Syllabus for LIB-495

LIBERAL ARTS CAPSTONE


COURSE DESCRIPTION

Liberal Arts Capstone (LIB-495) provides engagement in a student-centered, content-related learning experience that serves as a summary and synthesis of courses in a student's undergraduate academic career. Students select an area of interest related to their academic studies and engage in an assignment leading to a research project, creative project, or applied project reflective of comprehensive knowledge gained in undergraduate studies and demonstrate their knowledge of the outcomes of the Bachelor of Arts degree. A capstone presentation and paper culminate the course.

Note: This is a course unlike any other you have taken during your academic career. In this course you will have a great deal of latitude over the direction you wish to take when developing a capstone project. Your course mentor is the facilitator, who will direct you towards your goal. You have the opportunity to follow your passion to explore and create a product or learn something that will add to the body of knowledge in your chosen field.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1. Determine an issue, problem, information gap, or creative endeavor in your field of inquiry.
  2. Demonstrate proficiency as an independent learner and critical thinker.
  3. Apply research and analysis techniques to the explanation and resolution of an information gap, issue, or problem, by studying or creating a project in your respective field.
  4. Design a project based on theory and knowledge from courses in your field of study.
  5. Synthesize the parts of research to produce a comprehensive, valid result in a concrete format.
  6. Reach conclusions through use of external resources that reflect knowledge.
  7. Apply all elements of scholarly assignment to a written document, utilizing Standard Academic English and APA or MLA format.
  8. Present an ethically responsible final project in an academic, professional format, as a bridge to your future work/employment.
  9. Demonstrate a comprehension of globally diverse perspectives.

 

COURSE MATERIALS

You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct, at: http://bookstore.mbsdirect.net/tesc.htm.

Required Textbooks

  • Joyner, R., Rouse, W. & Glatthorn, A. (2013). Writing the winning thesis or dissertation: A step-by-step guide (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

ISBN: 978-1452258782

  • Raimes, A. (2014). Keys for writers (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth.

ISBN: 978-1111841751

Online References, Resources, Learning Materials

COURSE STRUCTURE

Liberal Arts Capstone is a three-credit online course, consisting of six (6) modules. Modules include the study assignments, discussion assignments, and written activities. Study assignments consist primarily of readings in the course textbook(s) and in course documents and supplemental research. Module titles are listed below.

ASSESSMENT METHODS

For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in six (6) graded online discussions; take the ETS Proficiency Profile test; complete six (6) written assignments designed to help you incrementally prepare, and submit a paper on your research project, creative project, or applied project.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

Liberal Arts Capstone requires you to participate in periodic discussion assignments. In addition, you are required to participate in an ungraded Introductions forum in Module 1.

Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct assignments: an initial response to a posted assignment and subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

For additional information on online discussions, see Online Discussions in the Online Student Handbook.

The Discussion Forum Grading Rubric is available at: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3Hl0w2fKCbXLTFJVVRqTWNVb28/edit?usp=sharing.

Written Assignments

Follow the directions given for each written assignment in the Module details.

For some techniques about how to write sentences with impact, read the article Working With Words, available at: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3Hl0w2fKCbXTERERHhOejhDV3c/edit?usp=sharing.

Assignments must be prepared and submitted electronically. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.

Before submitting your first assignment, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your assignment as a rich-text (.rtf) file using the “Save As” command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.


Turnitin Requirement for Assignment 2

You are required to submit Assignment 2 in this course to Turnitin.com, an academic plagiarism prevention site, prior to submitting the assignment within your course space. You will receive immediate written feedback from Turnitin regarding writing style as well as a plagiarism gauge with tips for proper citations. You then have the opportunity to edit your assignment with this feedback in mind and resubmit it to Turnitin for additional checking. Once you are satisfied with the assignment, you are required to submit the Turnitin feedback (also known as the originality report)  for the final version along with the project itself within the course space.

Read carefully the documents at the following links, as they will give you instructions for this requirement:

Turnitin Student Manual

Turnitin FAQ

The course ID and password that you will need in order to create an account may be found at the following link. Look within Step 1, locating your course ID and password by semester.

Course ID and Password by Semester

This information can also be found within Using Turnitin for Assignments. You can locate this document in the topic list area of your course space.

Students please note: Some of the Turnitin documents will refer to using turnitin for the Final Project rather than Assignment 2. In this course, the requirement is to submit Assignment 2, not the final project. You have the option of submitting any of your other assignments or the final project to Turnitin.com. Submit any additional assignments through the slots with the optional label. However, submitting other assignments is NOT a requirement and you should not submit originality reports for these assignments to your mentor.

Types of Capstone Projects

Depending on your area of interest in your field, you may choose from among the following three types of capstone projects:

Research Project

Questions and Inquiries: You will select a gap in knowledge in your discipline created by an area that may not have been previously addressed in course content or may have served as inspiration for greater knowledge on the subject matter, idea, or concept. Through systematic inquiry, you will research, collect, organize, and produce an analysis of the information from both primary and secondary sources.

Your research project will conclude with a 25-page (minimum) scholarly report in Standard Academic English and with appropriate APA documentation, which successfully fills your gap in knowledge on the selected topic.

Creative Project

Audience Demonstration and Presentation: If you are a student in visual, performing, or literary arts you have the opportunity to synthesize knowledge by developing a creative product in your respective field of study. It may take the form of developing a film, choreographing a dance, acting in a production, exhibiting paintings, writing a collection of poetry or short stories, writing a play, writing a literary analysis, presenting a photographic essay, or any similar type of creative endeavor.

Your capstone will conclude with an explanatory report relating to the production of your project. It should reveal a synthesis of skills and content knowledge. The length of your explanatory report will be determined according to the nature of your project and subject to approval by your mentor, but it should be a minimum of 15 pages.

This type of project will require a demonstration using a either a PowerPoint presentation or a video presentation.

Applied Project

Question/Answer: If you are a student in business, education, social work, or public administration you have the option of selecting a problem within the context of your respective field of study and relating it to an organization, community, or institution. Your attempts to answer a real problem will represent your ability to synthesize and apply concepts learned through course content.

Your applied project will conclude with a 25-page (minimum) scholarly report, appropriately documented in APA format and written in Standard Academic English, that provides answers to the project question.

Capstone Project Presentation

Creative Project

If you choose to produce a Creative Project, you must showcase your work in either a PowerPoint presentation or a video presentation.

Research and Applied Projects

Although it is NOT a requirement for the Research and Applied Projects, you may wish to prepare either a PowerPoint presentation or a video presentation about your work to share with your mentor and classmates.

Capstone Project Paper

As noted above, each type of project requires that you write a paper with a certain minimum number of pages in length which you must submit to your mentor.

The Final Project Evaluation Rubric may also help you as you prepare your paper, and is available at: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3Hl0w2fKCbXNEF6aDEybm5iRkE/edit?usp=sharing.

Documentation and Academic Integrity

During this course, you will be conducting research and presenting the results of that research. You may already know how to document sources--and avoid plagiarism--but if you need additional help, consult information in one of the following links:

These sites will help you style and format your capstone using either MLA or APA.

For additional information on academic integrity and citing sources, see Academic Integrity in the Online Student Handbook.

ETS® Proficiency Profile

As part of your coursework, you are required to complete an assessment called the ETS® Proficiency Profile test. The test, offered through Educational Testing Service (ETS), measures knowledge in the core areas of reading, mathematics, writing, and critical thinking. It is a widely accepted standardized assessment tool that will provide the College with important data to assess the College’s overall quality and effectiveness in meeting the needs of our students. It serves as a valuable tool in helping us measure progress in achieving established learning goals and evaluate the effectiveness of our programs.

The ETS Proficiency Profile assessment is administered in a proctored, online format. It should take you no longer than 45 minutes to complete. The confidentiality of your responses and scores will be protected. Your individual score will not be recorded, but you will receive 2% of your overall grade for completing the assessment. Consult the course Calendar for the due dates for taking this test.

For more information on the ETS Proficiency Profile and how to access the test, see the ETS Proficiency Profile Test section of the course Web site.

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:

A

=

93–100

C+

=

78–79

A–

=

90–92

C

=

73–77

B+

=

88–89

C–

=

70–72

B

=

83–87

D

=

60–69

B–

=

80–82

F

=

Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a non-area of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized assignment, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.

Plagiarism

Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > "Citing Sources.")

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else's. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.


Copyright © 2014 by Thomas Edison State College. All rights reserved.