In this module, you will make your first official page in your portfolio. This means making a decision on what authoring platform to use or deciding where and how to include your capstone work in an existing site (if you already have one).
There is also a new topic this week, as we introduce the concept of Three Pieces of Flair both in the video and in the “Basic Assignments” section below. In short, three pieces of flair are three components to your website that are custom made specifically for you and your website in order to make it uniquely yours.
- 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 the feedback you receive from your peers in their Flipgrid feedback and from instructors during mid-semester feedback.
- Things to Keep in Mind – As you design your work, keep the following in mind:
- Consider your Audience – While the intended audience for your portfolio might change over the course of the semester, we think it is very important to start by taking a few minutes to consider what purpose you would like your portfolio to serve and what that means about who will be looking at it. Will it be primarily for other teachers? For parents, students, or your principal? Will it be something you continue to develop for an eventual job search? Considering your audience will help you better design your portfolio to effectively communicate whatever message you are hoping to send.
- Consider Feedback – Make sure you consider any feedback you got in Flipgrid about your designs and efforts from last week. Any advice you received there may be helpful before proceeding with this assignment.
- The Rubric – Make sure that you align your homepage to our standards, rubric, and common issues for homepages. These are always available at the bottom of every assignment page under “Elaboration”.
- A Work in Progress – You do not have to finalize your homepage now, as the goal in this course is always to get something working first, and continue to refine it based on feedback.
- Need Inspiration? – Consider examples from the homepages you saw when you reviewed portfolios from last semester. Pull up some of those examples for inspiration!
- Make your homepage – Depending upon your situation, design or re-design your homepage with your audience and any feedback you received in mind. In short, focus on making a page that is useful, organized, readable, and suited to your audience.
- Update your Gravatar – Now that you have a homepage, your instructors and fellow classmates need to know where it is. We use your Gravatar to do that. Your assignment is to make sure your Gravatar sends people to the homepage you will be using for your portfolio. To do this, open a new window and head over to gravatar.com. Sign in with your MSU EMAIL, go to “My profile“, and select “Websites“. Update the websites with your new homepage. If you have multiple sites listed, you need to have your capstone portfolio site listed as the first one. When you’re done, head to the roster page, and make sure your name, image, and link to your capstone website are all working. If you need help or reminders about how to update your Gravatar, you check out our Gravatar instructions.
- Post a video reflections – Post a video reflection about your homepage on Flipgrid, using the following steps:
- Add a response to this Flipgrid.
- Record your response while following the prompts for “designers” (and the rubric).
- Fill in the informational fields — Fill in your full name (first and last), give your video a descriptive title, and then give a full link to the webpage you created for this module.
Please remember that order to get good feedback, you need to post good reflections as per our rubric.
- Provide feedback to peers –
Whenever you share work in this class, you will also give feedback to others (as well as receive feedback). The routine for providing this feedback is to visit Flipgrid and respond to two initial videos. Please give priority to those videos that don’t have any feedback. If there are not two videos yet (i.e., you’re the first to do the assignment), you’re off the hook for the week.
Add your two pieces of feedback to this Flipgrid.
- Prioritize providing feedback to those who do not have any feedback.
- Watch their post.
- Visit their webpage (click on the URL that should be posted with their video).
- In making your video response, make sure to follow the prompts (and the rubric).
- Fill in the informational fields — Fill in your full name (first and last). Your email address is optional.
Please keep in mind that good feedback is vital to this course, as per our rubric.
- Learn about Pieces of Flair – In order to complete your portfolio, you need to create three Pieces of Flair, or parts of your portfolio that are customized to you and your audience. The first piece is due by the end of Module 5. Your assignment this week is to read about Pieces of Flair here, understand the Pieces of Flair system, and start to think about pieces you might want for your portfolio.
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:
- (Up to 1 point) – Updated Gravatar – Full points for a Gravatar that has your name, a picture, and a link to your homepage.
- (Up to 1 point) – Creating a homepage and posting the link in Flipgrid on your video reflection.
(Coming up) – The quality of your video reflection in this module will be self-assessed (with some guidance) at the end of Module 5. There, you will give yourself between 0 and 5 points for your efforts across Modules 1 through 5.
- (Coming up) – Your first of three Pieces of Flair will be due at the end of Module 5.
As you design your homepage, please use the following standards to guide your work. These represent the particular criteria that your instructors will be looking for and giving you feedback at mid-semester, and final grading.
- Readability: Is the text on your website consistent and easy to read?
- Color and Contrast: Does your choice of colors make the website easy to read?
- Navigation: Are your links logical, consistent, and effective?
- Multimedia: Do you appropriately integrate the images, sound, and video you use with the rest of your website?
- Attribution: Do you provide correct attribution for the images, videos, and other resources you use?
The titles of drop-down menus are often also links and should lead somewhere, not just to a blank page!
Make sure that you’ve carefully considered the privacy implications of including pictures of your children or students.
Linking back to the original source is necessary but not sufficient for a proper attribution.
When you post and reply in this course, please pay attention to the following guidelines. These are guidelines also form the basis for the rubric used to grade your discussion contribution.
What makes for a good post?
It depends on the specific assignment, but the following generally apply:
- Pay attention to the prompts
- Use a good portion of the 3 minutes allotted to you.
- Show us what you’re thinking and why you’re thinking it.
- When sharing your own work, point to some places where people who respond to you might be most helpful in giving you feedback.
What makes for a good feedback?
Good feedback is important in all design activities, including the design of portfolios. It is especially important in this class. When giving feedback, keep in mind that good feedback is:
- Thorough – Use a good portion of the 3 minutes allotted to you. Try to cover as many aspects of the assignment that you can—do not focus on only one thing. However, don’t try to cover too much, because each point you make should have some details (see next point).
- Specific – Avoid generalities like “you had a good design,” and instead be more specific, like “Your headers are easy to read, clear, and helpful in breaking up text into more manageable pieces.”
- Critical – Point out what needs improving. Even if you’re looking at the best piece of work, you can give the author something to think about working towards or thinking about differently.
- Supportive – Point out what is working well. Even the earliest of drafts is the start of something good that can be highlighted as a success.
On camera, make sure you start each video by saying your name. For example, “Hi, this is Matthew Koehler, and today I’m talking about …. ”
After you record your video, there are a couple of fields to fill out. Make sure you pay particular attention to how we use these fields in the capstone course:
- First Name – Put in your first name
- Last Name – Put in your last name
- Email – This is optional, but if you give your email address you will be able to delete this video by yourself without instructor intervention
- Title – Give your video a descriptive title (e.g., “my awesome resume page”, “help me fix this resume!”, etc.)
- Link – Give the full link to the website or page you created for this assignment so that others can visit it and provide feedback to you
App for your Phone
There is a Flipgrid app for your phone that you may wish to use instead. Visit the appropriate app store for your phone to download it.
The app may have several advantages over using your computer, in that if you wish to discuss something you see on screen, it is easy to film the screen with your phone and point to what you’re talking about.
If you do use your phone, you will be prompted to “enter a code” to get to the right Flipgrid. The code for our class is “msu_capstone.”
Flipgrid does require Flash installed on your computer. It also requires a working camera and microphone—these are things you would need for the exhibition and tech check or office half-hours anyway. Consider using your phone if you don’t have one on your desktop. If you have problems beyond simply installing Flash, a camera, and a microphone, try the excellent Flipgrid support page, or contact us.
Unless stated otherwise, all work for a given module is due at 11:59 p.m. Michigan time on the last day of the module.
The course dates we have laid out are minimum pacing requirements. Please feel free to complete the course faster than these required dates. The only minor hiccup may be around the final exhibition (Module 11), which we tend to schedule during a specific week. If we have enough people wanting to finish faster, we can likely have a couple of early exhibitions.
We have worked hard to design the course around modules and due dates that keep you on pace to complete a high-quality portfolio on time.
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, you’ll get credit for the activity as long as you do “something.” In short, it is better to get something for a assignment posted on time (like a draft of a resumé) and to improve upon it as we go than to wait for everything to be perfect. There will be time to revise and improve later.
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. If you do not contact us prior to the due date, our late work policy takes effect. Work received up to 48 hours after the deadline without prior notice may receive up to 1/2 credit; however, you must inform an instructor of its completion. Work received 48 hours after the deadline will receive no points.
If you recognize that unexpected circumstances are going to interfere with your ability to complete your work, we encourage you to consider dropping the course—ideally by the “refund” deadline and definitely by the “no grade reported deadline”—so that you can re-take the class another time when you can focus more fully on the work. We suggest this course of action because we don’t want you to pay for a class that you cannot complete or for a poor grade that doesn’t reflect a your ability or potential to appear on your transcript. You can find these dates through the MSU registrar. Please use them to make the decisions that are best for you.
When you contribute feedback at the end of a Module, you are usually expected to provide feedback to two of your classmates.
Our Bonuses and Bummers policy describes exceptions to this expectation as follows:
- Bonus – If you’re the first person to submit your work for an assignment, you do not have to provide any feedback to anyone.
- Bonus – If you’re the second person to submit your work for an assignment, you only have to provide feedback to one person (the person who submitted first).
- Bummer – If you’re the last person to submit your work for a task or Piece of Flair, you probably won’t receive any feedback from anyone.
The portfolio you make in this class has several components. The first component is the technology used to create and display your online portfolio (Weebly, Wix, WordPress, Google Sites, etc.). The process of deciding what technology is a scaffolded choice that happens throughout Module 1, Module 2, and Module 3, although you can revisit this decision at any time.
One you have a technology chosen, this course helps you build 7 required pages that go in your portfolio, although there can be great flexibility and individuality behind how these required pages are implemented in your portfolio. These seven pages are:
- A home page (Module 3) – You create a landing page, or first page, that viewers first see when visiting your online portfolio.
- A resume / vita (Module 5) – You create a page that highlights your professional preparation, appointments, skills, and goals.
- A showcase (Module 6) – You create a page that shows examples or artifacts of your best work from your master’s program.
- An annotated transcript (Module 8) – You create a page lists the courses and topics covered as part of your master’s program.
- Three reflective essays – You reflect upon your past, present, and future learning in the form of three essays
In addition to the seven required pages, you will add three or more components that are specifically tailored to you and your portfolio. We call these Pieces of Flair – and you choose and mix and match these pieces in a way that adds breadth and depth to your portfolio. You might, for example, add a page that describes your classroom (that would be one Piece of Flair), or connect to your presence on LinkedIn (that would be another Piece of Flair).
One website technology, PLUS 7 required pages, PLUS 3 (or more) pieces of flair will give you a website that will be uniquely yours, and one that you can be proud of.
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 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|
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!
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.
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.
Your homepage is the first page that visitors see when arriving to your site. It provides a first impression and shows readers what is available on your site. Developing a homepage is an important step in creating your portfolio—you should continue to revisit it and update its design as your portfolio changes.
Creating a well-developed home page is particularly important for the purposes of this course because your instructors and your peers will likely use your homepage to guide them as they give you feedback on your portfolio. The more effective your homepage is, the easier it will be for everyone to give you useful feedback.
Your homepage will also serve you well even after you’re done with this course. Your family, friends, and potential employers will likely use your homepage to guide them in exploring your website. It is also a great chance to sum up who you are and what you’re doing; you can thereby tailor the first impression they get of you. This is true for both those you know and those who want to get to know you a little bit better (and maybe offer you a job!).