The Capstone Research Project is a completion of an advisor-approved research, application, or curriculum project related to the student's professional practice. The project must reflect a synthesis of skills and knowledge from concentration core coursework, but at the same time represent a practical application product which can be completed in a one-semester time frame. Students will identify and define the nature and scope of the Capstone Project prior to enrollment in this course, and enroll when completion of the project is planned. Prerequisites: Completion of the Master of Arts in Education and Professional Development core courses, program concentration, and advisor permission.
The Capstone Project takes place after the student has completed at least 24 hours in her or his program. The project can take any number of forms. For example, it might be a curriculum design and implementation project, a pedagogical study, or a theoretical or philosophical analysis of a particular problem or issue. The project may include a substantial written component, but it may also take alternative forms. The project may, for example, involve development of hyper-media curriculum materials, or a pedagogical approach culminating in an interactive performance assessment process. This flexibility allows the capstone to provide programmatic support for a variety of professional purposes, including assistance to teachers pursuing National Board Certification.
The final product can be either a Capstone Project, a Capstone Research Paper (see example from the Journal for Computing Teachers) or Master's Thesis (see example) and should be clearly presented in an appropriate form, suitable for inclusion in a professional portfolio or other permanent record. Projects are expected to be relevant to the student's professional goals, incorporate significant content from a number of courses in the student's program, and to exhibit a minimum 120 hours of effort on the student's part. Completed projects must demonstrate that the student:
Students must receive advisor approval of a proposed project prior to registering for the Capstone. It is expected that students seeking permission to register are knowledgeable about much of the relevant literature regarding their proposed project at that time. A brief account of the proposed project's focus, including reference to the principal sources of knowledge informing it, will be submitted for advisor approval at the beginning of the semester preceding the one in which registration for the Capstone is sought. The core research course, as well as particular courses determined by faculty in each of the concentration areas, will incorporate specific features clearly demarcated on the syllabi of all courses included--designed to facilitate student progress toward the goal of having a suitable project proposal in hand by the end of the program.
Advisors will be determined early in the course of a student's involvement in his or her concentration. All advisors will be Board-appointed faculty in the department. To assist in the process of advisor selection, all faculty involved in Capstone advising will be listed, along with their areas of particular interest and strength, on a document all master's degree candidates receive early in their program.
The number and nature of meetings that advisors have with students completing the Capstone is a matter of faculty discretion. Recommended procedures for faculty advising Capstone Projects will be developed in each of the concentration areas; this will include standard formats, timelines, etc. In all cases, however, a detailed draft of the completed project must be submitted to the advisor by all registered students at least three weeks before the end of the semester in which credit is being sought. Upon completion, a copy of the completed product resulting from each Capstone Project will be housed in the College of Education and Human Development so that students and other interested parties may view and consult them.