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 and summative learning experience.
Note that the entirety of the course is located here: http://matt-koehler.com/CapstoneSU2016. We will also be using Desire2Learn (D2L) for grades and Piazza as a discussion website, but we will tell you much more about this in the course.
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!
Contact Information and Communication Policy
Please read this page carefully, as it contains information on our key objectives and policies for the course. Your instructors for the course are as follows; you can click on the magnifying glass of their
If you email an instructor, you will generally receive a response within 24 hours. If we email you, we would like you to respond within 48 hours. If an “out of office assistant” or “vacation notification” email indicates that you are unavailable, we will certainly take that into consideration. You can reach the capstone instructors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are traveling or otherwise won’t be able to respond to incoming messages as quickly as normal, please give advance notice to your instructor and colleagues—please see the Late Work Policy below for assessment-related issues connected to travel, etc.
All official course communication will be conducted via MSU Mail. You must check your MSU Mail account during the semester or have your MSU email address forward to an account that you check regularly.
Beginning in Module 3 we will hold office hours twice a week in the virtual Capstone Coffeehouse. We are also happy to meet with students by appointment.
Table of Contents
Although we encourage you to read over the entire syllabus, feel free to use the links below to guide you to specific sections.
1. Purpose of the Course
The purpose of this class is twofold. We want you to create a portfolio of the work you completed throughout your master’s experience so that you can share it with colleagues, friends, family, and future employers. In helping you create a portfolio, this class 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.
We organize this class into modules; in each module, we ask you to create something specific (even if it’s just in draft form) each module and provide feedback to peers about their work.
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.
- Allowing for the resubmission of assignments for improvement of evaluation grades is at the instructor’s discretion.
- 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 the final portfolio 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|
|80 – 84.99||2.5|
|85 – 89.99||3.0|
|90 – 94.99||3.5|
|95 – 100||4.0|
Please note that your program might have a minimum required grade for this course.
The 2015 version of the MAET Handbook refers to two grading policies:
- The MSU minimum course grade policy: “There is also a policy regarding credit and grades for MA courses. 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 on any course.”
- The MSU cumulative GPA policy: “A 3.0 cumulative grade-point average in the degree program is the minimum University standard.”
The 2015 version of the MAED Handbook has one additional policy:
- “Students must earn a grade of 3.0 or higher in all courses in their primary concentration for the courses to count toward their primary concentration. In addition, a grade of 3.0 or higher must be earned in ED 800 and ED 870 for these courses to count toward the degree.”
3. Late Work Policy
We have worked hard to design the course around a timeline that helps everyone complete a high quality portfolio on time. We hope you stick to the deadline, as we believe it is best for you in the long run. 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 most of the credit for the activity as long as you do “something.”
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 students to pay for a class that they cannot complete or for a poor grade that doesn’t reflect a student’s ability or potential to appear on his or her transcript. You can find these dates through the MSU registrar or in this syllabus: Please use them to make the decisions that are best for you.
4. Timeline for Revisions
Broadly speaking, this course is a work in progress over the course of the whole semester. You can find details on module and semester deadlines throughout the course website.
5. Public Work and Privacy
For this course, your work will incorporate projects you have completed from other classes into a single portfolio. Because this is a reflection of your skills and ability, you are welcome (and will be encouraged) to incorporate other platforms to support your portfolio (for example, Twitter, LinkedIn, Edublogs, etc.). Sharing work in draft form with others instills a design mindset; showcasing professional learning on the Web highlights skill development for multiple stakeholders in the student’s professional learning network; using multiple technologies to explore, create, and share work helps students develop advanced skills and dispositions for technology integration in learning contexts. Participation in these activities is essential.
Managing your online presence and identity, however, is an important part of this process. We encourage you to think carefully about the degree to which you want your master’s work to be identifiable as your own. Many students create Twitter handles and URLs for their portfolios that include their real names. Others choose to create a separate online persona for their work because it makes more sense for them. This option is a way to remain anonymous to the world but also participate actively in your courses. Many students create accounts for third-party tech tools using an email address that is separate from their work email address. Importantly, all instructor feedback is given to students privately. Constructive suggestions, grades, and all other communications are conducted via email or in the course management system grade book.
6. Minimum GPA Policies
Michigan State University, the College, the CEPSE Department, and the MAED and MAET programs 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” (Academic Standards, University Graduate Policy – Education, p. 1).
There is also a policy regarding credit and grades for MA courses. 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 on any course.
Also, there is a requirement that students in the MAED program (not MAET), complete ED870 with a grade of 3.0 or higher. Students in the MAET program must complete CEP807 with a grade of 2.0 or higher. Cumulative GPA requirements still apply.
7. Add and Drop Dates
The last day to add this course is the end of the first week of classes (May 20, 2016 at 8pm). The last day to drop this course with a 100 percent refund and no grade reported is June 8, 2016 at 8pm EDT. The last day to drop this course with no refund and no grade reported is July 1, 2016 at 8pm EDT. You should immediately make a copy of your amended schedule to verify you have added or dropped this course.
8. 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. Please see “Spartan Life: Student Handbook and Resource Guide” for more information.
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 course work 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 instructor if you are unsure about the appropriateness of your course work (see also the Academic Integrity webpage.)
9. Academic Honesty Violation Procedures
If an instructor believes the academic honesty policy has been violated, they will first report the violation to the MAED or MAET program director, depending on the student’s program. The program director will then contact the student to investigate the nature and scope of the violation.
10. Accommodations for students with disabilities
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 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.). Requests received after this date may not be honored. Please see the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities for more information.
11. Use of media and content 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 instructor.
12. Limits to confidentiality
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.
13. Grief Absence Policy
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).
It is the responsibility of the student to: a) notify their advisor/major professor and faculty of the courses in which they are enrolled 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, b) provide appropriate verification of the grief absence as specified by the advisor/major professor and faculty, and c) complete all missed work as determined in consultation with the advisor/major professor and faculty.
It is the responsibility of the advisor/major professor to: a) 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, b) receive verification of the authenticity of a grief absence request upon the student’s return, and c) make reasonable accommodations so that the student is not penalized due to a verified grief absence. Students wanting to request a Grief Absence should complete the Grief Absence Request Form.
Thanks to Dr. Patrick Dickson for his thoughtful design and execution of ED 870. Much of the structure of this course has been inspired by his original design and by Dr. Robin Dickson’s version of the CEP 807 course. This course could not have been offered without the hard work of either of the Drs. Dickson.