Media, Technology, and Education

Signature Project: Designing Online and Face-to-Face Experiences for New PSU Students

Spring 2019: MW 12noon-1:40pm in Hyde 115

Course Description: In this student-driven capstone course, students will collaborate across disciplines to create signature projects that address a significant problem, issue, or question. Prerequisites: Junior Status (students should be at or near the end of their General Education program) (INCO) (4 credits)

Section Description: How did you decide that PSU was the college for you? How did you learn things like which classes to take and when to take them? Each year prospective, admitted, and enrolled students learn about PSU via web-based and face-to-face interactions designed to provide them with the information they need to make good decisions about their college attendance. In this class, we first will learn about the goals and current implementation strategies for PSU’s interactions with incoming students. We will then examine questions such as “what is design?” and “what is GOOD design?” Finally, we will design new experiences and share our ideas with the administrators in charge of them. This course is particularly well-suited to students interested in marketing, media production and use, communication studies, writing, psychology, education, technology design, user interfaces, and human and organizational behavior.

General Education: This course carries INCO status in the General Education program: We live in a world where scholarship is increasingly interdisciplinary. The educated person recognizes the challenges and rewards of drawing connections between fields of knowledge and of applying alternative methods of inquiry to solve problems. Students take a three- or four-credit Integration (INCO) course (either within the major or not) which brings content or methods of inquiry from two or more disciplines or perspectives to bear on a problem or question. The integration course is a General Education capstone course, taken in the junior or senior year. As such it should require substantial, although general, background and a high level of proficiency at most or all of the General Education skills.

Course Goal: Students will articulate, develop, plan, and implement a signature project that addresses the topic of the particular section of the course. A signature project:

  • Is transdisciplinary: The project integrates knowledge from multiple disciplines and sources to create something new that could not be created without all of them.
  • Is completed collaboratively: The project is large and complex enough that it requires input and work from more than one person to be successful.
  • Is student-driven: While faculty, staff, and community partners provide guidance and coaching, student agency and independence move the project forward.
  • Requires metacognitive reflection: Students reflect on what and how they learn and how their learned knowledge, skills, and dispositions might be transferable to other contexts.
  • Reaches beyond the walls of the classroom: The work of the project touches the world outside the classroom in some way.
  • Has an external audience for project results: The results of the project are presented to someone who is outside of the class.
  • Is completed ethically and respectfully: Work on the project engages internal/external audiences and/or partners with mutual benefit.

Learning Outcomes (Habits of Mind): Habits of mind are a set of four usual ways of thinking or ways of engaging with the world. These habits of mind equip students to succeed in their lives and work after college. As students take courses within the  General Education program, they develop and practice the Habits of Mind in various meaningful contexts. Because this course is the capstone of the General Education program, the Habits of Mind are also the learning outcomes for the course. Students are expected to have reached the summit level of achievement in each of the Habits of Mind by the end of this course. Details of the Habits of Mind can be found here: this class, students will:

  • Communicate purposefully
  • Practice and employ problem-solving strategies
  • Recognize and integrate multiple perspectives
  • Regulate their own learning


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