.

Why peer-to-peer buddy checks?

While you have had opportunities to provide and receive feedback in Flipgrid and while your instructors have provided you with mid-semester feedback, we think it very valuable to have another round of detailed peer feedback before our Exhibitions. While you will not be in the role of grading, you will hopefully be able to gather insight and ideas about your own portfolio through helping others.

Why peer to peer instead of instructor to student?

This assignment is intended as a rich learning opportunity for the person giving the feedback as well as for the recipient. Our hope is that the experience of judging complex work, like these portfolios, will encourage your thinking about how to hold such evaluations of work of your own portfolio and your own students.

You will end with a sense of how much time it takes to form fair and thoughtful judgments of artifacts like portfolios, for which there are no right answers or bell-shaped curves. We truly hope you feel this assignment is fruitful for your own thinking.

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