Capstone Course CCT

Capstone Course

Students enroll in CRCRTH 694: Synthesis of Theory and Practice Seminar to undertake a supervised synthesis project and exit self-assessment, through which they review and reflect on the integration into their professional lives of critical and creative thinking skills and strategies and demonstrate competencies appropriate and relevant to their disciplines. The synthesis project has two parts: a written essay and an oral presentation. The synthesis project essay follows the Office of Graduate Studies Guidelines for the Preparation of Theses & Dissertations and is expected to incorporate an appropriate theoretical framework and references to relevant scholarly work in its field. The 30- to 60-minute oral presentation is given before members of the CCT faculty. Both the essay and the oral presentation are evaluated by at least two members of the CCT faculty.

The essay (20-40 pages) may integrate exhibits from the student's work during the program, which may take a variety of forms, such as, Original Curriculum Materials, a Professional Development Workshop series, a Video case study, a Practitioner's Portfolio, or a Prospectus for future research and engagement. The form and length of the essay depends on the particular nature of the project. For example, an extended essay that reviews and critiques relevant literatures would be expected with the Prospectus, but a shorter essay may accompany a Video case study. (Greater detail on suggested options is given below, but the exact form of the synthesis can be crafted by students in consultation with their advisor.)

There are two required pre-capstone courses, CCT692 and CCT693. Before CCT 694 can be undertaken CCT 692 must be completed and a 500-1000 word proposal by the student must be approved by the advisor and Program Coordinator. With permission of the Program Coordinator, CCT693 may be taken at the same time as CCT694.  CCT696 provides a framework for completion of your capstone experience, a synthesis or thesis project, in which you synthesize previous theory and practice and extend your learning in your chosen area of interest. All Capstone Projects must demonstrate knowledge and integration of critical and creative thinking skills, processes and strategies. There are many specific options for these projects, listed below, from the development of a traditional theoretical paper to a curriculum or professional development series, to the creation of a Web Page.

Notes in Preparation for Synthesis Project
(Handouts and forms related to Synthesis projects)
* The Synthesis project should begin well before the synthesis seminar semester. During the semester before the synthesis seminar semester, either a semester of thesis research/independent study or the Practicum should be taken. The deadlines for writing the synthesis product make it next to impossible to do any new research during the synthesis seminar semester, beyond what is needed to complete the literature review and subsequent write-up. The time between semesters should also be used to complete research prior to the synthesis seminar.

* The main advisor for the synthesis project will be the instructor for the syntheis seminar. If the instructor is not a specialist in your area of interest, the other reader(s) should be so they can assist you in identifying and addressing the relevant literature.

* A proposal for the synthesis project should be presented to the adviser and reader(s) by the latest at the start of the synthesis semester, but ideally by the end of the previous semester.

* Given the tight deadlines for writing during the synthesis semester and the teaching and advising load of faculty members, you should not rely on readers to do detailed copy-editing on your writing. That relationship between student and reader usually gets in the way of dialogue around the content and overall organization of your synthesis. Assistance from some outside party, skilled in copy-editing, should be arranged, even if it costs some money.

Capstone Options

Portfolio option (approved by CCT Faculty, 3/25/02): Students may combine a practitioner's narrative related to your development during your CCT's studies (option 2b) with a reduced length version of any of the other options. The practitioner's narrative "is an occasion for the writer to think deeply about his/her own practice-its origin, dynamic nature, influences, commitments, and future directions-to yield useful insights and discoveries." The recommended way to undertake this kind of practitioner's narrative is to prepare a "process review portfolio" consisting of exhibits with one-page annotations and an overall introduction, afterword, and a paragraph overview (to be included with your synthesis abstract). These exhibits should be selected to convey your process of development during your studies, not only your best work or your final products. For this option ot be meaningful, you should save material for exhibits all through your studies. More details

1. A Position Paper addressing a question or set of questions through review and critique of the appropriate literatures, and concluding with a set of recommendations or reframed/reinterpreted questions. (E.g., How is transfer of learning currently understood? How can transfer of learning be facilitated in middle school math classes?) Students are encouraged to write the essay as a publishable article for a specific professional journal.

2a. A Practitioner's Narrative in which teachers or other practitioners describe and reflect on the implementation of a change process in their setting. Including an account of initiatives, consequences, obstacles, problem solving, and project redesign, as well as reflections on the change process itself.

2b. A Practitioner's Narrative in which the reflective narrative is not focused on a particular event or change but is an occasion for the writers to think deeply about their own practice-its origin, dynamic nature, influences, commitments, and future directions-to yield useful insights and discoveries.

3. An 18-20 lesson Curriculum unit or Professional Development Workshop Series reflecting the integration of recommendations from the CCT Program, including a rationale of its design and structure, detailed plans, and assessment procedures.

4. A set of Original Curriculum Materials; the accompanying paper explains how and why the materials were developed, what need they meet, and specifically how they are to be used for instruction and assessment.

5. A set of Curriculum materials in another form (e.g. software) supported by an essay as in (4).

6. A Video case study in 5 to 8 scenes designed to promote reflective dialogue and analysis of how the teacher/ leader functions; focusing on some aspects of teaching for thinking, and presenting reflections by the subject themselves and two others (for example, a student, colleague, parent). (The video might be used in CCT classes to provoke more subtle discussions of practice.) The video case study is to be accompanied by a supporting essay.

7. An Arts option, comprising a work of literature or a video piece; the accompanying essay describes the work's evolution, and locates it in an appropriate theoretical framework.

7a. Literature or visual product -- a piece of fiction, poetry or drama of appropriate scope (e.g. a one act play, a poetry chapbook, a short story or 2-3 short, shorts) polished and publication ready.

7b. A Video Enactment
-- a vignette, extended dramatic monologue, poetry reading, dance, musical performance, recorded (edited) with reasonable professionalism.


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Last update 7 May 09