Components of the Capstone Experience
The Capstone Experience is a culminating project spanning the length of your program and designed to measure your growth and competency in learning the skills associated with your selected field of study. It contains a measure of self-reflection but also, insights from faculty experts who know and understand the challenges of a given discipline you use to improve and expand your thinking. Learning is dynamic. Your skills in thinking, writing, applying scholarly thought and a range of other abilities should improve with each course, documented in the assignments you select to become artifacts. When you have reached your goal, the completed capstone becomes a source of pride as you document your expertise. The components of the capstone are structured to provide a balance between required documents and those you selected as exemplary examples of your best work. This framework is a measure of your progress and success in your program. The capstone is completed in Capstone Experience course during your last term in the program as you are taking your final academic course. The following components are required for completion:
Please note that templates, planning guides, and instructional videos are available in Student Commons. Please utilize the capstone experience areas for forms and assistance.
Individual Student Profile (Completed during first course)
This profile contains your philosophy of learning and professional goals statements (3-5), which will state your intent as a graduate professional. For each goal statement, you will describe how the goal translates into actions you intend to use in your professional setting.
A personal philosophy of learning is an internal inventory of what you believe about learning and why, for yourself and for others. A philosophy is expressed outwardly through decisions which are often expressed in goals. (See Appendix A for an example).
These demonstrate your competency in each of the program outcomes by submitting 1) designated assignments or reflections serving as Key Assessments, and 2) your personal choices of your best work. Each artifact should be a quality exemplar showing your accomplishment of a program outcome. These are completed within each course of the program and uploaded during the capstone course.
An assignment becomes an artifact when a rationale or justification is included on the cover page (see Appendix D - Cover Page Template). The rationale paragraph should be well-developed and clearly (and thoroughly) explain how the artifact demonstrates mastery of the program outcome.
Artifacts APA and Writing Checklist
- Cover Page (See Student Commons for an example and template) should contain, at least, a one-paragraph rationale as it relates to the identified program outcome, intentionally explaining how all parts of the outcome are addressed in the specific assignment.
- Title Page, includes the running header, title, author’s name, author’s institution as identified for all assignments.
- Running header on each page. The title page differs from the title page running header (check APA formatting rules).
- Body of the text created as an assignment.
- Accurate format (common errors: every reference must be used as an in-text citation, include hanging indent. Do not capitalize entire title. Do not write out entire author name. Do not include retrieval date unless this follows one of the APA Manual 6th edition rules. Check the font size to ensure uniformity. Ensure entire document is double-spaced evenly).
Please check student commons for your planning guide that will state the Original Contribution requirement for your program of study. Your Original Contribution will not need to be pre-approved. Should your program of study require you to create a new artifact your planning should be original for you. Though it may contain 25% of a previously completed course assignment, the product should exhibit significant expansion of the initial idea.
LinkedIn Profile (Completed prior to finishing the Capstone Experience course)
Professional networks, such as LinkedIn, present online opportunities to share your credentials in a real-world application. Knowing what and when to share personal and private information requires critical judgment. The purpose is to develop an online resume/presence and network (connect) with colleagues and faculty from American College of Education. This component asks you to create a LinkedIn account, to demonstrate your online craft by publishing a profile suited for your personal preferences, and provide the capstone faculty member the link, following the directions in the course. LinkedIn offers a forum for sharing professional credentials. For an example of a fully developed profile, Dr. Kenneth Jandes, associate dean and director of the Office of Academic Excellence (OAE), provides an excellent sampling of possibilities.
While LinkedIn does have a private option, if you are concerned about sharing any information within a social media site, you have the option of contacting your faculty to create an alternative profile.
The capstone paper is a reflective review of your graduate experience. The Individual Student Profile information, completed in the first course, becomes a springboard for considering growth in thinking and applying program outcomes. Learning requires change. The Capstone Experience Paper documents your change, over time, as a result of your participation in this program.
Capstone Paper APA and Writing Checklist
- Title page (initial running header, title, author’s name, author’s institution)
- Running header on each page
- Title on first written page
- Body of the text
Maximum Number of Enrollment in Capstone
Due to unforeseen circumstances, times may exist when students cannot complete their capstone prior to their intended graduation date/end of program. If either a capstone is not completed, students can be re-enrolled in these courses as long as they do not exceed the maximum number of enrollments as defined below. If a student is not successful after the designated number of course registrations, they will be administratively withdrawn from the College.
* Capstone: Students can take the Capstone course (5 week course) no more than five times (25 weeks of course time) during and enrollment at ACE.