Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Final Stretch

I remember the feelings I used to get at this point in every semester (I still get them). It's a simultaneous jolt of "Yahoo!" and "Oh Crap!!!"

I'm going to focus this post on the "Oh Crap" part and let you all handle the "Yahoo" part.

As Mark mentioned last week, your "Oh Crap" list for this class consists of the following: 

1) Statement of Thesis and Project Summary; 2) Working Outline; 3) Literature Review; 4) Schedule for Completion of Project, with Dates; 5) Annotated Bibliography.

How are you doing with those?  I am especially concerned at this point about parts 3 and 5 (which overlap). Once one's topic is chosen and one's outline completed, the biggest remaining job is finding and evaluating quality sources. Those include big picture sources (big sources within the fields you are covering) and small picture sources (those few who have written about your specific topic). 

If you find yourself unfinished or stuck or confused or even unbegun on any of the five components then let's talk it through tomorrow in class (or come see one of us).

If, on the other hand, you're one of the lucky few who has (nearly) taken all of those steps already then the only thing I have to say is "Yahoo!"


Folks, either tomorrow or the following Monday will be the last time we meet as a class, face-to-face. If you haven't attended in a while or if you have attended every meeting faithfully, it would a good thing if you came. See you there.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Break Is Over, Apocalypse Looms

Since the world as we know it will end around the winter solstice later this year, it seems like a good time to start working faster on your capstone proposals so that you can plan on having a UVU degree in hand for the End of Time.

(Of course, the world as we don't know it will carry on as always. By definition, we don't know what that means.)

For those of you who missed the last class before break, we've been pressing you to come up with preliminary outlines. Barring that, we'd like to at least know what is going on with each of your projects.

We're heading into the last few weeks of regular classroom meetings, after which, the blog remains as our forum, but you each work on completing your proposals and collecting your adviser signatures individually.

As a reminder, in addition to the signed cover sheet, a completed proposal requires the following: 1) Statement of Thesis and Project Summary; 2) Working Outline; 3) Literature Review; 4) Schedule for Completion of Project, with Dates; 5) Annotated Bibliography.

We have discussed thesis, summary, literature review, annotation, and outlining in class already this semester, but we're happy to spend more time clarifying any of those requirements. Otherwise, the next step is to start in on the schedule for completion of the project, with dates. That's right: how are you planning to get from here to the end of your project's time?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday Morning

Wallace Stevens wrote of Sunday morning's "late coffee and oranges in a sunny chair," on his way to considering rather larger themes that Sundays may suggest.

Here in my sunny chair, late in the morning, I see the small theme of students making fitful progress on their thesis projects. An outline here (thank you), a note on a new research tactic there (good), an update on struggles from a few days ago over there (and since?).

If you aren't one of the few who have attempted an outline yet, do try your hand at one before tomorrow.  Those of you who have partially drafted outlines, check for comments and consider whether you need to redraft or merely complete. Those with fully fledged outlines, check for comments suggesting whether the time has come for you to start showing these outlines to prospective advisers.