MODULE 7 – Future Goals – (Feb 22-28)
In this module, you will create the second of three required essays. The ‘Future Learning Goals’ essay asks you to think about how you will continue to learn and grow after your master’s program is over. This is also time for your Mid-Semester CheckUp. Please read over our FAQ on Mid-Semester CheckUp to learn more about what it is and how you can prepare.
Also, remember the 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
🔍 Things to keep in mind for your new assignment
- Scope – While we describe this assignment as an essay, it’s really more than that. We ask you to create a 750-word Future Learning Goals “guiding document” that summarizes and represents your plans to continue acquiring the knowledge you need to excel in your professional practice.
- The Rubric – Make sure that you align your Future Learning Goals essay to our standards, rubric, and common issues for Future Learning Goals Essay. These rubrics are always available at the bottom of every assignment page under “Elaboration.”
- A Work in Progress – You do not have to finalize your essay now; the goal in this course is always to at least get a working draft and to continue to refine it based on feedback.
- Need Inspiration? – Consider a few examples of future learning goals essays from past semesters, including: Bridget Bennett, Destiny Moore, Megan Hess, and Sarah Lipphardt.
✍️ Compose your Future Learning Goals essay
- Make your Introduction – Your essay should tell a coherent and compelling story about the knowledge you need to excel professionally in the future. Your first paragraph should broadly outline your future goals and plans and introduce the paragraphs described below. You should also explain (in detail) how you decided on the goals and resources that you discuss in the essay. Chances are that you didn’t just pull them out of a hat—tell us some about how these specific goals fit in with the larger picture that you’ve been telling us about.
Identify Three Specific Topics for Future Study – In the main part of your essay, identify three specific topics or areas of focus that you want to learn about in the future. These topics could be technical skills, such as learning HTML and CSS. They could also be broader themes, such as leadership in education or integrating technology into a specific content area, such as mathematics.
You should dedicate at least one paragraph to each of the three topics; that paragraph should introduce the topic, describe why you chose that topic, and identify (and link to!) at least one resource (a blog, a class, a video, etc.) that you plan to use to help you to learn about and master that topic.
- Wrapping it Up – As you finish, make an effort to make this entire essay coherent and compelling—consider adding transitions to these paragraphs that show how they relate to each other and a conclusion that summarizes what you’re trying to accomplish overall and how these topics will help you with that. Please also remember that you’re shooting for 750 words. We don’t say that as an invitation to be wordy but as a reminder that we’re genuinely interested in your plans for the future. Please tell us about them while practicing being concise!
☑️ Standards, rubric, and common issues for Future Learning Goals essays
As you design your Future Goals Essay, please use the following standards to guide your work. These represent the particular criteria that your instructors will use to evaluate your essay.
- Title – Does your essay have an expressive title?
- Introductory Paragraph – Do the introductory paragraphs outline future goals and plans as well as the criteria, guidelines, or strategies used to determine the three areas of focus for the essay?
- Compelling Narrative – Does the essay tell a coherent and compelling story about the knowledge you need to excel in the future? Does it effectively use text (and possibly other media) to do so?
- Topics and Resources – Do you include three distinct topics with fully-functioning links to corresponding resources?
- Word Count Word Count – Is your essay about 750 words? Remember, this is both an upper and lower limit (try to be within 10% of the goal)
- Pick Helpful Resources – Please remember that the resources you link to shouldn’t just be about your goal—they should be resources that you can use to accomplish your goal.
- Avoid Jargon – 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.
- Advance Organizers – Think about adding an “advance organizer”— a sentence or two to introduce and summarize these goals—before writing about them in more detail.
- Add Context – Your goals are your own, but they fit into a larger context—try to relate these goals to the school where you teach or the world that you live in.
- Add a Link to a PDF – Think about adding a link to a PDF copy on this page so that viewers have the opportunity to read your essay in an alternative format (this also makes for easier printing if someone wanted to print your essay).
- Avoid PDF-only Access – An additional link to a PDF is great, but it cannot replace a webpage version of your essay. If you’re going to do one format, put your essay on a webpage. If you want to go that extra step, add an additional option for a PDF.
🎥 Video reflection and feedback
📅 Your 2nd Piece of Flair is due by Module 8
✔️ Update the ShareTracker
The ShareTracker is linked here, and available through the menubar at the top of this website.
Now is the time to “submit” your work by updating the ShareTracker. Specifically, do the following:
- Find your row in the ShareTracker, and find the Columns that correspond to this module
- Enter “done” for each part of the module you have completed
- Put “revised” and a date, for any assignments you have revised from previous modules
That’s it, you’re done with the ShareTracker for this Module.
🗒️ Feedback and Assessment
Every week you should be in the habit of checking your feedback notebook for any new feedback from the instructors. This includes checking on feedback received from the previous module, as well as checking in on any feedback from any revisions you have done. Make sure you go over this feedback and formulate a plan to address any aspects of your work that need revision.
When you submit your work this week, also submit update the ShareTracker with any revisions you have recently done. For example, if you change your homepage based on feedback, go to the ShareTracker and replace “Done” with “Revised 12/30/20” (use the actual date of your revision). It may take up to a week before your instructors can provide feedback from this Module, or from any revisions you have submitted. If feedback is taking longer than a week, please let us know about it, we may have missed your work.
You can find your feedback notebook: a) As a link within the ShareTracker, b) The Roster page.
💯 All about the Mid-Semester CheckUp
In the Capstone Course, we believe in the power of feedback, both from your peers and from your instructors. 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 have been regularly providing weekly feedback to you in your Feedback Notebook. But, as we approach the mid-semester mark, it’s an opportunity to step back and look at how the cycle of design-feedback-revision is working for you.
We call this process of stepping back and looking at your progress the Mid-Semester Checkup. This mostly will happen behind the scenes as we review your work, and your progress towards making revisions on any issues raised in that feedback. Specifically, we are going to look at the following:
- Your history of submitting work (mostly) on time
- Your pattern of following up on revisions we have suggested
- Your responsiveness to others in participating in peer feedback
Everyone will receive an email about their mid-semester checkup on (or around) the start of Module 8. There are three possible outcomes for this checkup email.
- You’re doing great – If you’ve been keeping up with the work and you’ve been keeping up with revisions, we consider you to be doing great. Keep on doing what you have been doing.
- You’re struggling a bit – You may be doing a lot of good work but there are some issues that remain un-resolved. For example, you may be turning in initial work on time, but not responding to revisions. If this is the case, the email from use will discuss ways to improve any areas of weaknesses.
- You’re significantly struggling – If your work is frequently late, or you have not been participating in feedback, or have not yet made any revisions, we will be in touch with you. Mid-Semester is an opportunity to get back on track, and we will assess (with you) what needs to be done to get back on track in order to complete the course.
Again, we will communicate the results of the mid-semester checkup to you via email. This email will likely come early in Module 8. Please make sure you read this email and respond (if a response is requested).
Reynolds, A. (2009). Why every student needs critical friends. Educational Leadership, 67(3), 54-57.
☑️ Rubric for posting reflections and feedback
When you post and reply in this course, please pay attention to the following guidelines. These 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.
☑️ Tech Check requirements
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.
❓ What is the bonuses and bummers policy?
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.
❓ Why a Future Learning Goals essay?
In this deliberately broad assignment, we ask you to look to your future as a lifelong learner and write a “projective” essay about how your experiences in this master’s program have influenced your approach to lifelong learning and how you envision yourself continuing to learn. Life and learning continue beyond the master’s program—in this time of rapid technological change and globalization, how will you keep learning and growing as an educator? Formal professional development workshops may very well be a part of your personal learning plan, but they may not be enough, so consider what other face-to-face and online resources you have at your disposal as you manage your professional development and lifelong learning.
One important requirement is to focus on specific future goals, plans, and associated resources for after the program. Please share with us some of the specifics that you have in mind—if there is a book you want to read, a topic you want to explore, or a class (formal or informal) you want to take, we want you to have an opportunity to express those here.