In this module, you will create an annotated transcript page that lists the courses you completed for your degree program and some details about them. You can think about this page as a narrative transcript that explains your progression through your program.
Also, remember that Tech Check requirement—now might be a good time to take care of it! You need to complete your Tech Check before the end of Module 10.
- 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 feedback.
Things to Keep in Mind for your New Assignment – As you design your work, keep the following in mind:
- Rationale – The annotated transcript fulfills a program requirement for graduation – it is where we look to assess your course background and certify the completion of the Master of Arts in Educational Technology (MAET) or Master of Arts in Education (MAED) program.
- Resources – You can lookup the courses you took as a student at http://stuinfo.msu.edu, and http://schedule.msu.edu has lots of good information about course offerings as well. You may need to perform a quick Google search, if you are not sure if an instructor for a course is a “Dr”.
- The Rubric – Make sure that you align your annotated transcript to our standards, rubric, and common issues for annotated transcripts, which are always available at the bottom of every assignment page under “Elaboration”.
- A Work in Progress – you do not have to finalize your transcript 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 a few examples of annotated transcripts from past semesters, including: Daniel Levitt, Eric Danowski, and Jenna Gabel.
Make your Annotated Transcript – Your transcript should have 10 entries, one for each of the 10 courses in your program plan. For each, list:
- The Course Name and Number (e.g., CEP 807: Capstone Portfolio Course)
- The Year and Semester Taken (e.g., Fall 2017)
- The Instructor(s) Teaching the Course (e.g., Dr. Matthew Koehler, Sarah Keenan-Lechel, Spencer Greenhalgh, and Brittany Dillman)
- 4-6 Sentence Description – A brief explanation (4-6 sentences) of what you covered, learned, and did throughout the course. This is to be written by you about your experiences, not copied from an official course description.
- Video Reflection and Feedback – You know what to do by now. Post a video reflection that talks about your work, and add two pieces of feedback, using this Flipgrid. Fill out all the fields! Remember that posting good reflections and providing feedback is is an important part of this course – Full posting description and rubrics are below in “Elaboration” if you would like more guidance.
- Reminder – Your 2nd Piece of Flair is Due – Your second piece of flair is due at the end of this module, turn it in by clicking on the Pieces of F lair link and following the instructions. Please post on this Flipgrid.
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) – Creating an Annotated Transcript and posting the link in Flipgrid on your video reflection.
(Coming up) – You have to complete a Tech Check sometime before the end of Module 10. This requirement is worth 2 points and is explained in “Elaboration” below.
(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.
As you design your Annotated Transcript, 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.
- Layout and Organization: Are the layout, organization, and (if included) multimedia of your transcript page engaging and effective?
- Semesters and Years: Does your transcript include the semester and year that each course was taken?
- Course Titles and Numbers: Does your transcript include course titles in all entries? (e.g. CEP807 – Capstone Portfolio Course)
- Course Instructors: Does your transcript include (correct) names and titles for instructors in all classes? (e.g., Dr. Matthew Koehler, instead of M. Koehler)
- Course Descriptions: Does your transcript include course descriptions that are of the appropriate length (4-6 sentences) and quality?
- Use of acronyms – Remember that people outside your program or workplace might not understand all the terms and acronyms you use. It’s always a good idea to “spell out” an acronym the first time you use it, and you should also consider defining terms that aren’t commonly used.
- Point of View – Make sure there is consistent use of pronouns (we/I) in the course descriptions.
- Use of Titles – Ideally, you’ll know who’s a “Dr.” and who isn’t and what everyone’s first name is. However, while it’s less ideal, simply being consistent (e.g. no “Dr.’s” or first names altogether) is better than being incorrect.
- Links to Sample Work – Because of the focus of this page, we strongly recommended not adding any work samples or links to work samples on this page. We suggest that you add these and other work samples to your showcase.
In the Capstone Course, we believe in the power of peer feedback. Reynolds (2009) argued that students’ peers are capable of pointing out things that would have never occurred to their instructors, and we’ve repeatedly found that to be true as we’ve taught this class! However, we also know that the opposite is true: While we do our best to make our expectations and grading process clear to everyone during peer feedback, we also know that sometimes there’s no substitute for having the instructor look over your work. We’ve done our best to follow your progress thus far in the course, but mid-semester feedback is our time to give you some more thorough feedback.
Starting in Module 7, we will go through your whole portfolio, evaluate the pages according to the descriptions and rubrics that we’ve shared with you, and give you detailed feedback through the Showcase. If possible, we’ll also look over anything else you’ve completed by the time we get to your portfolio. You will not receive a grade based off of your mid-semester feedback. This is formative assessment. As we explained at the beginning of the semester, we believe strongly that this course should be about starting with just “something” and improving it as you go along, and we feel that grading your work at this stage of the course would contradict that philosophy. However, we will be thorough and very detailed as we evaluate the elements of your portfolio as they currently exist, and we will be using the same rubrics that we use to grade your portfolios at the end of the semester. Please keep in mind that this is not necessarily a complete and exhaustive list of ways to improve, just a round of feedback.
We want to use mid-semester feedback to make it clear what our expectations are and what you may still need to do to meet those expectations. So, please take mid-semester feedback seriously! There are two main ways you can do this:
- Be as close to complete as possible: The more you have done, the more we can evaluate. It’s not the end of the world if you still have a few things to add to your Showcase (after all, it won’t count against your grade), but it does give us fewer opportunities to guide your thinking and your work.
- Take our feedback to heart: This is ultimately your portfolio, and we hope that you will truly make it yours, even if that means tossing out some of our requirements once the course is done. However, since this is your final project for an entire master’s program, we do have some specific expectations about what should be included and how it should be done. Please take our evaluation and feedback seriously—it will help all of us (especially you!) save some time and effort at the end of the semester.
In Module 9, we’ll ask you to read over your mid-semester feedback and reflect on it.
Reynolds, A. (2009). Why every student needs critical friends. Educational Leadership, 67(3), 54-57.
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.
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.
Equally important as giving good feedback is learning how to receive good feedback. We have a few tips for receiving feedback:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The annotated transcript fulfills a program requirement for graduation—it is where we look to assess your course background and certify the completion of the Master of Arts in Educational Technology (MAET) or Master of Arts in Education (MAED) program. Additionally, this is a good opportunity for you to start reflecting about your courses for your upcoming Synthesis Essay.
Why write a description of each course?
The process of collecting, organizing, and reflecting on the courses in your master’s study is intended to encourage you to think about all you’ve learned. The MAET and MAED programs are relatively flexible and involve many choices. Gathering all of this information in one place and synthesizing the impact of each course will hopefully help you develop an appreciation for the unique way that your master’s degree experience has played out.
We want you to be able to show others what you did to complete your degree in a way that goes beyond the standard transcript (course numbers and titles). This means describing those experiences with a little more depth and breadth. We want you to begin the process of creating a portfolio that demonstrates what you have accomplished to your peers, significant others, and potential employers. Many of the people who make up your intended audience will be unfamiliar with your program of study; this is a place where you can communicate who you are, what you’ve learned, and the experiences that your different courses brought you.