SYLLABUS

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.

Important Note

Note that the entirety of the course content is located here (http://matt-koehler.com/CapstoneSP2020). 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!

Syllabus Table of Contents, Spring 2020

Your Instructors

The capstone course is taught by Dr. Matthew Koehler (professor at Michigan State) and a teaching assistant, Aric Gaunt (Ph.D. Student in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology).

We teach as an integrated instructional team. When faced with a decision, we employ group decision making. Specifically, the whole team meets each week to talk about the course, make decisions, and troubleshoot any issues that have arisen.

Photo of Dr. Matthew J. Koehler Name: Dr. Matthew Koehler

Email: mkoehler@msu.edu

Twitter handle: @matthewkoehler

Website: https://matt-koehler.com/

Aric Gaunt Name: Aric Gaunt

Email: gauntari@msu.edu

Twitter handle: @Aricgaunt

Website: https://aricgaunt.weebly.com/

Communication With Your Instructors

There are two primary ways of contacting us, email and office hours.

Email

When you contact an instructor, we ask that you contact all of your instructors at once. The easiest way to do that is to directly email us using the following address: capstone_instructors@matt-koehler.com because that means the entire instructor team receives your email. Only one person may answer your email on behalf of the entire instructional team, but the entire team has received it and thought about it.

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:

  • We send out weekly emails at the start of each module. If you are not receiving this emails, that indicates a problem. Please make sure you are reading your MSU email account (or forwarding it to an address you do read). Also check to make sure course emails are not being flagged as spam.
  • If you email your instructor, you can count on a response within 24 hours.
  • If you receive an email from your instructor, please respond within 48 hours with your best and most thorough response. Sometimes that might be a “I see this email, I can respond on Tuesday.”
  • If you are having difficulty with the course, please reach out right away. It’s hard for us to know if you are stuck unless you tell us. We will work to develop a plan with you to help you complete requirements.

Office Hours

In the spirit of asynchronous learning, office half-hours will are typically held twice per week and are held using Zoom. We call our zoom room 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.

Important Dates

  • Before our class begins we will contact you with some information we would like prior to the start of the course
  • Our class begins on 1/06/2020.
  • Open add ends at 8:00 pm ET on 1/10/20.
  • The last time to drop with a refund is 8:00 pm ET on 1/31/20.
  • The last time to drop with no grade reported is 8:00 pm ET on 2/26/20.
  • Our class ends on 4/24/20.

Course Information

This course aims to accomplish three main goals.

  1. To help you create an online portfolio of the work you completed throughout your master’s experience so that you can share it with colleagues, friends, family, and future employers.
  2. This course also functions as an assessment of your master’s journey. The portfolio itself, the final “exhibition” we hold at the end of the semester, and the essays (Modules 4, 7, and 9) satisfy Michigan State University’s Comprehensive Exam requirement. This course is therefore intended to help you develop your work into a meaningful collection not only for yourself and your audience of choice but also as a demonstration of success in your master’s program and a final step toward the completion of your degree.
  3. Provide an avenue to process and reflect upon your learning in your master’s program, and think about how you will continue to be a life-long learner after you have completed your program

Module Structure

This course is divided into 13 modules, typically lasting one week each although some modules last two weeks.

  • Module 0 :: Used to collect basic information from students before the course begins
  • Modules 1 – 2 :: An exploration phase to help students develop the start to a website
  • Modules 3 – 9 :: Students develop specific pages for their online portfolio
  • Modules 10 – 12 :: Students reflect, provide and receive feedback, present their portfolios, and make final revisions their portfolios

Each Module Has Two Parts – A Basic Assignment and An Elaboration.

  • The Basic Assignment portion of each module will provide students with the information they need for the current assignment, specific instructions on the assignment for the module, examples of work from previous semesters, rubrics that apply to the module, and instructions on receiving and providing video feedback to fellow students (via flipgrid).
  • The Elaboration portion of each module has additional background and information about the module assignments that is not strictly needed in order to complete the module. These elaborations have supporting materials, reminders about upcoming work, and responses to commonly asked questions.

Course Schedule

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.

Required Texts

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.

Course Expectations

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. Part of your grade is connected to completing these drafts.

Semester Long Portfolio Project. You are expected to create a full online portfolio as part of this course. The bulk of your grade is based upon the quality of this project. There are multiple opportunities to revise and improve your portfolio throughout the course. However, the grade portion for this project happens near the end of the course.

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 we tend to schedule during a specific week. If we have enough people wanting to finish faster, we can likely have an early exhibition (or two).

Grading Practices

Evaluation Philosophy

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.

We hold each student to the same set of minimum standards 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 meet deadlines. We expect each of you to ask good questions. 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.

Major Assignments

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:

  • Goal Reflection (Module 4). You reflect upon your learning goals you had prior to entering the program.
  • Future Learning (Module 7).Y ou reflect upon goals you have for your learning after you leave the program.
  • Synthesis (Module 9). You reflect upon what you learned from your master’s program.

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.

Grading Scale

We want to be fair to you (both individually and collectively) in our grading. We understand that each of you come into the course with different skill levels with respect to technology, and we do not expect the same kind of work from each of you. In our grading, we factor in where each of you have started from and where you are at that time.

Important details to remember for all assignment submissions:

  • All work should be spell-checked, grammar-checked, and proofread for clarity and organization before submission.
  • Grades for each assignment will be posted in the Desire2Learn (D2L) gradebook.
  • Feedback on assignments will be provided through a combination of D2L and MSU email.
  • You will have multiple rounds of formative assessment to fix/change your portfolio before final grades are submitted.
  • You are responsible for checking your course grade regularly. Please see this page for help.

Your final grade is based on the following factors:

  • 30% of your grade is based on module assignments and the feedback you provide for others.
  • 70% of your grade is based on your final portfolio, which we grade at the end of the semester.

Your final grade will be calculated from the following scale (please note that a grade of 4.0 is the maximum even if you earn more than 100%):

Percent (%) Final Grade
0 – 64.99 0.0
65 – 69.99 1.0
70 – 74.99 1.5
75 – 79.99 2.0 (Minimum grade for university credit)
80 – 84.99 2.5
85 – 89.99 3.0 (Minimum GPA to carry for master’s degree)
90 – 94.99 3.5
95 – 100 4.0

Revisions

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 an assignment posted on time (like a draft of a resumé) and to improve upon it as we 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, however, will undergo constant revision. You will have multiple rounds of formative assessment to fix/change your portfolio before final grades are submitted.

Deadlines, Late Work, and Early Work

Deadlines. Unless stated otherwise, all work for a given module is due at 11:59 PM Michigan time on the last day of the module. The deadline for the final online portfolio is the last day of class (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 we tend to schedule 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.

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.”

We understand that life happens – getting sick, busy times at work, technology troubles, just to name a few – and things don’t go according to plan. If this happens, we expect you to communicate with your instructor as early as possible.

  • You will receive 1 “freebie” late assignment that can be turned in up to 48 hours late with no communication ahead of time. After this, the following guidelines apply.
  • 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 communicate with instructors prior to the deadline to pre-arrange for late work, a revised deadline based upon that communication will be in effect (subject to the above).

Class and Program Policies

Public Work and Privacy

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, including any discussion of grades or grading, is given to you in private. Constructive suggestions, grades, and all other communications are conducted privately and individually via your MSU email and D2L.

The MAET 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 Minimum GPA Policy

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.

MSU Minimum Course Grade Policy

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.

Instructor and Student Communication Policy

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 Policy

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.

Equity and Inclusion

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.

Grief Absence Policy

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:

  • notify the Associate Dean or designee of their college of the need for a grief absence in a timely manner, but no later than one week from the student’s initial knowledge of the situation,
  • provide appropriate verification of the grief absence as specified by the Associate Dean, and
  • complete all missed work as determined in consultation with the instructor.

It is the responsibility of the Associate Dean or designee to:

  • determine with the student the expected period of absence – it is expected that some bereavement processes may be more extensive than others depending on individual circumstances,
  • notify the faculty that the student will be absent, and
  • receive verification of the authenticity of a grief absence request upon the student’s return.

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.

Academic Honesty

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 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.)

Academic Honesty Violation Procedures

If an instructor believes the academic honesty policy has been violated, they will first report the violation to the MAET program director. The MAET program director will then contact the student to investigate the nature and scope of the violation.

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 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

Technical Assistance

If you need technical assistance at any time during the course or to report a problem you can:

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 instructors and are subject to the following conditions of use:

  • Students may record lectures or any other classroom activities and use the recordings only for their own course-related purposes.
  • Students may) 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 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 a 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.

This course will close two years after the course end date.

Limits to Confidentiality

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:

  • Suspected child abuse/neglect, even if this maltreatment happened when you were a child,
  • Allegations of sexual assault or sexual harassment when they involve MSU students, faculty, or staff, and
  • Credible threats of harm to oneself or to others.

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.

Office of the University Ombudsperson

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.

Contact information:
Office of the University Ombudsperson
129 N. Kedzie Hall
(517) 353-8830
ombud@msu.edu
https://www.msu.edu/unit/ombud/

Acknowledgements

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, and Penny Thompson.