This course has a strong writing component. The goal is to organize, synthesize, and demonstrate your comprehension of core concepts investigated during this course by applying a combination of the terms, concepts, and details you have learned in a systematic way. As important as "the details" that you analyze and arrange in your writing, are the conclusions you draw from those details, and your predictions, responses to, and ultimate interpretation of those details.
NOTE: We will use the ONLINE edition of the American Psychological Association’s Publication Manual for ALL of the class writing and formatting styles. If you do not already have the book, it is wise to get a copy ASAP.
Course Requirements: Your final grade will be based on the following course requirements and percentages:
Readings, Assignments and Classroom Participation Requirements
This course requires disciplined independent practice and individual completion of assignments. Although Online Learning provides students with a flexible schedule to meet the student’s professional, personal, and academic responsibilities, students are expected to follow the Student Course Guide and submit assignments on time and on schedule. Unless otherwise arranged, all accepted late weekly assignments will lose 10 points—late thesis or creative project will lose one full letter grade. All work must be submitted by the end of the class session. As adults, students, and working professionals have competing demands for time. Should students need additional time to complete an assignment, please contact the course instructor before the due date, so that the student and the instructor can discuss the situation and determine an acceptable resolution. Routine submission of late assignments is unacceptable and may result in points deducted from the final course grade. Again, assignments submitted late without a prearranged extension will be subject to a 10% late penalty. No late assignments will be accepted after the last day of the course.
Weekly Forum Activities
Ø Most weeks you will participate in discussion activities. Each forum activity will consist of one or more threads/topics. The questions are designed to allow you to apply the concepts you have learned to real-world scenarios or hypothetical but realistic situations.
Ø For the benefit of the course and to promote interaction, post your initial response to the discussion question(s) in assigned thread prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday except for the first week of the class. Your initial post should at least be 250 words or more. Please do not post your initial response late as your classmates will rely on your timely post to stimulate the discussion and offer critical insights for later postings.
Ø Continue to read your classmates' posts and post at least two follow-up posts to your classmates’ posts in each thread prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday. Your follow-up posts should at least be 150 words or more. Of course, you may always post more than the required number of replies and you are encouraged to continue participating in the discussion even after you have met the minimum number of posts required.
Ø Your follow-up posts must contain substance and should add additional insight to your classmates’ opinions or challenge their opinions. It is never sufficient to simply say, “I agree with what you wrote” or “Good post.” You must use your follow-up posts as a way to continue the discussion at a higher level of thinking, particularly since you are interacting at the graduate level. Be sure to read the follow-up posts to your own posts and reply to any question or request for clarification, including questions posted by your professor. You will be expected to log into the classroom several times each week to participate in the class discussion. Forum participation is a large part of your grade, for which quality and depth in participation are expected.
Ø Students are required to include APA style in-text citations from sources used within each post to add credibility and promote research. Each in-text citation should have a corresponding entry, in APA format, in a reference list at the end of the post. You are required to cite a minimum of two sources in your initial post. Also, as a minimum, your follow-up posts must contain at least one support source such as a journal article or webpage with in-text citation(s).
Topic/Table of Contents (Appendix 9: Sample of a Table of Contents)
Topic and Table of Contents are due at the end of Week 2. Please review Appendix 9 - Sample Page of a Table of Contents.
- For week two, submit your topic and the outline, which will be a plan for the TOC.
- You will submit a similar document as illustrated in Appendix 9.
Formal Proposal (Master's Capstone: Thesis Option and Master's Capstone: Creative Project)
A formal proposal is due at the end of Week 3. By this time, you would have selected a topic and provided a proposal outline for your thesis or creative project of which must align with your core subject area. Please use the Capstone Manual and template in the classroom for this assignment. The formal proposal must provide a clear and lucid description of a question, project or problem and a proposed method of answering the question, addressing the project or solving the problem. Proposal drafting is considered a learning process and helps you avoid oversights and possible mistakes; so you may send me a draft before going final. Guidance on the format of the proposal and a sample proposal are contained in the Capstone Manual provided. The proposal should explain the question, project, or problem to be investigated and convince the professor that the question, project or problem merits investigation. It should show that you have read the relevant and recent literature on the subject and it should contain a list of materials consulted during the preliminary stages of your thesis or project. In general, the thesis proposal or creative project should include background information related to the thesis topic or project, purpose of the thesis or project, and investigatory procedures to be used. The formal proposal should not exceed five (5) pages (proposal title page not included). When the proposed thesis or project involves the study of human subjects and/or animals an Institutional Review Board review and approval of the proposed research is required. Please visit http://www.apus.edu/community-scholars/institutional-review-board/research.htm for more guidance—this process takes about a month to complete. Once your proposal is approved, you will work closely with your professor as you develop and address your topic.
Thesis or Creative Project Introduction (See Appendix 1: MA Theses and Appendix 2: MA Creative Project of the 2012 Capstone Manual)
An Introduction is due at the end of Week 5. The thesis introduction will allow you to identify specific research question (s) and set the general context for the study. This section should include:
- The background of the topic
- Statement of the problem – a statement of the problem or general research question and context leading to a clear statement of the specific research question. Background and contextual material justifying why this case or topic should be studied
- Statement of the purpose – a purpose statement
- Research questions
- Significance of the study
- Definitions of unclear terms
- Limitations/delimitations (you may also provide in the Methodology area as well),
- Theoretical framework
The creative project is expected to contain the following elements in the introduction:
- Provide a clear and lucid description of the creative project including the goal and intent of the project.
- Provide a weekly schedule and objectives for the work to be completed in 16 weeks
- Provide a sponsor who will sign and validate the work
Similarly, the introduction identifies your specific creative project and sets the general context for it.
Thesis or Creative Project Research Design (See the Capstone Manual)
Research Design is due at the end of Week 7: describe how you will test the hypothesis and carry out your analysis. This section describes the data to be used to test the hypothesis, how the student will operationalize and collect data on his/her variables, and the analytic methods that to be used, noting potential biases and limitations to the research approach. It should include:
- Identification and operationalization (measurement) of variables.
- A sampling plan (i.e., study population and sampling procedures, if appropriate).
- Justification of case studies used.
- Data collection/sources (secondary literature, archives, interviews, surveys, etc.).
- A summary of analysis procedures (pattern-matching, etc.); and
- Limitations of study and bias discussion.
Thesis or Creative Project Research Design (See the Capstone Manual)
A 25 page literature review is due at the end of Week 8. The literature review focuses on how the creative project experience fits into the discipline. Specifically, it introduces the project and places it in a larger context that includes a discussion of how this experience helps the student meet the program objectives. It provides the current state of accumulated knowledge as it relates to the project.
- Describe how completing this project is consistent with the course of study.
- Articulate the objectives the student hopes to achieve through the completion of this project.
- Provide a short conclusion and transition to the next section.
Thesis Literature Review: reviews the literature on a specific research question. The literature review focuses on discussing how other researchers have addressed the same or similar research questions. It introduces the study and places it in larger context that includes a discussion of why it is important to study this case. It provides the current state of accumulated knowledge as it relates to the student’s specific research question.
- Summarize the general state of the literature (cumulative knowledge base) on the specific research question:
- Study one: summarize to include researcher’s findings, how those findings were obtained, and evaluation of biases in the findings.
- Study two: summarize to include researcher’s findings, how those findings were obtained, and evaluation of biases in the findings.
- Include a minimum of at least three of the most important studies.
- Include a short conclusion and transition to the next section.
To help you meet your final paper requirement. Please review the rubric and Capstone Manual for more specific guidelines on expectations; however, please note you are to provide comprehensive analysis of details, facts, and concepts in a logical sequence. You should demonstrate a higher- level of critical thinking necessary for 500-600 level work. You are to provide well-supported ideas and reflection with a variety of current and/or world views in the assignment. You are expected to present a genuine intellectual development of ideas throughout assignment. You should thoroughly understand and excel in explaining all major points. An original, unique, and/or imaginative approach to overall ideas, concepts, and findings is required. Overall format of assignment needs to include an appropriate introduction (or abstract), well- developed paragraphs, and conclusion. Finished assignment demonstrates your ability to plan and organize research in a logical sequence. You are expected to use at least of 25 or more references in your literature review.
Draft Thesis or Creative Project
Draft Thesis, Research Paper, or Project is at the end of Week 12. Please use the guidance in the Capstone Manual under Resources in the classroom for this assignment. The coordinating process requires consistent communication with you to ensure adequate feedback on draft paper on project. You are encouraged ask other faculty, professionals and leaders in your field of study to read and provide feedback on draft sections of your thesis, major research paper, or project where these faculty members and professionals may have special expertise. For example, the student's graduate research methods instructor may be asked for feedback on the research paper's research design.
Final Thesis or Creative Project
Your final thesis or project is due at the end of Week 15. This will include the requirements of the Capstone Manual. Again, please use the guidance in the Capstone Manual under Resources in the classroom for this assignment. You need to provide a minimum of 25 references to support your final thesis or creative project.
FINAL PROJECT BLOG/WEBINAR (Check with your professor about the specifics for webinar presentation)
Now that you have completed your thesis or creative project, you are required to write a 500 words blog by the end of Week 16 of your paper and submit for grading. Depending on the quality of your blog, we publish it to the http://www.apus.edu/ctl/students/gradstudies/resources.htm website and other publically associated websites. You will get an opportunity to note the publication on your resume and contribute to the intellectual development of the discipline. Below is the requirement for the blog:
Guidelines for blogging:
- Aim for a max of 500 words. It’s OK to go over this amount, but keep it concise and to the point.
- Include a 50 word bio for each post that includes the author’s education and professional background as it relates to the content.
- Write in short, declarative paragraphs. Do not use APA style and avoid being overly formal in the narrative.
- Keep the tone of the piece conversational and write to the general public, or a prospective student who may be new to higher education. Personalize the discussion. If you’re an expert in this area, write in first person narrative and be specific in your examples.
- Language should be compelling, with a tone of authority and academia. Cite any reference works, and make sure the content is universally understandable. If you’re using statistics, format them into bulleted lists in order to break up the content.
- Focus on timely subjects. It’s more compelling to readers if you discuss topical issues related to your program such as technical innovations, controversial issues, or new career paths. This helps to convey our focus on providing relevant, forward thinking education.
- Be comprehensive. If you’re introducing an idea, or initiative write from beginning to end. Narrate the post with a purpose, and leave the reader with something to think
Submission Instructions for Webinar
• Use the provided slides as guidance
• You may use images from sites such as http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
• Do not crowd your slides
• You will present the 30 minutes Webinar Saturday of WK16, starting at 4PM ET (coordinate with your professor)
• Exercise professionalism
• Submit the slides for grading and present in a webinar format for 50% of your grade!
All work submitted must be original work. Incidents of academic dishonesty will result in you failing the assignment, and repeat incidents will result in failing the course. I check assignment regularly for incidents of academic dishonesty. Please read and understand the University policy on academic dishonesty. You must credit your sources and provide the appropriate references on your assignments.
All written submissions should be submitted in a font and page set-up that is readable and neat. It is recommended that students try to adhere to a consistent format, which is described below.
- Typewritten in double-spaced format with a readable style and font and submitted inside the electronic classroom (unless classroom access is not possible and other arrangements have been approved by the professor).
- Arial 11 or 12-point font or Times New Roman styles.
- Page margins Top, Bottom, Left Side and Right Side = 1 inch, with reasonable accommodation being made for special situations and online submission variances.
Please note that Wikipedia is NOT an acceptable source for use in your academic writing at APUS, due to the fact that it is open for editing by anyone and is not guaranteed to be reviewed for accuracy. Use your judgment when choosing sources and try to stick with articles and websites from reputable organizations that are likely to be accurate and authoritative, rather than blogs and wikis that are subjective in nature.
All weekly written assignments will be assessed according to this rubric. Note that a score of 0 may be assigned in any category where your work does not meet the criteria for the beginning level.
|Week 1 Forum
|Week 2 Forum
|Week 3 Forum
|Week 4 Forum
|Week 5 Forum
|Week 6 Forum
|Week 7 Forum
|Week 8 Forum
|Week 9 Forum
|Week 10 Forum
|Week 11 Forum
|Week 12 Forum
|Week 13 Forum
|Week 14 Forum
|Week 15 Forum
|Week 16 Forum
|Assignment 2: Week 3 Formal Proposal
|Assignment 4: Week 7 Research Design
|Assignment 5: Week 8 Literature Review
|Assignment 8: Week 16 Review and Presentation of Final Work
|Assignment 1: Week 2 Table of Contents
|Assignment 3: Week 5 Thesis or Creative Project
|Assignment 6: Week 12 Draft Due
|Assignment 7: Week 15 Final Due