As you move towards completion of your Instructional Technology degree, one of the final requirements is to submit a final project and defend it before a committee of faculty. This document describes the process involved in completing a final project along with a suggested format for reporting your work.
You should also be aware of the graduation requirements and procedures, since the project is usually the last thing you do before completing your degree. The Graduate School has specific deadlines and forms that are necessary to apply for graduation. Start that process now so that you aren't caught in a bind later.
Steps You Should Complete for a Final Project
1. Discuss ideas for your project with your advisor, other faculty, your fellow students, and your colleagues.
2. Develop a three page proposal statement that addresses the following:
- Identify a problem.
- Discuss the context in which the problem exists.
- Develop a rationale for solving the problem.
- State in general the procedures you would use to solve the problem.
- Cite one or two good references that discuss similar problems and/or solutions.
Discuss the proposal with your advisor.
3. When your topic and proposal have been approved by your advisor, dive into the problem. First you should develop or employ an appropriate methodology for design and development that addresses the various stages of systematic instructional design, including analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation. You could also employ a rapid-prototyping model that proceeds in iterative cycles of design-develop-test, and involves the target population from the outset. Or you could employ a constructivist model that emphasizes the development of a learning environment in which learners explore a context area according to their own interests and needs. Regardless of the model you employ, be prepared to describe what you did to analyze the problem, design a solution, develop a solution, implement the solution, and evaluate the results. Now go and do it!
4. After you have analyzed the results of your efforts, it is time to report what happened. Work with your advisor to develop a written description of your project activities and results. This should take the form of a substantial document that includes your narrative, description, along with data from your needs analysis, examples of any materials you might have used, data from your evaluation activities, etc. Guidelines for the report format are included later in this document.
5. When you and your advisor are happy with your project documentation, it is time to schedule a final defense before your faculty committee. This requires that a form be sent to the Graduate school scheduling the Final Examination (your advisor will take care of the forms). A request to schedule a final examination must be made two weeks in advance.
6. At the same time as your final examination is scheduled, you should provide a copy of your project documentation to each member of your committee. If you have included substantial materials as appendices, you don't need to make copies of these as well. Your advisor will see that the committee inspects the appendices before the final exam.
7. When the day for your final exam arrives you can expect to make a short oral presentation to the committee. During the presentation, you should briefly describe your project, what you did and what results occurred. It is expected that your presentation be well-organized, well-prepared, and supported with appropriate media such as a computer-based presentation, overheads, charts, diagrams, etc. Prepare as if you were making a presentation at a professional meeting. After your presentation, the committee members may then ask you questions about your project. When all the committee members are satisfied with your answers, you will be asked to leave the room briefly. The committee will come to a consensus regarding whether your project should be approved, and you will be informed of their decision. The meeting for the final exam typically lasts from 30-60 minutes. That's it! The project is finished and you are well on your way to completing your degree.
Guidelines for Final Project Documentation
Your final project documentation should include a substantial amount of material, organized something like the outline given below. Your narrative should also follow the most recent guidelines of the APA for format of citations and references.
1. Title page - include a short descriptive title, your name and social security number, and the semester in which you are completing the Final Project.
2. Written Narrative - Include at least the following major sections:
Introduction: Introduce the problem, context, need, goals, and proposed solution.
Analysis: What steps did you follow to better understand the problem and generate a solution?
Design: What did you do to design a solution? Whose theories and models did you rely on?
Development: What did you do to develop components of the solution?
Implementation: What did you do to actually carry out the solution you designed?
Evaluation: What did you do to evaluate the effects of your solution?
Conclusions: Summarize the success of your project, and describe what could be improved.
3. References and Bibliography (Use APA format).
4. Appendices - include examples of questionnaires used in needs of assessment, examples of instructional materials, etc.