Doctoral Student Experience (DSE) Student Handbook. Version January Northcentral University

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1 Doctoral Student Experience (DSE) Student Handbook Version January 2017 Northcentral University 1

2 Table of Contents Contents Doctoral Student Experience (DSE) Student Handbook... 1 Table of Contents... 2 Introduction... 4 Section 1: The Dissertation Process Dissertation Courses and Committees Dissertation Course Overview Dissertation Course Sequence Dissertation Template DSE Dissertation Grading Dissertation Rubric Grading Using the Dissertation Rubric Course Progression Criteria Consequences for Failing to Submit Weekly Assignments Using the Rubric Submission Timeframes for Faculty Feedback Taskstream turnaround times (calendar days midnight Sunday - MST*) Academic Performance Grades System Requirements Disabling Pop-up Blockers Enabling Browser Cookies Enabling JavaScript Section 2: The Dissertation Committee Dissertation Committee Composition Selection of Committee Members Committee Responsibilities Working with a Committee

3 2.5 Changes in Committee Assignments Time Limits Academic Integrity Code of Conduct Satisfactory Academic Progress Assignment Deadlines and Final Course Grades Incomplete Grades Unsatisfactory Grades for Dissertation Courses Repeating Doctoral Sequence Courses Maximum RD Grade Policy for Doctoral Sequence APPENDIX A: Dissertation Rubric (Manuscript sample)

4 Introduction This Handbook (and the documents referenced within) is a resource outlining major elements of the Northcentral University dissertation process. Students and faculty members involved in research and dissertation courses are strongly encouraged to read this Doctoral Student Experience (DSE) Handbook and associated documents (rubric and templates) before beginning work on a dissertation. The terms Dissertation Chair and Chair are used interchangeably within this document. If you are a student and have questions not answered in this DSE Student Handbook or in any of the supplementary materials, please speak to your Dissertation Chair (academic issues) or Academic Advisor (program or degree issues). Note: Students are responsible for staying current with changes to their program. Check with your Academic Advisor if you have questions about your program of study. Doctoral Students are identified when they have successfully passed their Comprehensive Examinations/ePortfolio course or end of program coursework as denoted in their Program curriculum outlined in the catalog. Students are encouraged to identify a researchable topic and their preliminary methods approach by the completion of program coursework. This process should be completed by the last course in the program coursework. Based upon the identified topic and methodology, an appropriate Chair and Subject Matter Expert (SME) will be aligned with the needs of each individual student and assigned accordingly. 4

5 Section 1: The Dissertation Process The dissertation is the capstone accomplishment in the doctoral student s degree program. The PhD dissertation has a research focus, and the applied degree (e.g. DBA, and EdD) is practice based. The doctoral dissertation is a substantial, scholarly work conducted independently by a student under the guidance of faculty members comprising the student s Doctoral Dissertation Committee. In the dissertation process, the student: Identifies a researchable problem substantiated through evidence Summarizes, analyzes, and integrates recent (generally five years or less) scholarly literature and research relevant to the topic under study (ultimately) Presents original research in an area related to their program and specialization. (While PhD dissertations contribute to the body of research, the applied doctorate dissertations typically contribute to practice). Completes a final manuscript comprised of five Chapters: Chapter One: introduces the problem under study and the evidence substantiating the existence of the problem; outlines an initial review of literature on the topic under study; articulates the purpose of the study; presents the research questions and theoretical foundation, and provides an overview of the research methods to be employed Chapter Two: provides a detailed analysis of the theory/conceptual framework used in the study and offers a detailed synthesis of the available, current, scholarly literature on all aspects of the topic, including all relevant points of view Chapter Three: provides the substantiation for the choice of methods and includes details on the planned research approach, design, and analysis Chapter Four: presents the study findings Chapter Five: summarizes the research study and presents the research implications and suggestions for future The Dissertation process is generally broken into three broad stages: preparation and approval of the Dissertation Proposal (DP) which includes Chapters 1, 2, and 3; conducting the study s research; and preparation and approval of the final Dissertation Manuscript (DM) which includes all elements of the DP, with the addition of Chapters 4 and 5 to complete the manuscript including the dissertation defense. The Dissertation process is arduous and iterative. As students proceed through the dissertation process, they will be required to understand and apply faculty/committee feedback. Successful engagement with faculty requires a high level of conceptual understanding. Dissertation committee members review and substantively evaluate work submitted by students. Regular, iterative reviews of dissertation sections and drafts are a common and important - practice in the process. 5

6 1.1 Dissertation Courses and Committees NCU is implementing a revised dissertation course sequence and restructured committee model to support the changes in the dissertation course sequence. The main changes are noted in the table below. Dissertation Process Student Chapter completion; Dissertation Proposal (DP) and Dissertation Manuscript (DM) completion Committee evaluation of student work utilizing rubric criteria throughout course duration Committee consists of Chair, Subject Matter Expert (SME), and Academic Reader (AR) Student makes weekly submissions of specified dissertation components for committee review to scaffold learning and constructively build dissertation components Course progression determined by completed dissertation components (meets rubric criteria Appendix B) All NCU Dissertation Proposals and Manuscripts reviewed by Academic Reader (full time faculty) to ensure University standards of rigor and quality are met The dissertation courses have been developed into a structured course model. NCU s dissertation process is a model based on successful completion of course-based deliverables (including the DP and DM), evaluated against a rubric, created by NCU faculty. Each Chapter of the dissertation must meet minimum standards on the associated rubric, as scored by the Chair and the SME, of every criterion for a student to progress to the next course sequence block. There will be instances where changes are required for a Chapter that has been previously approved. This frequently occurs when subsequent changes are made to other Chapters and results in changes needing to be made to previously approved Chapters. When this occurs, students must go back and revise and resubmit to the committee these modified Chapters. Once the committee approves the DP and the DM, the AR will review these documents using a checklist, aligned to University standards of scholarship and rigor, noting areas which may require additional changes to the documents. The approval of the AR is not required for the student to progress in their program however the feedback from the AR should be reflected in the final DP or DM. 1.2 Dissertation Course Overview 6

7 After students have successfully passed the last course in their scheduled program coursework (e.g. Comprehensive Examination, eportfolio, prospectus), they will be assigned into the dissertation course sequence. There are specific deliverables required for each course. Each course deliverable represents a portion of the overall dissertation process. In order to progress successfully into a subsequent dissertation course each final deliverable must be completed and must meet or exceed the minimum standards on the rubric as completed by the committee. Remember, scholarly research is iterative and non-linear (however uncomfortable this may be while a student is going through the process). Making a change in a later version to correct an issue in a previous version may reveal new issues that need to be addressed in the subsequently, approved, version. Ultimately, Northcentral University wants all students to succeed, but we also have to ensure that the institutional outcomes for doctoral dissertations meet quality standards. To that end, the steps of the Dissertation review process designed to facilitate student progress are: 1. Northcentral University s Chairs and SMEs provide constructive feedback prior to the DP stage. This is to ensure the student has a feasible and realistic plan to develop a well-conceived, substantive, quality dissertation. Individual Chapter reviews, throughout the development of the DP, serve to assess the topic is appropriate and the planned research is sound and practical within the scope of a doctoral program. The dissertation proposal ensures the problem is substantiated with evidence, the research methods and design are in alignment and serve the purpose and address the problem of the topic under study. In addition, the proposal allows the student to complete an exhaustive review of current scholarly literature addressing all relevant points of view on the topic under study including the theory or conceptual framework used to support the study. 2. The DP must meet the minimum standards on all rubric criteria by the Chair and subject matter expert to proceed to the next course in the dissertation sequence and begin the Institutional Review Board (IRB) application process. 3. Upon final approval of the DP, the student applies to the Institutional Review Board (IRB). No data may be collected until IRB approval is obtained. Failure to observe this rule may result in the student s dismissal from Northcentral University. 4. Following IRB approval, the student conducts his/her research and writes the DM in the required manner. The DM is approved by the Dissertation Chair and SME. The approved DM is then sent to the AR for review against the checklist, which may result in the student having to make changes for improvement. 7

8 5. Upon final approval of the DM, the Dissertation Defense is scheduled. To pass this oral examination, the student must be able to explain and justify what was accomplished by the dissertation research. 1.3 Dissertation Course Sequence The dissertation courses have been structured into discrete courses with specific deliverables at the end of each course. Additionally, each course requires engagement between the student and the Chair through weekly assignment submissions, similar to the current program coursework requirements. These weekly submissions are scaffolded to build the entire deliverable to meet the minimum standards of the evaluation process by the end of the course. A few times throughout each course, as noted in the syllabus and directed by the Chair, students submit assignments to the Chair and SME to receive feedback based on rubric criterion. The dissertation sequence of courses has been designed to assist the student in scaffolding the development of the individual Chapters of the dissertation in a timely and scholarly approach. There are four 12-week courses. The deliverables to be evaluated at the end of the four courses include: Dissertation course DIS9901A Chapter One Dissertation course DIS9902A Chapter Two and Chapter Three; final DP Dissertation course DIS9903A IRB approval, data collection, and final Study Closure Form Dissertation course DIS9904A Chapter Four and Chapter Five; final DM and Defense Students not meeting the minimum standards on the required deliverable at the end of the 12-week course will be assigned to an 8-week supplementary course. The 8-week supplementary course provides additional committee collaboration and support, University support, and a higher hands-on process to expedite the student through the areas needing to be addressed in meeting the minimum rubric standards for each deliverable. These supplementary courses also allow for students to continue working on subsequent Chapters and deliverables in advance of starting the next 12-week course once the minimum standards have been met on the current course requirements. If the student does not meet the minimum criteria of the required course deliverable within the 8-week supplementary course, the student is allowed to retake the 8-week supplementary course again. This second retake of the original dissertation sequence course is the final opportunity for the student to meet the minimum standards for the required course deliverable. Any student who does not meet the minimum criteria on the 8

9 rubric components for the final end of course deliverable will be dismissed from the University. The dissertation course sequence includes 4 core 12 week courses and 8 supplemental courses. The course sequence format is below. DIS9901A (12-week) Chapter One DIS9901B (8-week) supplemental DIS9901C (8-week) supplemental DIS9902A (12-week) Chapter Two and Chapter Three; final Dissertation Proposal DIS9902B (8-week) supplemental DIS9902C (8-week) supplemental DIS9903A (12-week) IRB approval, data collection, and final Study Closure Form DIS9903B (8-week) supplemental DIS9903C (8-week) supplemental DIS9904A (12-week) Chapter Four and Chapter Five; final Dissertation Manuscript and Defense Dissertation course DIS9904B (8-week) supplemental Dissertation course DIS9904C (8-week) supplemental In the following diagram, the dissertation course sequences are displayed. Each course sequence block has the required deliverable to meet minimum standards displayed to progress into the next course sequence block. The table below illustrates the course sequence: 1.4 Dissertation Template 9

10 A template, formatted to APA standards, is available for use by students. There is also a template formatted to APA with detailed explanations for each section with examples for use by students who would like more direction on completing the sections of the dissertation. Differentiation is noted throughout the document for completing an applied (EdD and DBA) or research (PhD) dissertation. Students should use this template to complete their dissertation course deliverables. Remember students need to remove the explanation sections of the template when developing their work. 1.5 DSE Dissertation Grading Students must submit something every week in their dissertation course for their Chair to review. Each course contains committee reviews for students to submit the assigned deliverable. Multiple times throughout the courses the student is required to submit the assignment in Course Room as well as Taskstream (as noted in the syllabus or directed by the Chair). This deliverable will be reviewed by the Chair and SME against the stated rubric criteria in Taskstream. The final submitted deliverable(s) for the course must receive the minimum passing score for all rubric criteria, by all committee members, to receive a passing grade in the course (A or B). If any one of the criteria reflects less than the minimum score, the student receives a C for the course and will be enrolled in the associated 8-week supplemental course. The supplemental course allows the student additional time to complete the expected deliverable(s) to minimum rubric criteria for the dissertation course. In order to receive a passing score in the supplemental course the student must receive the minimum acceptable criteria, by the Chair and SME. If the student receives a C in the first supplemental course (DIS990xB), they will be allowed to take the final supplemental course (DIS990xC) to satisfactorily complete the course deliverable(s). Any student who receives C grades in both supplemental courses (DIS990xB & C) will not be eligible to enroll in additional courses and will be subject to dismissal from the University. Dissertation sequence course grades will be assigned by the Chair according to passing rubric criteria: # of exceeds vs. # of meets (only for those criteria allowing for an exceeds ) will be scored as an A or B between the reconciled scores given from the Chair and the SME; any end of course evaluation against rubric criteria selected as does not meet will be assigned a course grade of F, reflecting the incomplete criteria. Not meeting minimum standards on all rubric criteria for an end of course deliverable indicates students must progress to a supplemental course to work on the criterion not meeting minimum standards before moving into the next sequence of courses. As a reminder: the iterative process in developing a dissertation may require the student go back and revise previously approved Chapters before a final DP or DM can be approved Dissertation Rubric 10

11 A rubric has been developed to align with the requirements of each of the Chapters (Appendix B sample dissertation manuscript rubric) including the requirements for the dissertation proposal and manuscript. For each component in the dissertation, a student must meet the minimum standards of the rubric criteria, as scored by the Chair and SME, to proceed into the next dissertation course sequence Grading Using the Dissertation Rubric The dissertation rubric (Appendix B) will be used to evaluate the work completed for required course deliverables against institutional expectation criteria. Students should use the dissertation rubric to self-evaluate their work before submitting to their Chair and Committee. All criteria must be designated as Meets or Exceeds in order for a successful grade to be achieved for the course deliverable and to progress onto the next course of the dissertation sequence. ANY criteria scoring a Does Not Meet and the entire paper will be scored as failing and the student will be enrolled in the subsequent supplementary 8-week course. The DSE revised templates and rubric are aligned. The nature of the dissertation may require revisions to previously approved Chapters to better align with changes made in subsequent Chapters. The three Chapters (1, 2, and 3) will not be considered as completely final (and for progression into IRB and Data Collection) until a Committee approved (meeting minimum criteria) dissertation proposal has been completed. The five Chapters (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) will not be considered as completely final (and for program completion) until a Committee approved (meeting minimum criteria) dissertation manuscript has been completed. All five individual Chapters, the Proposal, and the Manuscript will be submitted to TurnItIn for originality by the Chair before they can be considered final. The target Turnitin Originality Report should have a similarity index of 15% or less. (excluding references, TOC, and template). TII reports must be submitted with the document feedback from the chair Course Progression Criteria Course progression in the dissertation sequence is determined on students receiving the minimum passing score on all rubric criteria for the stated final course deliverable. The courses requiring passing scores on rubric criteria and substantiating the final course grade include: DIS9901A/B/C: Minimum passing score of Chapter 1 DIS9902A/B/C: Minimum passing score of Dissertation Proposal DIS9903A/B/C requires the submission and chair approval of the IRB Study Closure Form or the Not Human Subject Research (NHSR) Study Closure Form. 11

12 DIS9904A/B/C: Minimum passing score of Dissertation Manuscript and Oral Defense The grading criteria include an A, B, or C. Students receiving an A (100%) or B (85%) as the final grade in the gradebook for the course will be enrolled into the next DIS990XA. Students receiving a C (73%) as the final grade for the course will be enrolled into DIS990XB/C. DIS9903X requires the submission of the IRB Study Closure Form or the Not Human Subject Research (NHSR) Study Closure Form. Once the form is filed the Chair can assign a course grade at the end of the course of an A (100%). At the end of DIS9903X, if a Study Closure Form has not been filed, meaning the student is still in IRB or data collection, the student will receive a C (73%) and progress to the next supplementary course Consequences for Failing to Submit Weekly Assignments Students failing to submit assignments weekly (after two weeks of non-submission) will be identified as at-risk by the Chair which may result in outreach by the academic advisor, School designee, or other University representative. Course, institutional, or other consequences may be instituted for students failure to follow academic submission and course requirements Using the Rubric Each rubric has specific criteria outlined based on the submitted deliverable. There are criteria where the only acceptable values are Meets and Does Not Meet. There are other substantive criteria allowing for Exceeds, Meets, and Does Not Meet. Students are graded (for A or B grades) based only on the criterion allowing the scoring of an Exceeds for final course deliverable. The grading criteria include an A, B, or C. Any reconciled rubric (reconciling Chair and SME individual rubric scores as managed by the Chair) scoring a single Does Not Meet and the paper will be considered as not passing and the course grade must be marked as a C grade and the student will be enrolled in the 8-week supplemental course DIS990XB/C. If the number of Exceeds is greater than the number of Meets (FOR ONLY THOSE CRITERION ALLOWING FOR AN EXCEEDS SCORE) AND there have been no Does Not Meet criteria. The student would receive an A. If the number of Meets is greater than the number of Exceeds (FOR ONLY THOSE CRITERION ALLOWING FOR AN EXCEEDS SCORE) AND there have been no Does Not Meet criteria. The student would receive a B. TaskStream scoring has been designed to indicate if the final score is a whole number the student would earn a passing score (A or B). 12

13 If the final score results in a number with a decimal, the student has received a Does Not Meet (.01) and the student will not pass. The decimal number indicates the number of Does Not Meet criteria. The score for the final grade would be a C Submission Timeframes for Faculty Feedback The dissertation course structure requires students to turn in an assignment every week. Assignment deadlines are Sunday at midnight, Mountain Standard Time. Students will upload their work in the assignment section of each week. Chairs will access the paper and download it from the assignment section. Chairs will provide feedback within the document and upload it in the same assignment section within the stated guidelines in the syllabi for feedback timeframes. Students failing to submit assignments weekly will be identified as at-risk (missing two weeks in a row) by the Chair which may result in University outreach and/or consequences for failure to attend Taskstream turnaround times (calendar days midnight Sunday - MST*) The rubric for evaluating the dissertation Chapters, Proposal, and Manuscript are in Taskstream. For the weeks requiring Taskstream submissions the student must submit to the Courseroom and Taskstream. Chairs have 7 calendar days to provide feedback to students on weekly submissions. Chairs and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) have 7 calendar days to return feedback on work submitted in Taskstream. The exceptions to this rule include full Chapter 2 submissions in Taskstream, the submission of the Dissertation Proposal in Taskstream, and the Dissertation Manuscript in Taskstream all which allow a 14 calendar day turnaround time for feedback in Taskstream. Feedback time frames are listed below: - Chapter 1 (7 days) - Chapter 2 (14 days) - Chapter 3 (7 days) - Dissertation Proposal Draft (14 days) - Final Dissertation Proposal AR (14 days) - IRB Approval Form (7 days) - IRB Closure /NHSR Closure (7 days) - Chapter 4 (7 days) - Chapter 5 (7 days) - Dissertation Manuscript Draft (14 days) - Dissertation Oral Defense (7 days) 13

14 - Final Dissertation Manuscript AR (14 days) *Submission back to the student must include a TurnItIn report for each Taskstream link by the Chair (goal is to achieve a TurnItIn Originality Report which has a similarity index of 15% or less (excluding references, TOC, and template). Assignments submitted after the course end date will not be included in the end of course grade Academic Performance Grades Grades are based on the scoring criteria from the rubric. Students are graded according to their individual performance on the deliverable against the rubric criteria. Students are not compared with each other to determine a grade or performance ranking. Grade points are assigned to academic performance grades as indicated and are used to calculate a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) for each student. Grades are assigned in the dissertation course sequence by the number of exceeds, meets, and does not meet on the rubric from the reconciled committee scores. When the number of Exceeds criteria (of those criterion able to score Exceeds ) is more than the Meets criteria (for those criterion able to be scored Exceeds ) the paper should be assigned an A. If any criterion score Does Not Meet, the paper will be determined as not passing and will be scored a C. Course grades are not to be submitted before the last day of the course. 14

15 1.6 Taskstream Submissions DSE Student Handbook Every three weeks, or as noted in the syllabus, all work completed throughout the dissertation courses should be submitted to Taskstream for review by the SME and the Chair. The work also needs to be submitted in the Courseroom to allow for progress monitoring. The SME and Chair will use the rubric to evaluate each component of the submitted document. The completed rubric and edited document will be submitted back into Taskstream by the Chair and SME. The Chair will then reconcile the scores. All criteria on the rubric must be marked as meets or exceeds by the committee in order for the student to move onto the next 12 week dissertation course. The final draft of the DP and DM will be submitted to the AR by the Chair to be reviewed against a checklist of University criteria in Taskstream once the document has passed all the rubric criteria by the Chair and the SME. Recommendations from the AR should be made to the final DP and DM under the direction of the Chair. Any criteria not meeting minimum standard for the end of course deliverable and the student will be enrolled in the supplemental 8 week course. The Taskstream submission timeframes are noted throughout the syllabi for the courses. Additional submissions can occur if the student completes a deliverable, and the Chair believes the deliverable is ready for evaluation by the committee. The rubric has been developed for all Chapters, the proposal, manuscript, and front and back matter. Grading Notes: All criteria must be at an Exceeds or Meets on the rubric to be considered passing. Any criteria marked as Does Not Meets results a paper not passing and will be assigned an C grade for the Chapter/proposal/manuscript. Once the proposal / manuscript is determined by the Chair and SME to be a minimum quality on the rubric the Chair can submit to the AR for review. The following are the submission links and processes in Taskstream (TS): - Chapter One (student submitted TS notification to Committee) Chair and SME (evaluate, feedback, upload feedback Chair reconciles and TS sent to student) - Chapter Two (student submitted TS notification to Committee) Chair and SME (evaluate, feedback, upload feedback Chair reconciles and TS sent to student) 15

16 - Chapter Three (student submitted TS notification to Committee) Chair and SME (evaluate, feedback, upload feedback Chair reconciles and TS sent to student) - Dissertation Proposal Draft (Chapters 1, 2, 3 and front and back matter) (student submitted TS notification to Committee) Chair and SME (evaluate, feedback, upload feedback Chair reconciles and TS sent to student) - Dissertation Proposal AR - Reader Chair submits passing proposal to AR TS to AR - AR completes checklist and provides feedback - Final Dissertation Proposal Student revises based on AR feedback and Chair direction and submits final, clean copy to Final Dissertation Proposal link Chair checks off as complete - IRB Approval Form Student Submits Chair checks off as complete if there is a modification the Chair needs to return to the student to resubmit modification approval form and the Chair signs off again on resubmitted approved modification form - IRB Closure Form Student submits to Taskstream Chair checks off as complete - Chapter Four (student submitted TS notification to Committee) Chair and SME (evaluate, feedback, upload feedback Chair reconciles and TS sent to student) - Chapter Five (student submitted TS notification to Committee) Chair and SME (evaluate, feedback, upload feedback Chair reconciles and TS sent to student) - Dissertation Manuscript Draft (All Chapters including front and back matter) (student submitted TS notification to Committee) Chair and SME (evaluate, feedback, upload feedback Chair reconciles and TS sent to student) - Dissertation Manuscript AR - Reader Chair submits passing manuscript to AR TS to AR - AR completes checklist and provides feedback 16

17 - Dissertation Manuscript Final Student revises based on AR feedback and Chair direction and submits final, clean copy to Final Dissertation Manuscript link Chair checks off as complete Dissertation Oral Defense Student submits final Oral Defense PPT and Chair checks off as complete Students are reminded while their submitted documents are being evaluated they are expected to continue conducting appropriate activities to advance their research. Resources and next steps are outlined in all the doctoral courses. Students are expected to continue working on subsequent Chapter components advancing their work towards a timely completion. Doctoral research is an ongoing, iterative learning process requiring extensive and continual effort. All available information for progressing through the doctoral dissertation courses are in all the dissertation courses allowing the student to work ahead while the committee works on evaluating the current paper How to Access Taskstream You can upload your assignment to Taskstream using the steps outlined below. Step 1: You will log into your Taskstream account via the website If you do not know your Taskstream password, you can click the forgot login link at and enter your last name and NCU student address. Your Taskstream user name is your NCU address. Password reset information will be sent to your NCU student address. Step 2. You will be directed to the Taskstream home page. On the home page, you will see the courses which you have been assigned in Taskstream. Click on the Program icon titled Doctoral Student Experience (DSE). Step 3: On the left side of your screen you will see a list of the different dissertation submission links. Click on the link corresponding to the dissertation component you are planning to upload (e.g., Chapter 1, Chapter 2, or the Dissertation Proposal). Step 4: On the following screen, links for the assignment directions and rubric will be accessible. To review the assignment directions you can click on the directions. To review the rubric for the assignment you can click onto the rubric link. 17

18 Step 5: To upload your Dissertation assignment, click the Attachments icon at the bottom on the screen. Click up load file and select the file you wish to upload. Step 6: Once you have successfully uploaded your assignment, you will see it listed in the area currently attached uploaded files. You have the option to view, edit, or delete this file on the right side of the frame. Once you have uploaded your assignment, click the Save and Return button on the bottom right of the screen. Step 7: Once you click the save and return button, you will be prompted to submit the assignment you uploaded. Click the Submit Work button, at the top right of the screen. Step 8: A pop-up window will appear verifying your submission. Click the confirm submission button to send your work to your committee. If you are experiencing problems and cannot submit your assignment please reach out to for assistance. Please be sure to always use your NCU when requesting assistance Troubleshooting Taskstream System Requirements Taskstream is a highly dynamic environment that requires the use of a compatible web browser to function effectively. Below are Taskstream s web browser requirements. Browser pop-up blockers must be disabled Browser pop-ups must be enabled Browser cookies must be enabled Preferred browsers are Firefox (latest), Chrome (latest), and Internet Explorer (IE) 11. JavaScript must be enabled Limited functionality for iphones, ipads, and other mobile devices such as a cell phone. A desktop or laptop computer is highly recommended. Disabling Pop-up Blockers A browser s pop-up blockers must be disabled in order to use Taskstream. Here is a helpful website showing how to disable a browser s pop-up blocker depending on your provider. 18

19 How to Disable Pop-up Blockers 1: Enabling Browser Cookies Taskstream requires cookies to be enabled. The steps to follow to enable cookies vary based on the specific version of the Internet browser you use. How to Enable Browser Cookies: Enabling JavaScript Taskstream requires the use of Java on your machine to use the split screen function during the evaluation of an artifact. Java is disabled by default on a Mac. Evaluators can visit Java s website for download of the software and/or to learn how to enable Java within their web browser. If you are experiencing problems with system configuration please reach out to 19

20 Section 2: The Dissertation Committee 2.1 Dissertation Committee Composition The Dissertation Committee provides a student with the direction, guidance, support, and feedback needed to complete all phases and Chapters of the dissertation. The Dissertation Committee consists of three Northcentral University faculty members. The Dissertation Chair has significant expertise in research processes, procedures, methodology, and proficiency in guiding the student through the dissertation process. The second committee member serves in the role of Subject Matter Expert (SME) bringing expertise in the field of study while also supporting the student in any methods approach. The Academic Reader (AR) has expertise in research methods and familiarity with the field of study and ensures the dissertation aligns to University standards of academic integrity, rigor, research methods, and quality. This model allows continued support to students throughout the development of their dissertation components, even through times of committee members being out of office. When a committee member is out of the office the student is able to reach out to the other members with questions or for assistance. 2.2 Selection of Committee Members A student receives an assignment to a Dissertation Chair, SME, and AR during the last course of their program coursework. The student identifies to their respective School Assistant Dean or other School designee their intended topic and methodological approach. The School Assistant Dean or other School designee will then assign the appropriate committee members, depending on faculty knowledge and experience of the topic in the students field of study, to support the needs of the student. All students who are enrolling in their first dissertation (DIS) course will be assigned a Dissertation Chair, a SME, and AR. The selection of a SME will depend on faculty knowledge, availability, and experience of the topic in the students field of study. All committee members will be assigned by the disciplinary School. 2.3 Committee Responsibilities The ultimate responsibility of the Chair of the Dissertation Committee is to determine whether the student has demonstrated the competencies and the accomplishments requisite to the award of their degree. The Chair is supported by the SME and AR in helping the student to complete their dissertation. Each member has a specific role in the success of each student. The Chair is the primary point of contact and mentor for the student. The SME supports the student in each of the courses through reviewing course deliverables and providing additional support as needed throughout the development of the proposal, IRB materials, and manuscript. The AR supports the 20

21 student through review with recommendations for final proposal and manuscript development. 2.4 Working with a Committee All communication among students and Committee Members must be timely, open, and honest. All concerned should maintain a positive, respectful, and professional relationship. The student must take responsibility to notify their Chair of any and all academic concerns prior to notifying anyone else in the institution. If the Chair has not been notified, the concern will not be considered. Examples of academic issues include, but are not limited to: document contents, structure and format; results of reviews by SMEs and ARs; alignment of SMEs to student discipline or topic; and, changing degree program track. Students and their Dissertation Chairs should communicate regularly with one another using NCU provided communication tools. Chairs may also choose to communicate with students via telephone, teleconference, or videoconference. All communications outside the NCU course room or communication tools must be documented by the Chair in the course and/or other NCU systems as appropriate. 2.5 Changes in Committee Assignments Student requests to change committee members are very rare. Students may request to replace a committee member only in very unusual situations and only after consulting with their academic advisor. Students must contact their academic advisor to discuss the process to change a committee member. Prior to requesting any such change, students are expected to use conflict management strategies to resolve issues surrounding communication and feedback. The scholarly journey is an iterative process and although students may not always agree with feedback they are expected to listen actively, reflect, and pose clarifying questions to overcome normal communication and personality differences. In all situations involving requests for Committee changes, the decision of the Dean of the student s disciplinary School (or Dean s designee) as to what is in the student s best interest is final. Section 3: Considerations and Policies (refer to the Catalog for most current info) 3.1 Time Limits For current time limits, please review the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy in the NCU Catalog. 21

22 3.2 Academic Integrity Northcentral University s reputation depends on an uncompromising commitment to standards of academic integrity. The Northcentral University Academic Integrity Policy, to which all students and faculty members are bound, is available through your student or faculty member page. Doctoral students are expected to follow the highest standards of professional ethics, intellectual honesty, and academic integrity. All work submitted to a faculty member in any course is subject to originality confirmation. Faculty members have the responsibility to reject work that fails to meet the standards outlined in the Northcentral University Academic Integrity Policy. Northcentral University dissertation-related work is checked to ensure they meet Northcentral University standards of Academic Integrity. Plagiarism, misrepresentation, or fabrication of information or research results will not be tolerated and may be grounds for immediate dismissal from the University. All Chapters, the Dissertation Proposal, and the Dissertation Manuscript will be submitted to TurnItIn for originality by the Chair before these documents can be considered final. The target Turnitin Originality Report should have a similarity index of 15% or less. (excluding references, TOC, and template). TII reports must be submitted with the document feedback from the chair. 3.3 Code of Conduct All members of the Northcentral University community are bound by the Northcentral University Code of Conduct (COC) contained in the current Northcentral University Course Catalog and thus are expected to act in a professional manner at all times. Failure to adhere to the COC may lead to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. 3.4 Satisfactory Academic Progress For additional information regarding Satisfactory Academic Progress, please review the Satisfactory Academic Progress policy in the Catalog. 3.5 Assignment Deadlines and Final Course Grades Assignments submitted after the course end date will not be graded and calculated in the final grade for the course. Course grades will not be assigned until after the course end date. 3.6 Incomplete Grades 22

23 Students may request an incomplete grade extension if they meet the following requirements: An unforeseen circumstance threatens a student s ability to complete a course by the scheduled course end date. The student has completed 75% of the course The student has a C average for the assignments submitted thus far The student is earning a passing grade in the course at the time the "I" grade is requested NOTE: The following Doctoral courses are not eligible for an incomplete grade: - DIS9901A and B - DIS9902A and B - DIS9903A and B - DIS9904A and B Incomplete grade extension requests are submitted to faculty for review. Faculty may approve a request at their discretion if students meet the eligibility criteria listed above. Incomplete grade request decisions are final and cannot be appealed. 3.7 Unsatisfactory Grades for Dissertation Courses DIS9901A-9904C Students who are unable to earn a grade of B or better by the third course within in a dissertation block (DIS990XA, DIS990XB, and DIS990XC) are subject to dismissal from the University Repeating Doctoral Sequence Courses Students enrolled in course codes CMP9600 through CMP9799 and DIS9901A through DIS9904C may be eligible to earn a repeated Doctoral Sequence ( RD ) grade for courses that were originally completed with a grade of C if subsequent attempts are completed with a B or better. Courses awarded an RD grade will not be used in GPA calculations. Some courses may not be eligible for a retake grade; students should work with their Academic Advisor to determine course repeat eligibility. NOTE: A dissertation block consists of a 12-week dissertation course (DIS990XA) and two 8-week supplemental courses (DIS990XB and DIS990XC). For C grade(s) to be replaced, students must successfully complete the dissertation block with a grade of B or better by the end of the second supplemental dissertation course (DIS990XC) Maximum RD Grade Policy for Doctoral Sequence 23

24 A student may utilize the RD grade a maximum of ten times during the Doctoral Sequence (CMP9600+ and DIS9901A+). Dean permission is needed prior to attempting the CMP course for a third and final time. During the dissertation, a student will be allowed a maximum of two RD grades per dissertation block. 24

25 APPENDICES 25

26 APPENDIX A: Dissertation Rubric (Manuscript sample) DSE Dissertation Manuscript rubric and grading criteria A rubric has been developed for all individual Chapters (1-5), the Dissertation Proposal (DP), and the Dissertation Manuscript (DM). Course grades will be determined but the rubric for DIS9901X (Chapter 1 meeting minimum criteria), DIS9902X (Dissertation Proposal meeting minimum criteria), and DIS9904X (Dissertation Manuscript meeting minimum criteria). Grading will be completed by the Chair and the Subject Matter Expert (SME) and the final scores will be reconciled to determine the final grade. The individual Chapter rubrics are in the courses and in Taskstream. Taskstream will be used as the evaluation tool for assessing student work by the committee. The final DP and DM will be read by the Academic Reader (AR) and comments and suggestions from the AR should be incorporated into the final papers under the direction of the Chair. This rubric is to be used to evaluate the work completed for Dissertation Manuscript against institutional expectation criteria. Candidates should use this rubric to self-evaluate their work before submitting to their Chair and Committee. All criteria must be designated as Meets or Exceeds in order for a successful grade to be achieved. ANY criteria scoring a Does Not Meet and the entire paper will be scored as not passing. The nature of the dissertation may require revisions to previously approved Chapters to better align with changes made in subsequent Chapters. The five Chapters (1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) will not be considered as final until a Committee approved (meeting minimum criteria) dissertation manuscript has been completed. The Dissertation Manuscript will be submitted to TurnItIn for originality by the Chair before the Manuscript can be considered final. Target originality should be below 15% (excluding references, TOC, and template criteria). The final manuscript will be read by a full-time faculty member (Academic Reader - AR) for methods and findings quality, rigor, and alignment to institutional guidelines. Changes may be requested from the AR to improve upon key manuscript components. The Dissertation Manuscript rubric is below. DISSERTATION MANUSCRIPT FRONT MATTER 26

27 APA Format writing/presentation Not used for this criteria Consistently applies fundamental APA formatting for TOC, List of Tables, List of Figures, throughout the DP. The template requirements Inconsistently applies fundamental APA formatting for TOC, List of Tables, List of Figures, throughout the DP. The template requirements are 27

28 are followed. not followed. Performance Component Meets Does Not Meet Dissertation Manuscript Not used for this criteria All discussion related to the proposed study is written in past tense Verb tenses are not matched with the manuscript. Performance Component Exceeds Meets Does Not Meet Introduction A well-written, scholarly, and CHAPTER 1 A clear overview of the study is The study overview is incomplete or compelling narrative orienting the reader to the context of the study. The narrative flows from general to specific framing the topic under study within the literature (Applied degree frames in practice PhD frames in adding to the literature). provided. There is a flow from general to specific of the topic. Major points are adequately supported by the literature (Applied degree frames in practice PhD frames in adding to the literature). unclear. Key elements are inadequately addressed, all points are not supported in the literature, key concepts lack coherence and clarity. Not framed to proper program of study. Performance Component Exceeds (2) Meets (1) Does Not Meet (.01) Statement of the Problem A clearly articulated problem, aligned with the material in the Introduction, supported by strong evidence (within the past year) is identified and clearly discussed. The significance of the problem is clearly discussed. (Applied problem discussed in evidence of the local problem and larger population / PhD problem framed in the literature beyond a specific site documenting t h e n e e d f o r a nd importance of the study). 28

29 A clear problem is explained and supported through the material in the Introduction. Strong evidence (most within the past 5 years) is provided and discussed. (Applied problem discussed in evidence of the local problem and larger population / PhD problem framed in the literature beyond a specific site documenting the need for and importance of the study). The description of the problem is incomplete or unclear. No evidence is provided indicating the problem exists. Evidence to support the problem is dated. Lacks alignment with the material in the Introduction. The significance of the problem is not discussed is unclear or not discussed. (Applied problem is not discussed in evidence of the local problem and larger population / PhD problem is not framed in the literature beyond a specific site documenting the need for and importance of the study). 29

30 Performance Component Exceeds (2) Meets (1) Does Not Meet (.01) Purpose of the Study The purpose of the study is succinctly articulated, and is a logical response aligned to the stated problem, a detailed summary of how the study (will be DP) (was - DM) conducted is provided. The purpose of the study is described and aligns to the stated problem, a summary of how the study (will be DP) (was - DM) conducted is provided. The purpose for the study is incomplete or unclear. Key elements are inadequately addressed and does not align to the stated problem, study details are not supported, and/or lack coherence and clarity (DP or DM) Performance Component Exceeds (2) Meets (1) Does Not Meet (.01) Introduction to Theoretical/Conceptual Framework (not required for grandfathered CPs but recommended) The theory(ies) or conceptual framework used to frame the study are identified, clearly articulated, and discussed in the context of the literature and study topic If multiple frameworks are used, a clear explanation is provided for how they interrelate within the context of the study topic and literature. The theory(ies) or conceptual framework used to frame the study are identified and explained through use of the literature and study topic. If multiple frameworks are used, a description is provided for how they interrelate within the context of the study topic and literature. The discussion of the theory(ies) or conceptual framework is incomplete, unclear, or missing. Key elements are inadequately addressed, all points are not supported, and/or there is a lack of coherence and clarity. If multiple theories are used, a clear explanation for their interrelationship is lacking or missing. (NOTE: for grandfathered applied dissertations this section was not required this criteria should be marked as meets for these papers). Performance Component Exceeds (2) Meets (1) Does Not Meet (.01) Research Questions/ Hypotheses Research question(s) are directly answerable beyond a yes/no response, are specific, testable include the population and environments/topics. Research questions are directly aligned with design and support the problem and purpose. The core concepts (qualitative) and/or operational variables (quantitative) are described 30

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