Syllabus for LIB-495



Liberal Arts Capstone provides students with the opportunity to summarize, synthesize, and build upon course work in their undergraduate major area, resulting in a substantial research project and oral presentation. Students in this course will demonstrate their achievement of learning outcomes associated with their major area of study as well as the general outcomes of the Bachelor of Arts degree.



After completing this course, students should be able to:

CO 1        Develop a research project utilizing applicable concepts in their area of study.

CO 2        Apply appropriate research strategies to the investigation of the project topic.

CO 3        Evaluate and synthesize evidence from credible sources to reach a reasonable conclusion.

CO 4        Demonstrate appropriate academic rigor by uniformly applying citation styles (MLA or APA) and applying appropriate ethical research practices.

CO 5        Use Standard English to produce a well-developed written paper and oral presentation.


Required Textbook

ISBN-13: 978-0134575902


Liberal Arts Capstone is a three-credit, online course consisting of six modules. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, complete the ETS Proficiency Profile, complete the ETS Major Field Test or Written Communication Assessment (non-MFT majors only), and complete a two-part capstone project. See below for details.

Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Promoting Originality

One or more of your course activities may utilize a tool designed to promote original work and evaluate your submissions for plagiarism. More information about this tool is available in About SafeAssign.

Discussion Forums

In addition to an ungraded Introductions Forum, you are required to participate in five graded online class discussions.

Communication with your mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online class discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a discussion question and at least two subsequent comments on classmates' responses.

All of these responses must be substantial. 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 or your mentor, state and support your position.

You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation, including your use of relevant course information to support your point of view and your awareness of and responses to the postings of your classmates. Remember, these are discussions: responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, mature, and respectful.

Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete four written assignments. The written assignments are on a variety of topics associated with the course modules. Each module outlined in the course is designed to help you develop the sections of your capstone project. For specific details consult the individual course modules. Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

ETS® Proficiency Profile

You are required to complete the ETS Proficiency Profile. This assessment measures skills in reading, writing, mathematics, and critical thinking. It will allow the University to collect data on these general education outcomes and will inform continuous improvement to academic offerings. You do not need to study to prepare for this assessment, but it carries weight in the course and must be completed.

Please use the following link that explains the steps involved in taking the exam, including the system checks that must be completed prior to taking the exam: ETS Proficiency Exam and Instructions. 

Please read all instructions prior to taking the exam and allow extra time to complete the system checks.


To receive credit for completing the ETS Proficiency Profile, you must submit a PDF of your score report. As the Proficiency Profile is a required element within LIB-495, you must submit your score in order to receive credit for the course. 

Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

ETS® Major Field Test or Written Communication Assessment

Depending on your major, you must complete either a Major Field Test or a Written Communication Assessment. Major Field Tests are offered for select majors to evaluate knowledge of material in that major. If you are taking a Major Field Test, you must submit a PDF of your score report in order to receive credit for the course. If your major does not have a Major Field Test, you will instead complete a Written Communication Assessment that will measure specific college-level writing skills. You do not need to study to prepare for these assessments, but they carry weight in the course and must be completed.

For more information, and to complete either the Major Field Test or the Written Communication Assessment, refer to these assessments in Moodle.  

Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.

Capstone Project

This capstone project requires you to summarize, synthesize, and build upon course work in your undergraduate major area, resulting in a substantial research project. The entire course is designed as a step-by-step process in the formulation of a two-part capstone project consisting of an academic research paper and oral presentation. By completing this project, you will demonstrate your achievement of the learning outcomes associated with the Bachelor of Arts degree.

Note: If you choose to conduct original field research requiring human subjects, you must read all pertinent information about IRB Forms and submit an IRB application by the end of Module 1. You must receive Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval before conducting original field research. Keep in mind, original field research is not a requirement of this capstone project. If you have any questions about original field research or the IRB process, be sure to discuss them with your mentor at the beginning of the course.

Please reference the Capstone Project section of the course website for full details and requirements. Consult the Course Calendar for due dates.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

Note: You must submit all assigned course work to receive credit for this course. If you do not submit all assigned course work, you will receive an incomplete.

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:






























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 course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings).


First Steps to Success

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

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University 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.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at Thomas Edison State University.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University 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 University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

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, or without identifying it as a direct quote, 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.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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