Transitioning From Coursework to the Capstone Transcript


FEBRUARY 26, 2019


>>:  We have facilitators who will be answering questions.  We will start here in just a couple of minutes.  We will wait for our captionist who is doing her final preparations and once she is all set we will begin. 

Before we actually start with the presentation, I'm going to let you know who is presenting today.  To begin with our first session, we have Dr. Sarah Matthey, and she has been with the writing center for about ten years.  I had the privilege of working together in Student Success Advising, so we were able to share a lot of institutional knowledge before transitioning over.  But Sarah finished her own doctoral work a few years ago. 

We will take a moment to pause so we can get the recording ready. 

(Tara Kachgal) (Jenny Martel).

>>:  We started recording.  Sarah will be your main presenter.  She will answer questions in the Q & A box from Tara and Jenny.  Both long time editors.  Along with Sarah, Jenny and Tara, Kelly and I will be around.  So you are supported by a whole team of editors.  Sarah, I'll hand it off to you.

>>:  Just one final mic check that you can all hear me.  A little louder, okay.  Let me turn up my volume.  I can handle that.  Okay.  Let's try that and see if that makes a difference.  Wonderful.

Sounds like everyone can hear me now.  I turned up my speakers and volume.  I guess just interrupt me if something happens along the way where you can you can't hear me.  As Tobias said, I'm Sarah and I'm a dissertation editor and teach academic skills and human services, so I may recognize names if you have taken classes in those departments.

Today I'll be talking about Coursework and Capstone writing and outlining the difference between the two, the purposes of both, and also what to expect from both types of writing as you are going through your Coursework and through your dissertation or doctoral study.

I'll pause every couple of slides and double check with the facilitators to see if there are any overall questions that they feel I should expand upon during the presentation.  So I'll be stopping every couple of slides.  Other than that, we will go ahead and begin.

So today we are talking about Coursework writing versus Capstone writing.  This is a topic I get a lot of questions about.  This is a timely and common topic.  If you feel you are like I didn't know there was a difference between Capstone versus Coursework writing and you are confused how to transition, this is first of all, you are not the first one and you won't be the last.  This is a common topic that students have questions about and you are in the right place today.

We will talk about the differences in writing expectations in Coursework writing versus Capstone writing.  Talk about how the doctoral dissertation fits in the context within your doctoral degree program.  We will talk about strategies and writing and research strategies for transitioning Coursework to Capstone writing.

So we will talk about the differences overall between Coursework writing versus Capstone writing.  So first when you begin your program your PhD or your DMP or whatever program you are in, you will be enrolled until Coursework first.  And the purpose of the Coursework writing is different than the Capstone.  Within the Coursework you will develop your expertise within your field.  You will be doing a lot of researching, reading and critical thinking, to really develop that foundational knowledge you have about the particular field you are studying.

In addition, after you have developed that foundational knowledge of your field of study you will go ahead and think about what your own research or application interests are.  Either based upon what you have read or perhaps even based upon what you have not read.  If you see a gap in practice or perhaps a gap in literature, that might be something you will think about during your Coursework that you might intend to address in your doctoral or dissertation study.

Within your Coursework you will be writing assignments that your facilitator, instructor will provide for you and they will give you all kinds of directions of course, perhaps even topic choices and then overall parameters of the assignment.  Your job is to respond to those assignments and directions and demonstrate to your understanding of that particular topic for that assignment.

Finally, within that Coursework writing you will work toward instructor and program set goals.  So, as you know when you begin your courses within the syllabus, it will say here are the outcomes for this class.  And your instructor or usually the university actually sets these out comes for the students.  And the outcomes are not negotiable.  They are what they are.  And the student is supposed to demonstrate meeting those outcomes.  The majority of the times through writing.  Either through the discusses or assignments.

As you can see within the Coursework, writing Coursework, you are going to be doing a lot of responding to already set or established ideas, perimeters and research.  As you go into your studies those out comes and expectations change.  Instead, you become what we call an independent scholar.  So it's up to you to set your own goals, determine what your own interests and research are, and then determine how you are going to meet those goals.

So you are going to be designing and conducting original research or an application in a field.  This means that this is something that previous people have not done or previously researchers have not done.  And you will be doing something different or new.

You will be demonstrating your authority and expertise as a researcher, as a writer, and critical thinker and doctoral scholar.  You will also be responsible for driving a progress and result of your study.  So, it's up to the student to determine how quickly you want to meet certain goals you set.  It's up to the student to meet those goals.

It's not instructor or university driven.  It's student driven.  So any kind of completion or noncompletion is really up entirely to the responsibility of the student.  Students will work toward self design goals.  When you get into your Capstone class you will find there's no particular assignment instructions or they are not syllabus instructions because the students determine all of those at the beginning of class and work with their share to meet those goals.

So as you can see this one when you are writing for the Capstone it really is student driven and the doctoral Coursework writing is university or faculty driven.

Let's talk about writing for courses first.  So I hope some of you are still in Coursework here.  If you are this is a great time to come to this presentation.  And as you are writing for your course or you have written, you will notice the focus is on meeting prescribed goals and objectives.  The faculty or the university or the course outlines for you.

It's a limited for scope in breadth, meaning the course will focus only topics relative to the course.  So you will only study the topics that the syllabus or class covers.  So the scope and breadth of the research and writing are more limited in your Coursework writing.

You also have a more restricted audience.  While you are writing for your Coursework your audience will be different than if writing for publication.

Terms of feedback and evaluation, that is also different.  In your Coursework you will be given grades and final assessments, maybe some tests throughout the class.  And that's how you will be evaluated.  You will receive actual grades or maybe you will get (indiscernible) used depending on the course you are enrolled in.

Your faculty will provide suggestions how to improve your writing, your research, your demonstration of critical thinking or just overall scholarly presence with the idea you should implement that feedback to the next assignment and then also beyond into your next course.

Terms of revision and draft, you will have many different assignments and papers, discuss posts, and other types of writing within the class.  However, normally in Coursework you don't receive a lot of limited, you have limited revisions.  You don't usually write a paper and submit it for revision, revise it and continue to submit for revision.  Rather you write a lot of different papers, get feedback on that and are expected to implement that feedback within the next assignments and that class and then also the assignments beyond that class.

So there's limited opportunities for revisions and you don't have a lot of drafts of the same paper.  So.  Writing specifically in Coursework is more focused on learning the basics or the foundations of writing for APA.  And writing at the graduate level.  So you will be practicing learning how to write in a scholarly tone, using that APA guidelines of what a scholarly voice means.  You will versus begin to learn the writing expectations for American academic English and graduate level education.  In terms of developing arguments, paragraph construction, demonstration of critical thinkings, that type of thing.  You will be working on that specifically developing that foundation for those skills within your Coursework.

You also begin to learn how to formulate arguments and learning how to make assertions within APA format that are neutral, unbiased, and supported by current literature.

You will also focus on summarizing literature.  So you will do a lot of reading providing a foundation of critical knowledge within your topic or field of study.  And then you will be summarizing for your instructor and your classmates what you have, what your take aways are from that literature and outlining the main ideas or important points about that particular topic.

You will also be learning APA style.  Many students either they have not used APA before, perhaps they use a different citation style.  Or they may have been away from APA or scholarly writing for a while.  While the university recognition this, your Coursework is really to help you either get refreshed again with APA style or if you have not used it before it's for you to learn how to use APA style so you will have that foundation for your final doctoral study or dissertation.

I will pause to see if there's any burning questions you would like me to address.  Jenny or Sam or Tara.  Excuse me.

>>:  Nothing right now, Sarah.

>>:  Thanks, Jenny.

>>:  We will continue on then.  So let's talk about writing Capstone.  It's different.  The focus is self determined, which means that the student totally provides the focus.  The student comes up with the topic.  The student comes up with a method and design.  And the student comes up with basically the whole research or the whole paper idea.  It is not going to be given to you by your chair or member or anyone on your committee.  Your committee will provide you with feedback of course on your topic choice and method and design and research, but the student is responsible for determining that particular topic.

The focus is also on our original work.  So you will be focusing, you will collect data and reporting your data and something that has not been studied, either a gap in practice or research depending on your particular field or program of study.

But it is going to be original work.  You will also be focusing on a broader scholarly audience.  You are not just writing for your peers or your instructor.  You are writing for publication now.  Which means that your scholarly voice has to reach a broader scholarly audience.  You will also contribute to existing research on a topic.  So you will be making original contributions to the field of study.  And demonstrate that you are, you know a practitioner and scholar and contributing to your field of study.

In terms of feedback and evaluation, you will be getting multiple rounds of feedback at each stage on the perspective, the proposal and the final study and we will be talking about those processes and where they begin later in the presentation.

But count on multiple, multiple rounds and drafts and revisions from your chair, your second member and possibly your URR and editor possibly.  You will work on the same, not product, but the same paper, be getting different feedback from different individuals and be expected to implement that feedback.

You may run into times when there's conflict.  So each committee member, your chair or member of URR, they are there to focus on a particular thing.  If it's your chair, it could be your content expert.  If it's your second member, it could be your methodology expert.  And then the URR could be support of an overall quality check.  It's a little different depending on what program you are in of what focus that each member of the committee has.  But because each member of the committee has a different focus, you might receive, you might get something from your chair that says this looks fine and you go to your second member and you say I want you to revise this.  This doesn't mean that your chair was wrong or didn't see it, but just that you are getting different feedback from different people depending on what focus they have and what they are supposed to be doing in your committee.

So it's very common to have conflicting feedback.  Part of being an independent scholar is learning how to negotiate that within your research.  You will also be hearing to higher discipline conditions and standards in terms of writing.  APA, critical thinking, and demonstration of academic argument.  So what may have been okay for Coursework because you are writing for publication means there should be little to no errors within the document.

And then finally in terms of drafts and revisions ratios, you are working on one document, the perspective, the proposal or the doctoral study, and you will have dozens of drafts and perhaps hundreds of revisions.

I promise you that when your faculty give you all of these revision and ask you to revise, they are not doing it to drive you crazy.  They actually are doing it to ensure that you have a document that represents the very best of you academically and professionally because when it's published it's out there and it can't come back.  So it's best to get the very best of you out before you go to publication.

So, shifting from The Writing Center to form and style.  So within your Coursework you will be working on multiple papers and if you work with The Writing Center you may work with the instructors where you can submit papers, your Coursework papers, to have them reviewed.  I believe it's twice a week you can make an appointment with the writing instructors to have papers reviewed.

Once you transition into your Capstone class you will be working with the form and tile editors rather than the instructors.  We have a lot of resources to help students with that.  I'll talk about those in a lit bit.

But in the Capstone, the writing had heavily focused on advancing, applying and self editing in areas of writing.  As we talked about earlier in the Coursework writing, we talked about developing a foundation for a lot of these skills.  When you transition into the Capstone writing, the expectation is that you already have these foundation of skills, of scholarly tone, of academic English and graduate education, emphasizing literature and APA style.

So we expect students at this point to have done a lot of learning before they come to their 9,000 in terms of writing and academic argument.  When students begin writing components of their dissertation the committees expect that students demonstrate that writing expertise.  Before you submit something to someone in your committee for review, it's imperative you show due diligence and that you get the writing, the APA, the academic arguments as good as you possibly can.  So you want to demonstrate your best possible writing self to your committee before you submit.

If you know a draft of something doctoral study or dissertation contains a lot of writing errors sometimes faculty will send it back and say you need to work on this before we talk about the content.  So just be prepared that you will have to step up your game when you get to the 9,000 or 890 classes.

Let's talk about the Capstone, what it is.  At Walden University depending on your program of study you may write various Capstones.  It could be a standard five chapter dissertation.  A doctoral study.  Or it could be a project study.  But whatever it is that you write the idea is to demonstrate original research and contribute to your field of study.

Generally speaking, the Capstone no matter what it is, is a rather lengthy document.  I would say about 50, sometimes to 150 pages depending on what Capstone you are writing.  Also depending on your methodology choice or design choice and also your topic choice in some instances.

So just know there's not a standard set minimum or maximum page number for our Capstone.  But just to give you an idea anywhere from 50 to 150 pages is a general good idea.

So the goals of the Capstone, you want to produce original work.  So it's usually research based, but for those who are in practice based or programs of study you will be demonstrating practice based research.

You also will demonstrate knowledge and expertise of your field of study.  So that means you are going to want to in your writing and academic arguments, demonstrate that you have that foundational knowledge that makes you an expert in your field of study.

You will assert yourself an as a professional in your field in your topic of choice and you will display scholarly voice, thought, critical thinking and capability as a researcher, writer and academic thinker.

You will also contribute to research or professional practice, depending on what your program of study is, and this is something that is Walden specific.  You will be asked to explain how your particular topic or study contributes to positive social change.

And usually that's in chapter five for the dissertation section four, for the DOC studies or section three if you are in DBA or D and P.

I'll go ahead and stop and see, Jenny, are there any other questions you would like me to talk about?

>>:  Thanks.  I think everything has been resolved, so I think everyone is just listening to your presentation.  It's going well and I think we are good for now.

>>:  Okay.  Thanks, Jenny.  I'll continue on then.

So what's the big deal?  The Capstone really is kind of a quote, unquote, big deal.  It is sort of the accumulation or the demonstration of accumulation of all of the knowledge you collected in all of your years of study of topic, your masters and doctoral program, you are demonstrating that knowledge.  Not only are you demonstrating that knowledge, you are demonstrating you are an expert in that knowledge or field of study.

You also are demonstrating your ability to be an independent thinker, an independent scholar, meaning that you are contributing original research, original ideas and original data or findings eventually to your field of study.

The dissertation or doctoral study is exhaustive.  So that means in your literature review that will include a comprehensive discussion of seminal and current scholarly peer reviewed research within your field.

So you will be not only summarizing the information but actually synthesizing the information.  Here's is all the current last five years and seminal ideas from your conceptual framework or theoretical framework, and you will synthesize all of that information for of the reader and say this is the current literature related to my topic of study.

You will also be providing interpretive analysis and explanation.  Some people say critical thinking here.  Because you are not just summarizing and kind of reading something and regurgitating or restating what you read, you are going a step further.  You are reading all of this information and then you are saying here is what it says and here is what it means.  The larger field of study or perhaps to the larger practice application practice depending on what program you are in.

So you do have to provide critical thinking, new ideas, and demonstrate all of that analysis within your Capstone.

Here's kinds of a Capstone process.  This is general.  It might be slightly different for depending on your program.  Some of you might be writing a premise before the prospectus depending on your program, but other than that generally speaking all programs follow this sort of set in stone milestones.  Where you begin with your prospectus which will be sort of an outline of your study, your topics, the problem you are addressing, the method and design that you will be using, research questions.  And then information you will be collecting your data.  That is generally speaking what is in included in the prospectus.

Then once your prospectus has been approved by your chair, your second member, and usually the program directer within your program, you will move on to your proposal.  And that's usually the first three sections or components of the study which include the introduction, the literature review and the methodology section.  You will be working on that mainly with your chair, and once you sold if I that through your chair it will go to your second member and your URR for review and approval.

This is the big one, this is really the one that students take the longest on is writing a proposal, because it takes a long time to get those three sections or chapters completed, especially the literature review.  That tends to be the biggest piece of the pie for a lot of students to write.

After you have received approval on your proposal, you will have your first oral defense with your chair and your second member.  Upon completion of your oral defense you will send your study for IRB approval.  This is where you basically outline two IRBs, here's the purpose of my study, here's my method and design, here's my population and my sample, here's where I'm collecting my date after analyzing it.  The IRB wants to make sure you are collecting data from participants and doing so in an ethical way.  So if there's any ethical considerations or questions for your participants or how you are collecting data, IRB will help you iron that out prior to collecting your data so you can ensure you have ethical and valid data collection.

After IRB approval you go out in the field and collect data.  When you collect data you are not going to be there with your chair or second member, you are out there by yourself as an independent scholar and now as an independent data collector.  So this is the part where you go collect your data.

After you complete your data collects you write your final study which is usually chapters four and five or sections three and four if you are in EDD or DNP.  And it's section three if you are in DBA or DIT.  Then you go through another round of approval of your final study through your chair your second member and URR.

Once that's complete you come to us the storm form and style editors and we go through your entire study and double check and make sure everything is APA come clients that you are meeting academic guidelines and properly formatted.  We will probably give you revisions, I can guarantee we will give you revisions.

This is just to ensure that you have a document that is ready for publication.  After the form and style review you have your second and last oral defense talking about the results of your study and that will be with your chair and second member.  Once that completed you will also submit your study for the final document approval and your chair and second member and a URR will sign off on it.

Once that's completed you are officially at the CAO approval stages and the CAO will look at your abstract and make sure it's ready for publications sometimes giving revisions.  And then when you are finished with approval you are officially finished with the Capstone process at Walden University.  You will submit your study for publication and that is needed before graduation.  In terms of the Capstone process after CAO approval you are officially done.

There's a lot of writing resources for the Capstone besides your chair and your second member who will be providing you with that kind of writing and content feedback.  You can look for resources from the form and style editors within The Writing Center.

We have our form and style website all kinds of information.  First we list all of the program templates.  Be sure you are downloading the template for your study and program.  This will ensure you meet all of the Walden and Pro quest(ph) guidelines for your particular study.

We also have Capstone writing kits and that goes over each stage of the Capstone process.  Including the prospectus, the proposal and the final stud and preparing for form and style.  We give you webinars and resources you need to use or should use to help you complete each stage of the Capstone.

We also include our form and style checklist and this is what the form and style editor will use to assess or evaluate your document.  We like to put that checklist out so you know how you will be evaluated and the writing will be evaluated within your study.

We also have a Capstone writing community that you can join and you can have webinars and chat box and access to your peers.

Finally we offer office hours where we have live chat with an editor and you can also email us on our editor inbox and we can answer questions that are related to writing and the Capstone.

We also have additional resources at Walden for beginning the Capstone outside of the writing center of form and style.  Within the academic skill center there are a lot of classes that students can take to help them at each stage of the Capstone.

First, there are the writing workshops, the doctoral writing workshops.  There's a pre‑proposal, meaning a prospectus workshop you can take where you will begin writing your prospectus and get feedback on the skills you need to complete that.

We have proposal workshop classes where you can have an introduction class, a literature review class, methods and post proposal class, meaning information by data collection and analysis and writing recommendations and conclusions for your Capstone.

We have information on student testimonials, students saying this is what work for me and what didn't.  Here's the resource that is really important or pay attention to this.  It's just really nice to hear from students what was really important to them and what they learned along the way so that other students who are just beginning the process can learn from that information as well.

Finally, academic skills also has Microsoft Word support.  So if you are using the template which hopefully you all are if you have questions about Microsoft Word or use of a template you can contact Microsoft Word support within academic skills.

You can email them your questions or you can make an appointment with the word support specialist to help you sort of triage any Microsoft Word or template problems you are having.

Also within your committee, your chair and your second member and the URR will be providing you with a lot of feedback on content, method and design, and also on your writing.  So there are all great resources for you to use as you are writing your study.

ORDS, our Office of Research and Doctoral Services has great resources for students.  Please check out your checklist for your particular program, study, and they are differentiated by method.  So be sure you download the correct checklist for your program and your method so that you can see the content expectations of each component of the prospectus, the proposal and the final doctoral study.

Check other the library.  The librarians are available for students and phone calls up to midnight CST, 24 hours, seven days a week.  So please use those resources, the librarians and all the databases that you have.  If you are new to research at the doctoral level, please reach out to a librarian and ask for help.  They can help you hone those research skills so you are getting all the sources you need to demonstrate an exhaustion of the literature.

Finally, Capstone intensives, sometimes it's called dissertation intensives, if you really want one‑on‑one instruction and maybe you need time to get away so you have time to write, you are not bothered by family or work or kids, these Capstone intensives are great ideas for students.  They are about five days long and you work directly with faculty within your program of study and dissertation editors and you receive instruction and also have time to write and get feedback.

If you are interested in that, please contact your academic adviser or contact academic residencies.

So before we go into the Capstone writing process I want to see if there are any questions, Jenny, we need to talk about.

>>:  We did get a question about when the proposal process actually begins.  Is that Coursework or something students should think about from day one, how that process starts and continues?

>>:  Sure.  Well, it's different for every program of study.  Generally speaking, most programs have you work on the prospectus right after you complete your Coursework.  So it's like you will complete your last course for class and you must be enrolled until a prospectus class where you work a term or two writing your prospectus.  Sometimes that last class is taken with your class Coursework class.  Depends on your program of study.  If you are not sure contact your academic adviser and ask a program of study or POS form so you know exactly when your prospectus class begins.

But once you complete your Coursework and begin writing the prospectus first.  And that's a brief outline of your study, what you plan on researching and writing, and you will work with your committee to get that approved.

You can not begin working on your proposal before you have an approved prospectus.  Hopefully that answers your question.  If you have specific questions about when your particular prospectus class begins, please contact your academic adviser and ask for a program of study.

So let's go back to the Capstone writing process.  When you are writing your Capstone, you will first work with your chair to determine what your research and your writing goals are going to be.  You will also determine your deadlines and you will be developing a writing schedule that works for you.

Your chair will help you to determine whether your goals are realistic or not, but really as we discussed before you are setting your own goals and your own deadlines and your own schedule and the responsibility for meeting all of those is entirely you were to you as a student.

So very different from Coursework.  So when you write the Capstone, itself directed, you set your goals and deadlines and your work schedule.  And there are not going to be any assignments or due dates that you would have in a recognize course schedule.  The only quote unquote due date you have is whatever you have worked out with your chair to be the deadline for submitting something to your chair for review.

You will look to your faculty and chair for support and direction for help, but in terms of providing you with topics and actual contents, that's entirely up to the student.  So very different than the Coursework.

So, cannot stress this enough.  The students, you are really your own manager.  It's up to you to manage your schedule, your goals and deadlines, and find out what works best for you.  Everyone writes and reads differently.  Everyone has different responsibilities outside of Walden in terms of work and family and friends and those types of things.  So you know yourself best.  How do you write and read best.  How do you, what type of goals are you more likely to meet.  Are you better with long‑term goals am deadlines where you give yourself two or three weeks to work on it?  Or are you better with short‑term goals, like maybe daily or weekly goals?  It's really up to you as the student to know yourself especially after working your Coursework and determine what type of goals you want to set for yourself.

Work with your chair on setting reasonable goals that work for you personally in terms of your reading and writing out comes.  Make sure you are dedicating and scheduling time to write.  I mentor students in DBA and Human Services and as a chair I tell students to think about their writing as a part‑time job.  And when you go to your part‑time job you clock in and you clock out and you work certain hours.  I suggest students think about writing Capstone like that.  So what time do you work in your part‑time job?  Is it 8:00 P.M. at night to 10:00 P.M. or two hours everyday?  I suggest you don't do marathon writing where you may write for eight to ten hours in a day and not work on your study throughout the rest of your week.  That leads to poor writing outcomes.

So try to work on your writing or your Capstone at least four days a week.  Also make sure you hold yourself accountable.  If you find you are not meeting the goals or deadlines you set out for yourself, you need to do self reflection and say okay what is happening here.  Is it because my goals were not realistic or is it because I have to be honest I'm slacking.  You have to determine that for yourself.  You need to make sure you meet your goals and deadlines.  Find ways to stay motivated.

I had students who like to call and talk to me after they have met a goal or like to treat themselves.  Maybe they submitted their draft and now they are going to get a pedicure or going for a walk with their family or do something.  Find something to make you motivated and stay motivated and treat yourself when you accomplish goals.

Share your accomplishments and your struggles or questions with other student in your 9,000 or 89 classroom.  Your peers are in there with you and sometimes they might know the answer to something that you don't know.  Or you may have the answer to something they have a question about.  So support each other.  Especially the online environment sometimes it feels lonely when you are isolated and an independent researcher.  So please reach out and establish relationships and contacts with your peers.

Always make sure you reach out if you need help or direction.  If you ever have a question about something our resource or any faculty feedback or staff feedback you received, and you don't know what it means, one of the worst mistakes is not asking the questions and saying, hey, you asked me to do this and I'm not sure how to do that or what it means.  Saying nothing to try to save face will only keep you stuck and not help you move forward.  No question is stupid.  If someone doesn't have the answer they will find someone who has the answer.  Always reach out immediately if you need help or direction or you have questions.

Take advantage of all of the resources, the form and style editors and writing center and also academic skills ORDS and the Microsoft Word support.  We are really here to help you ensure you write something that really you can be proud of.

When you work with your faculty, you are going to want to make sure you are communicating effectively and asking questions.  So, think of it this way, find a communication style schedule that works for all involved.  So hey, my chair has office hours these times and days, how can I make that.  Or if you can't, work with your chair to find ways to communicate with them individually that works with both of your schedules.

Make sure you are asking for help when you need it.  I can't stress that enough.  Any kind of questions you have about the step, what step in the process, what should I be doing now and what should I do next, what resources do I need or any questions you might have about faculty feedback, always ask immediately so that you can have your question answer and you can move forward.

I recommend meeting frequently with your chair for either one‑on‑one Skype or office hours or maybe even email check in.  Whatever communication style works best for you.  Make sure you don't fall offer the face of the earth and check in at the end of the term with your chair.  Make sure even if you are struggling with something and you are not meeting a deadline, inform your chair right away and they can help you.

Your chair can also help you set deadlines and goals if you find the ones you are using are not working out.  When you ask for help make sure you stay positive and respectful.  Sometimes someone can read something in an email and think there's a tone or assumption about something.  But when you speak to someone on the phone or over Skype you realize that wasn't the intention at all.  So make sure when you read any communication you receive from your faculty or staff at Walden University have a positive presumption in the back of your mind.  We really are here to help you and want only the very best for you.  I know sometimes it's difficult to receive constructive criticism and a lot of revisions and you might wonder is this, can I not do this or am I not cut out for this, or does my chair not like me.  I promise the answer to that question is no.  Your chair does like you and you can do this.  But it really is up to you to make sure you give yourself the resources and time and the work schedule to do it.

So, when you work with your faculty and receive your feedback from your faculty, realization all faculty have different approaches to providing feedback.  They will need to give it to you in track changes and bubble contents in your bubble Microsoft content.  Some may focus on the content first and then the writing later.  Some like to focus on all of it at once.  It really depends.  If you are not sure how to interpret your faculty feedback or schedule, ask them.

Also make sure you are keeping track of all of your faculty feedback.  Make sure that you not only keep all the drafts you received back from everybody in your committee and organizing them, but you are also creating an editorial checklist with you list the APA and method and design comments you get so you can look at your future drafts and revise for those items before you submit to your chair again.

Remember, the expectation is that if your chair or someone tells you this is an A PA error or this is a methodology problem, the expectations that students will take that feedback, implement it and ensure they don't make the same error again in any future submissions.  So you really want to show your due diligence and make sure you keep track and take notes of faculty feedback.

You can also ask your chair how you want to represent your changes of the next submission.  Some chairs like students to highlight or put a bubble comments and explain how they revise something.  Some programs like students to make change matrices to see what they have changed and what page and how they changed it.

Remember, that criticism is not the same as rejection.  You are getting feedback and being asked to conduct all of these revisions because your committee and all of the staff at Walden want you to publish something that really rents you well.  No one ever gets it right the first time.  No one gets it right the second, or seventh time.  It takes a lot of feedback and iterations to get something ready for publication.  So as much as you can, try to welcome that feedback.  Revision is a big part of that process.

Make sure you are preparing for your writing process.  Organizing your study, first of all, make sure you use the requirements and your program's checklist rubric located on ORDS website and they are organized by program and also by method.  Find that program and the method of your study and download that checklist.

This lists all the content requirements that you are prospectus, proposal and doctoral study or dissertation is going to be assessed by.  Make sure you are using the templates.  We have that on the form and style website and on the ORDS website.  Make sure you use that template to ensure that you have proper formatting for your study.

I recommend you download exemplars from your topic and method from the library and look at award winning dissertations and look at other Walden dissertations that are out there written about topics similar to what you are studying to get an idea.  Exemplars can help.

Be flexible in your writing process.  So writing engage in all components of the writing process which means you want to have some kind of prewriting so you have outlines or maps or brainstorming.  Do something to generate ideas before you sit down and write it on the page.

Make sure you then double check all of your content develops the checklist to be sure you have met all of the requirements.  And make sure you are saving everything and organizing your drafts.  I suggest by date and also by feedback and who you received feedback from.

Keep track of your notes and research.  Make sure you have a back‑up, way of saving your work.  Don't just save it on your hard drive.  Student unfortunately have computers crash and they have lost, lost some masters of work.  So please use the cloud or please use a jump drive, something where you are saving your work in multiple places.  This is going to really be a life safer potentially for you.

Make sure you adapt your writing process so you are engaging in revision.  I talked a lot about the importance of revision and how much revision you are going to be getting in the dissertation or doctoral study.

But make sure you are revising all elements of your prospectus, proposal or doctoral study.  Not just about the content, but also about writing in APA.  I suggest that you read passages out loud.  Even better if you can get someone to read them for you out loud.  Make sure you take breaks in between drafts.  Avoid those long marathon sessions they tends to produce poor writing.  And move paragraphs and sentences around rather than changing all material.  This is important part of the revision process in your study.

So, to summarize, make sure you communicate effectively and ask questions for staff and faculty.  Make sure you interpret the feedback that you get and keep track of it, you are implementing it and ensuring you implement it in all future drafts.  Maker sure you prepare for the writing process.  Be prepared for all of the revisions and welcome it with a smile.  Be flexible.  Be willing to change your goals and deadlines as your personal work schedule changes.  Adapt your process so you engage in doctoral level independents scholarly writing rather than just Coursework writing.

Okay.  Remember, when you are in the Capstone writing you are in charge so the responsibility for meeting all deadlines is yours.  Chairs and mentors are there to help but they don't provide you with the instruction.  That's up to you.

Prepare your progress with that of others.  You are an individual and your writing process maybe different.  Be self motivated and proactive and you are the biggest advocate for your work.

I would like to pause now to see if there are any final questions that you would like me to have answered.  Jenny?

>>:  I think we are actually good on the Q & A box now.  Thank you.

>>:  We had one quick question, Sarah.  Your thoughts about hiring an outside editor.

>>:  Sure.  Well, we actually have information on that on the form and style website.  Please make sure you look at that information or you can email an editor at  And we will provide you information about hiring an editor if you feel you want to.  But it's an option.  It's not required.  But you can certainly do so.  Use the resources we have to help you do that.

>>:  Sarah, thank you very much.  That was a heap of information we were able to condense in a single hours and probably could have gone on longer talking about that.  To remind everyone, thank you, Sarah and Jenny, for being from the chat box and Q & A and answering questions. 

Sarah talked about one of the most essential things about being a doctoral students and that's going from the confines and the managed accountability of Coursework to the very independent nature of being a researcher and writer.  So thank you very much, Sarah.  We really appreciate that.  Reminder we ask you complete our survey in the web link box and there's a space you can take that survey.  If you have further questions email them to  We have an editor who is in our office hours, Dr. Travis answering questions.  So you have multiple channels to communicate with us. 

Thank you very much, Sarah, and thank you Dr. Kelly for managing all of our technology and thank you to our captionist today.  That concludes our transition from Coursework to Capstone.  And in about 15 minutes we will start our next session which is doctor (indiscernible), using the Walden template for publication.  Thank you.  Hope you come back to the next session.  Have an excellent day.

(end of webinar)