Welcome to the Capstone Portfolio Course (CEP 807 / ED 870). We are excited to have you as a part of this learning experience this semester, and we hope you find it to be a worthwhile formative and summative learning experience.
Note that the entirety of the course content is located here (http://matt-koehler.com/CapstoneFA2021). If you have a question that this page does not answer, please check our FAQ page to look for the answer there. If you still cannot find what you’re looking for, feel free to contact us so that we can help you out!
The capstone course is taught by Dr. Matthew Koehler at Michigan State.
Name: Dr. Matthew Koehler
Twitter handle: @matthewkoehler
There are two primary ways of contacting us, email and office hours.
The easiest way to contact your instructors is email us using the contact us page.
All official course communication will happen with your MSU email account. Please check your MSU email daily throughout the course. Make sure you have your D2L email forwarding to your MSU email account. Our email norms include:
In the spirit of asynchronous learning, office half-hours will are typically held twice per week and are held using Zoom. Our course zoom room is called the Capstone Coffeehouse and you can read more about the coffeehouse if interested. Our schedule is is always available on the website. You can also set up an alternative time to meet if your schedule does not fit the office half-hour schedule.
This course aims to accomplish three main goals.
This course is divided into 13 modules, typically lasting one week each although some modules last two weeks.
Each Module Has Two Parts – A Basic Assignment and An Elaboration.
The course schedule is always listed on the right hand side of this website. Each of the 13 modules and the corresponding dates for these modules are always available. NOTE: The current module students should be working on is highlighted in yellow.
There are no required texts for this course. This course is primarily a design-based course in which you will be actively making an online portfolio. There are some background readings or optional supporting readings, but they are provided to you at no cost via links to PDFs.
Reading. Each unit has links to background information and course policies. Some units have optional readings provided as part of the course content. You are expected to engage with these materials.
Module Assignment. Each module will ask you to produce a draft of a portion of your portfolio (e.g., home page, resume, etc.). We expect that you will produce a draft (a rough draft if necessary) as part of these modules. These drafts begin the process of assessment, re-design, and revision that lead to a final project. It is important that you regularly meet module deadlines to get these first drafts up on time.
Semester Long Portfolio Project. You are expected to create a full online portfolio as part of this course. The weekly modules, and cycles of revision and re-design is focal goal of the course. By then end of the course, you should have a completed portfolio that: (a) satisfies the comprehensive exam component of your program, and (b) can be proudly shared with others.
Participation. This is a master’s level graduate course emphasizing critical engagement around receiving and providing feedback to other students. Typically this feedback is conducted in a video format using flipgrid, although some limited written feedback is utilized for one course module. Your participation in these feedback activities is expected, including completing your feedback on time. You are expected to attend (remotely) your scheduled final exhibition. You are expected to ask questions when you are stuck, and to be a resource for others, when possible.
Timing. 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 is scheduled during a specific week. If we have enough people wanting to finish faster, we can likely have an early exhibition (or two).
Students who enter the MAET and MAED programs bring a vast and powerful array of expertise to our learning community. Each of you is expert in many things. However, we know that many students who enroll in these courses have varying level of comfort in using technology. Rest assured that everyone is capable of making a high-quality online portfolio, regardless of past experience. Hundreds of students have taken this course before you, and many of them had limited expertise in developing online materials.
No matter what your skills and knowledge, you’re welcome in this course, and we’re excited to help you reach your goals. We are most interested in your growth and learning—and you will be assessed on the basis of how far you go, not from where you started. This doesn’t mean that different standards apply to different students. On the contrary, we hold each student to a very high standard of academic and professional excellence as communicated through the course rubrics. These are clear statements about how your work will be evaluated. There are many different ways to meet these requirements. These approaches include low-level uses of technology to present information in direct ways and also include high-tech and high-knowledge use of technology. Every student can meet these standards, and some will exceed these standards.We expect each of you to push your limits—whatever those limits are—and to contribute your own unique learning experiences and perspectives to our learning community.
We expect you to be engaged leaners by meeting deadlines, asking good questions to extend your own thinking as well as the thinking of your peers, colleagues, and instructors. We expect each of you to seek out answers by leveraging all of the resources at your disposal. We expect each of you to adhere to professional standards of academic integrity, to respect the work of your peers, and to offer thoughtful, constructive suggestions that sharpen our collective understanding and focus. We have high expectations and it is our goal to help you reach those expectations.
Each of the major assignments in the course can evolve over the course of a semester. Typically we ask for a draft of the assignment by the module due date. However, revision and further development of each assignment can (and frequently does) continue until the end of the course. The major assignments for this course are as follows:
Choosing a Technology to Use. Modules 1, 2, and 3 of the course are a scaffolded process of choosing the right technology for you to create and display your online portfolio (Weebly, Wix, WordPress, Google Sites, etc.). This technology is used to complete the other major assignments in this course.
A home page (Module 3). You create a landing page, or the first page that viewers see when visiting your online portfolio.
A resumé page (Module 5). You create a page that highlights your professional preparation, appointments, skills, and goals.
A showcase (Module 6) page. You create a page that shows examples or artifacts of your best work from your master’s program.
An annotated transcript (Module 8) page. You create a page that 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:
Three pieces of flair. Three components of your website specifically tailored to your online portfolio. You can mix and match these components 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).
A final exhibition (Module 11). Using groups of 4 students and 1 instructor, you will present your nearly-final portfolios in a synchronous zoom session.
In this course we will work on a variety of creations and projects that are designed to help elevate your thinking and practice as a technology educator, designer, and leader. To that end, we will engage in ungrading. There is a collection of research around ungrading that we encourage you to consider at Ungrading – Human Restoration Project. There is a book published by Dr. Susan Blum titled Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning (and What to Do Instead). We encourage you to explore it.
Un-grading is an effort to get away from assigning points to every activity. Instead, when you submit creations, your instructors will provide qualitative feedback—support on things you did well, suggestions for improvements, and ways to connect and move forward. Specifically,
This form of assessment focuses on effort and progress on the goals of ending the course with a complete and effective portfolio that can serve you in the future. Practically speaking, in this course you need to do the following to successfully complete the course with a 4.0:
Although you can earn your 4.0 at the end of the course, we give you a preliminary grade of 4.0 at the start of the course. If at any time, your instructor feels that you are not on track to finish the course (all assignments plus revisions) based upon your effort and progress, they will contact you immediately to discuss your work with you. This may entail lowering your preliminary grade to signal our prediction of how you might finish the course. Again, the goal is to complete course assignments and revisions before the course is over. Even if your grade was lowered, you can still get a 4.0 by completing course work and revisions before the course is over.
We realize that this may make some of you feel unsure about your progress. If, at any time, you have questions about how you are doing in the course, please reach out to your instructor(s).
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 will stay on track in this course as long as you do “something.” In short, it is better to get something for an assignment posted on time (like a draft of a resumé) and to improve upon it as there will be time to revise and improve later. This posting of “something” associated with the module assignments is due at the end of the module.
The final portfolio, comprised of each of this module assignments will undergo constant revision. You will have multiple rounds of formative assessment to fix/change your portfolio before final grades are submitted. These rounds of assessment and revision are coordinated in your Feedback Notebook.
Deadlines. Although we say “deadlines”, the course is designed to be flexible with pacing. Our “deadlines” are firm suggestions on how to stay on track in this course. Unless stated otherwise, the “deadline” for all work in a given module is due at 11:59 PM Michigan time on the last day of the module. The only true deadline in the course is that the final online portfolio is firmly due on the last day of class with no exceptions.
Early Work. 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 is scheduled during a specific week. If we have enough people wanting to finish faster, we can likely have an early exhibition (or two).
Late Work. 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. We understand that life happens—getting sick, busy times at work, technology troubles, global pandemics, just to name a few—and things don’t go according to plan. If this happens, we expect you to communicate with your instructor before you miss a due date. In this communication, let your instructor know when you will have the work completed. If you aren’t sure, communicate the uncertainty and then communicate again when you do know. We are happy to work with you, but it is your responsibility to proactively communicate.
As mentioned earlier, we expect your work to meet course standards. Therefore, it’s important that we name the following situations to help bound this experience and set clear expectations. The following are situations that will alert your instructor to check in with you:
While we are ungrading, the University still has some thresholds of which you should be aware. Specifically, please note:
Informal feedback is provided regularly on flipgrid by both fellow students and instructors. This feedback may be viewed by anyone in the course but not the public (it is password protected). All formal feedback from your instructors, is given to you in private mostly through your Feedback Notebook and through Email.
Your masters program (in general) and this course in particular requires for you 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 your blog. Often, we ask you to share links to you work with your professional learning network (PLN) via Twitter.
We ask you to engage in this type of public activity for several reasons related to graduate study. Sharing work in draft form with others instills a design mindset; showcasing professional learning on the web highlights skill development for multiple stakeholders in your PLN; using multiple technologies to explore, create, and share work helps you develop advanced skills and dispositions for technology integration in learning contexts. Participation in these activities is essential. Managing your online presence and identity is a critical aspect of this process.
As a student in this course, we want you to think critically and deeply about the online identity and boundaries you want and need to establish for yourself. Then, please make choices accordingly. You are encouraged to think carefully about the degree to which you want your work to be identifiable as your own. Many students create Twitter handles and URLs for their blogs that include their real names. Others choose to create an online persona – a name like “Tech Teacher” – that is less personalized. This option is a way to remain anonymous to the world, and to also participate actively in your courses. Many students create accounts for technology tools using a personal email address. Many students keep personal information out of their blog posts. If you teach students, please think about the extent to which you make their identities public through your own choices around online identity too. You can always choose anonymity.
MSU, the College, the CEPSE Department, the MAET program, and the MAED 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.
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 in any course.
All course-related email communications should be sent through official MSU email addresses. The MSU email is an official university ID and provides an additional layer of security.
You should expect email replies from instructors within 24 hours. If we email you, please respond within 48 hours. If an out of office assistant is on indicating that you are unavailable, we will certainly take that into consideration.
Attendance 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 attend pre-arranged meetings or participate as expected. For instance, when you make online appointments with instructors, or are required to work with colleagues on a group assignment, that you attend. If you are going to miss a meeting, please provide advance notice to all concerned. If you are travelling 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 instructors 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 instructors 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 instructors in consultation with program administration. Decisions will be taken after full consideration of each case.
We are firmly committed to equity and inclusion. In this course, we will work to promote an anti-discriminatory environment where everyone feels safe and welcome. Accordingly, each of us has the right to be addressed in a way that aligns with our personal identity. We will have the opportunity in this course to indicate the name that we prefer to be called and, if we choose, to identify pronouns with which we would like to be addressed. As instructors, we will do my best to address all students accordingly and support classmates in doing so as well.
The following Grief Absence Policy was adopted by University Council in Spring 2015:
The faculty and staff should be sensitive to and accommodate the bereavement process of a student who has lost a family member or who is experiencing emotional distress from a similar tragedy so that the student is not academically disadvantaged in their classes or other academic work (e.g. research).
For undergraduate and master’s (Plan B) students without research responsibilities, it is the responsibility of the student to:
It is the responsibility of the Associate Dean or designee to:
It is the responsibility of the instructors to work with the student to make reasonable accommodations and to include appropriate language describing such accommodations in their course syllabus, so that the student is not penalized due to a verified grief absence.
Students who believe their rights under this policy have been violated should contact the University Ombudsperson.
Students wanting to request a Grief Absence should complete the Grief Absence Request Form.
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, this course aheres 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 coursework 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 instructors if you are unsure about the appropriateness of your course work. (See also the Academic Integrity webpage.)
If an instructor believes the academic honesty policy has been violated, they will first report the violation to your program director. The program director will then contact the student to investigate the nature and scope of the violation.
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 http://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 your instructors at the start of the term and/or two weeks prior to the accommodation date (test, project, etc.) so that we can meet your needs. Requests received after this date may not be honored. To make an appointment with a specialist, please contact (517) 353-9642, TTY (517) 355-1293, or the website for RCPD: http://MYProfile.rcpd.msu.edu
If you need technical assistance at any time during the course or to report a problem you can:
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 instructors and are subject to the following conditions of use:
This course will close two years after the course end date.
Essays, journals, and other materials submitted for this class are generally considered confidential pursuant to the University’s student record policies. However, students should be aware that University employees, including instructors, may not be able to maintain confidentiality when it conflicts with their responsibility to report certain issues based on external legal obligations or that relate to the health and safety of MSU community members and others. As instructors, we must report the following information to other University offices if you share it with us:
These reports may trigger contact from a campus official who will want to talk with you about the incident that you have shared. In almost all cases, it will be your decision whether you wish to speak with that individual. If you would like to talk about these events in a more confidential setting you are encouraged to make an appointment with the MSU Counseling Center.
Conflicts, disagreements, and issues sometimes arise during the course of a graduate program. If you find yourself in this situation and have exhausted the internal resources for resolving the issue, you may contact the Office of the University Ombudsperson.
The Office of the University Ombudsperson provides assistance to students, faculty, and staff in resolving University-related concerns. Such concerns include: student-faculty conflicts; communication problems; concerns about the university climate; and questions about what options are available for handling a problem according to Michigan State University policy. The University Ombudsperson also provides information about available resources and student/faculty rights and responsibilities. The office operates as a confidential, independent, and neutral resource. It does not provide notice to the University – that is, it does not speak or hear for the University.
Contact the Ombudsperson at any point during an issue when a confidential conversation or source of information may be needed. The Ombudsperson will listen to your concerns, give you information about university policies, help you evaluate the situation, and assist you in making plans to resolve the conflict.
Office of the University Ombudsperson
129 N. Kedzie Hall
This course has evolved over the past several years, incorporating the work and thinking of all the people who have taught it. The assignments, activities, and written materials (including the content of this syllabus) were developed by various groups and individuals and subsequently revised and reconfigured to result in the current versions.
There are many others who deserve credit (and no blame), including: Patrick Dickson, Robin Dickson, Brittany Dillman, Spencer Greenhalgh, Josh Rosenberg, Andrea Zellner, Aric Gaunt, Brooke Thomas, Sukanya Moudgalya and Penny Thompson.