Project Course Sequence

The project course sequence (DPP 980, 981, 982, 983) will be team taught over four terms. As shown in the graphic below, students will define community needs objectively; design a project that is cross-disciplinary in nature; prepare and present a formal project proposal (terms 1 and 2); implement the project in a community (terms 2 and 3, the field practice component of the program), where the student will do the field placement/project either with his/her home organization, or will be placed in a field project by the program; and document their experience and evaluate their impact (term 4). Planning and implementation culminates in a final project report and presentation before the faculty and peers. This is the equivalent of the master’s thesis, which will be archived at the university’s library and online by the Carsey Institute. Table 2 describes the tasks, deliverables, and software competencies required each semester:

Table 2: Required Tasks, Deliverables, and Software Competencies Each Semester

TASK

Project Design

Project Proposal

Implementation

Evaluation

TERM

Term 1
(1st Summer term)

Term 2
(Fall term)

Term 3
(Spring term)

Term 4
(2nd Summer term)

ACTIVITY

Identify a need, and plan a project

Develop a formal project proposal (field placement)

Implement approved project (field placement)

Evaluate impact of project

BENCHMARKS

Develop project plan

Develop a formal project proposal

Implement project; regular reports

Develop/present final project

DELIVERABLES

Assignments, Paper

Assignments, Paper

Assignments, Progress reports

Assignments, Presentation, Paper

SOFTWARE

MS Word, MS Excel, graphics program

Excel, PowerPoint, org chart program

MS Project

MS PowerPoint, Adobe Acrobat Writer

Project semesters are designed to coincide with core project management processes or phases as shown below. Term 1 represents the conceptual and planning phases. As the projects curriculum is implemented by the student in real life, there is a built-in demand for resources associated with the project implementation phase that builds over time, peaking during the third term, as shown below.

third_term

While the resources to implement student projects are typically provided by employers, local host organizations, or the student’s sweat equity, sometimes funding is needed for implementation.

DPP 980 Project Design (Project 1) (1st Summer term): During this semester, students will identify a community problem or issue, research and analyze the issue in consultation with colleagues and community stakeholders, and design a project. Instructors will work with students on their projects. A preliminary project design will be submitted at the end of the first semester. This design must be approved by the student’s advisor before the student can proceed. Students will do this work with a particular field placement already determined. Many students will come to the program with the field organization already identified. Those who do not have an identified field program through which they will do their project/field placement will choose one during this first term. The program has already begun to identify a list of partner organizations willing to offer field projects.

DPP 981 Project Implementation (Project 2) (Fall term): Students will be in the field where their projects will be refined and a full, formal proposal prepared. This is equivalent to a proposal to a foundation or intermediary and will be presented to the faculty and peers. This proposal must be approved by the student’s advisor before the student can proceed.

DPP 982 Project Management (Project 3) (Spring term): Students will begin implementation activities in field placement communities. Regular progress reports and online postings will be required.

DPP 983 Project Monitoring and Evaluation (Project 4) (2nd Summer term): This semester students will conduct an evaluation of their project and manage closure processes. At the end, students will submit a final written report and present it to the faculty and peers. This final project and the final report detailing the project will serve as the capstone course of the program.

Blackboard. The second and third courses of this course sequence are Internet-enhanced via the university’s distance education delivery platform, Blackboard.