Scope: The Capstone for the Sergeants Major Course–Distance Learning (SMC–DL) culminates in the development of a comprehensive review of the student’s work throughout the course related to SMC learning objectives. The artifacts captured in the e-portfolio throughout the course will allow students to demonstrate synthesis, integration, and application of knowledge acquisition gained from the coursework within the program of study. The Capstone project provides evidence of educational attainment and exhibits insightful application of doctrine and theory in real world contexts.
Action: Produce an individual professional writing paper.
Conditions: As a senior leader in a distance learning (DL) environment as a member of a problem-solving team or individually maximizing the use of asynchronous and synchronous methodologies in an online classroom setting using references, practical exercises, class discussions, and personal experiences based on the contemporary operational environment.
Standard: Production of an individual written paper suitable for publication.
Learning Domain: Cognitive
Level of Learning: Analysis
The purpose of the capstone is for the learners to engage in the mastery of four capstone outcomes including critical thinking, communication (written), diversity, and ethics. Learners will demonstrate their mastery by developing a substantial research paper, which will illustrate an academic analysis of a contemporary global issue in the area of leadership and workforce development. The field of workforce development and education includes technical education, instruction in business, human resources, vocational operations and governmental operations.
Studies surrounding leadership and workforce prepare a student to assist others in developing needed workforce skills and help businesses and governmental entities identify the requisite skill-sets needed to run, manage and lead complex organizations. Common specialized focus areas within a lesson plan are leadership, HR management, adult education, and career/technical education with common core subjects such as business ethics, job analysis, professional development, leadership, counseling/evaluations, work measurement/efficiency, organizational management, talent management, and labor relations.
The most significant way for students to demonstrate mastery of learning outcomes is through the development of a substantial research paper in which students analyze a contemporary issue related to their field of study. Students will research, write, and revise parts of the Capstone paper throughout the academic year, using an approach commonly referred to as “scaffolding”.
Capstone Paper Requirements
Students will construct and submit the assignment in stages as outlined below: During Phase 1 ~ Draft Submissions 1 & 2:
1 Introduction: Identify the Topic (1 page) – Draft 1 (revise in Draft 2)
2 Statement of the Problem (1/2 page) – Draft 1 (revise in Draft 2)
3 Research Question(s) and Strategy (1 page) – Draft 2
4 Literature Review (3–4 pages) – Draft 2
5 Reference List – Draft 1 (update in Draft 2)
During Phase 2 ~ Draft 3 & Final Project:
1 Introduction: Identify the Topic (revise)
2 Statement of the Problem (revise)
3 Research Question(s) and Strategy (revise)
4 Literature Review (revise)
5 Summary of Findings (1/2 page) – Draft 3 (revise for final)
6 Links to Professional Practice (1–2 pages) – Draft 3 (revise for final)
7 Links to Policy (1–2 pages) – Draft 3 (revise for final)
8 Conclusion (1/2 page) – Draft 3 (revise for final)
9 Reference List (updated)
Introduction: Prepare an introduction for your capstone assignment identifying a current critical issue you are interested in professionally. The topic should warrant the application of SMC learning objectives, providing appropriate context for your writing. Identify at least 6 published sources that support the relevance, timeliness, and significance of the topic in the initial submission.
Statement of the Problem: Prepare a statement of the problem. The problem statement is an issue or problem within a broad topic area that you believe is important.
A statement of the problem includes the following components:
• The situation in/within (organization/institution/policy, etc.).
• Has created a problem (describe).
• In (context of the study), this problem creates the following situation (specific details with quantifiable data to support, reference literature on the topic).
• This problem impacts (name the population) because (describe the impact).
Research Question(s) and Strategy: Provide at least one guiding question (1–3 required) and discuss the resources you will use to examine the issue (strategy). A guiding question (or research question) describes the purpose of your essay. The question(s) is/are strongly tied to the broad topic and the issue you have identified in the problem statement.
This section will be followed by a literature review addressing the topic and problem. You will reference current published materials (doctrine, peer-reviewed articles, etc.) to explain
what is known about the issue. Provide an overview of the strategies you will use to identify relevant and current resources related to the topic. Identify at least two strategies you will employ to locate resources.
Literature Review: Conduct a literature review of 6 or more scholarly or doctrinal resources related to the topic and problem you have established for your capstone project. The literature review should be a discussion of the related literature, organized by topic or themes (not a list of sources).
A literature review includes synthesis, analysis, and critique of scholarly articles, textbooks, doctrinal manuals, or other sources. For more information read Chapters 5 and 6 of Succeeding with Your Literature Review: A Handbook for Students by Dr. Paul Oliver.
Summary of Findings: Provide a conclusion for your literature review. This section indicates what you discovered during the review of literature on the topic, and identifies any themes you may have uncovered throughout the literature.
Links to Professional Practice:
• How was your literature review useful in your professional practice or work environment?
• What have you learned that is most significant to the topic?
• How can the information be applied to your professional practice as a senior enlisted leader?
Links to Policy:
• What new Army policy, or current policy reform, might be necessary to address the topic/issue?
• What are your recommendations as a senior enlisted leader?
Conclusion: Summarize and conclude your paper
Reference List: Include an APA formatted reference list consisting of 6–10 sources in your final submission.
* Your paper must address all highlighted areas to be successful. A good technique is to create each required section as a level 1 header IAW APA 7e standards.
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