Capstone Milestone — Submission for Masters

Today I submitted my capstone project to the faculty of the Instructional Design Masters Degree Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston, the final step towards earning a Master of Education (M.Ed) degree.


An instructional design capstone project involves writing a very long paper — 52 pages in my case — but it isn’t exactly like writing a thesis. Rather than expanding the frontiers of human knowledge about instructional design, it merely requires the student-practitioner to demonstrate mastery of the total instructional design process, from needs assessment through evaluation, with a real live project… kind of like a mason who must build a freestanding arch out of stone blocks without using mortar, to earn guild status… except here in this capstone there are no real stones… and the letters M.Ed hardly constitute a guild.

It is, however, a major professional milestone… and I have my teachers, advisers and mentors — both at school and outside school — to thank for it.

Looking back to something that I wrote at the end of my first semester in 2009 — at a time when I didn’t know exactly how long this degree would take — I see a consistent theme running through my graduate school experience and becoming manifest in the final project: for me, it’s been about combining the science of instruction with the art of enabling learning… aka, merging the reductionist “checklist” mentality of ISD (Instructional Systems Design) with the intuitive, experiential mindset of Adult Learning principles.   It’s about not missing the forest for the trees, but also about doing a thorough inventory of each and every tree, shrub and rock… along with performing a detailed diagnostic of soil conditions and a long-range weather forecast… and then hanging a tire swing from a tree branch just because it’s a fun thing to do.

It’s also been about trusting the process, and stepping forward… because although everything takes much longer to do than you initially think, eventually, you get there.

Kind of like something else I posted, back at the end of 2009.



About danspira

My blog is at: My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on April 26, 2013, in Architecture, Instructional Design, Learning, Life, photography and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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