Syllabus for MPL-710
CAPSTONE IN PUBLIC SERVICE
Candidates for completion of the Master of Public Service Leadership, Master of Science in Management—Public Service Careers, and Master of Science in Homeland Security degrees will complete a project demonstrating their conceptual, analytical, research, and practical management skills achieved through the courses in each program. The project is a 3-credit, one-term requirement that is completed at the end of the program. It is a closely supervised experience resulting in a paper that demonstrates the student’s ability to synthesize and utilize the skills and knowledge gained in their graduate program.
After completing this course, you should be able to:
CO 1 Create an original research paper that contributes new or advances existing research on a practical management/business problem.
CO 2 Defend the strategy to implement the chosen data collection and analytical methodology for the research problem.
CO 3 Compare patterns through data analysis and draw well-reasoned conclusions and recommendations.
CO 4 Develop and deliver a professional research report and oral presentation.
You may already have the following text, which is strongly recommended, although not required, to do the work of the course. The text is available from the University's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.
Students are expected to adhere to APA style and to submit all work—both drafts and final copy—in accordance with APA style. Students who are not familiar with APA style should become entirely familiar with it early in the capstone course. Although the manual referenced above is the best source, the following online sources may give quick answers to specific questions about APA style. If you bookmark the following sites in your browser, you can easily return to them:
University of Wisconsin-Madison Writer's Handbook
The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue
The following text, used in Organizational Research for Public Service (MNP-511), should be consulted frequently for questions about research in general or, more specifically, about problem definition, review of the literature, and methodologies. Students in this capstone course should already have a solid understanding of planning and designing research from taking that earlier course.
The Capstone in Public Service is a three-credit online course, consisting of four modules. Modules include an overview, topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles and topics are listed below. During your experience in MNP-511, you developed a research proposal. In this course, you may choose to update and then implement the research described in that proposal, or you may want to pursue a completely different research topic for this capstone project.
Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2
Topics covered in this module include:
Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2, 3
Topics covered in this module include:
Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 3
Topics covered in this module include:
Course objectives covered in this module: 1, 2, 3, 4
Topics covered in this module include:
One or more of the assignments in this course may involve original research. Research on persons other than yourself may require approval by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of Thomas Edison State University prior to beginning your research. Examples of research types that may need IRB review are questionnaires, surveys, passive observation of individuals, interviews, and experimental procedures. Research involving vulnerable populations will always need IRB review. An IRB review is designed to protect research subjects from potential harm.
The following links fully explain the purpose of the Institutional Research Board as well as how to determine if your research requires IRB review. If you are in doubt, always ask for guidance from the University.
For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in discussion forums and a synchronous event, submit written assignments, and complete a capstone project that encompasses a final paper and a presentation. See below for more details.
Consult the Course Calendar for assignment due dates.
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.
This course includes three discussion forums. Online discussions provide an opportunity for you to interact with your classmates. During this aspect of the course, you respond to prompts that assist you in developing your project ideas, share those ideas with your classmates, and comment on their posts. Discussion forum interactions promote development of a community of learners, critical thinking, and exploratory learning.
Please participate in online discussions as you would in constructive face-to-face discussions. You are expected to post well-reasoned and thoughtful reflections for each item, making reference, as appropriate, to your readings. You are also expected to reply to your classmates' posts in a respectful, professional, and courteous manner. You may, of course, post questions asking for clarification or further elucidation on a topic.
Participation in the Discussion Forums is required but does not count toward your course grade. You will receive a grade of complete/incomplete for your participation.
You are required to participate in one synchronous event. It will be scheduled during Week 2 of the course and will take place during Week 5. To access the event, click the Collaboration Space link in the Edison Live! section of the course site a few minutes before the designated time. Use the following link for directions and helpful videos about how to use the Edison Live! tool in Moodle. Your mentor will work with the class to propose a time that works best and accommodates the majority.
You will complete five written assignments throughout the course. Each of the following written assignments represents a section of your final capstone paper. Your mentor will provide detailed feedback and guidance to support your research along the way. Each written assignment (WA) will be graded except where noted.
Evaluation rubrics for the above graded assignments are found within the Evaluation Rubrics folder for the course.
The culmination of the above written assignments will be a final capstone paper. This paper will be 25–40 pages and should introduce new work and ideas and make an original contribution to research or to current practice. Guidelines for the capstone paper can be found in the Capstone Overview.
A Final Capstone Paper rubric can be found within the Evaluation Rubrics area for the course.
During Week 12 of the course, students will present their capstone papers to the mentor via Edison Live! To access the meeting, click the Collaboration Space link in the Edison Live! section of the course site a few minutes before the designated time. Use the following link for directions and helpful videos about how to use the Edison Live! tool in Moodle. The presentation should be 15 minutes long with an additional 15–30 minutes for discussion. Students will also be completing approximately 10 PowerPoint slides that will be submitted to the mentor prior to the presentation meeting. Guidelines for the presentation can be found in the Capstone Overview.
A Capstone Presentation rubric can be found within the Evaluation Rubrics area for the course.
Students will be evaluated on their assignments using the rubrics found in the Evaluation Rubrics folder of the course. 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:
To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or higher on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., assignments, discussion postings, projects, etc.). Graduate students must maintain a B average overall to remain in good academic standing.
To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:
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.
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
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 email.
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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