The Integrated Action Learning (IAL) Project represents the Capstone experience of your undergraduate program. This is an opportunity to apply what you have learned in your coursework to a real situation, resulting in benefits not only to you but to an organization as well. In this unit, you will apply what you learn from the readings to better understand how to produce your proposal. You will become familiar with the structure of this course and the IAL Project.
The IAL Project is a real-world project solving a real-world problem. The major criterion for acceptance of your project idea is that it benefits an organization you identify. Beyond that, you should seek to develop a project that will apply the concepts you have learned in your time at Capella. For example, if you are in the:
- For me it will be “Network technology specialization, you might want to propose a local area network (LAN).
- Your focus over the coming weeks will be on developing a proposal that clearly communicates IT solutions that address the complex needs of clients and account for various stakeholder interests as well as other key internal and external factors influencing the organization.
- First Steps
- The first step in your project is to identify an organization ( Intarion ) and a site supervisor who will work with you over the next ten weeks. In some action learning and research circles, there is a person called a “critical friend” who serves a similar role. Essentially, you will be looking for someone who is connected with your target organization who can help you by not only being a sounding board but also by serving as an insider to help you find the information you need. Ideally, this person would also be involved with helping change happen in areas targeted by your project.
- This person will be vital in the most critical phase of your project—the discovery phase. Over the next several weeks, you will be investigating critical issues you will need to consider when designing your project proposal for the organization you have chosen.
The sections below provide information about the project components.
Read the unit-level descriptions for more detail about the following components.
- Site Supervisor: Includes a short description of key information about the site supervisor.
- Environmental Scan (2 pages): Provides an initial analysis of key internal and external factors affecting the organization to identify critical problems that might be addressed by IT solutions.
- Presentations: Includes two presentations, approximately 15 minutes each, with your site supervisor and instructor to let them know of your findings and potential solutions. Also involves creating visual supplements to aid in the presentation, which could be PowerPoint slides, Web sites, or other media. This is an opportunity to collaborate to be sure that the proposal meets the needs of the organization.
The following components are to be incorporated in your final project but take place in the form of discussions throughout this course to give an opportunity for peer review and feedback:
- Self-Assessment and Description (2 pages): Represents a thorough assessment of what you offer when it comes to your project, as well as how your personal factors might affect the success of your project.
- Literature Review: Identifies themes in the literature regarding IT concepts related to potential solutions for the problem you are addressing. This is an annotated bibliography that includes a short summary and reference for each article, organized into themes or topics. Integrates into the review at least seven references by Unit 6 and ten by Unit 10.
- Needs and Risk Analysis (2 pages): Specifies how the proposal’s solutions meet the needs of the organization and key stakeholders and identifies the potential risks involved as well as strategies for addressing those risks.
- Legal, Ethical, and Policy Analysis (1 pages): Specifies potential legal, ethical, and policy issues related to the solutions being designed and the context of the organization.
- Executive Summary (1– pages).
Initial Project Proposal
This is a compilation of the documentation you have created in class as of Unit 6 plus the Solution Analysis and a section on Action Learning. Presentations and speeches are not included in the documentation. (When you develop your Final Project Proposal, you will include all of the details from the Initial Project Proposal, as well as a few additional sections.)
The Organizational Problem and Context
This section includes the Environmental Scan and the Self-Assessment.
The Environmental Scan is from Unit 2 and should include the following:
- An introduction to the organization and current situation.
- The site supervisor information.
- The SWOT analysis.
- Your conclusions based on the SWOT analysis.
The Self-Assessment is from Unit 4 and should include the following:
- Your relevant work experience.
- Your coursework in this program.
- Your career goals.
- Any special training or education you have had.
- Your strengths and weaknesses.
- Your beliefs about leadership.
- Your beliefs about change.
- Your beliefs about communication.
- Your beliefs about lifelong learning.
- Anything else you think will have an effect on the success of your project.
This section identifies themes in the literature regarding IT concepts related to potential solutions for the problem you are addressing. This is an annotated bibliography that includes a short summary and reference for each source, organized into themes or topics. All sources are listed according to APA format.
The review should include at least seven references by Unit 5 and ten references by Unit 10. Note that textbooks and Wikipedia are not appropriate sources to refer to in your review. Use other respected sources.
This section addresses key questions related to your proposed solutions:
- What solutions do you propose?
- How do your solutions address the specific organizational problems that you have identified, and how do they address the key stakeholder concerns?
- How are the solutions connected to global/domestic IT trends and solutions? How does what you are proposing keep the organization in line with what is happening in the industry?
- What model or architecture do you propose for your solution(s)?
- What technology or technologies do you recommend as part of the solution?
- What are the specific IT principles that support your proposed solution?
- What are key issues that the organization needs to consider from a legal, ethical, and policy standpoint?
- What are risks associated with the solution(s) proposed, and how might they be minimized?
The Action Learning Process
This section is where you reflect on the process of developing your proposal.
- Communication: How have you have used business communication and tools in developing the proposal?
- Decision Tools: What IT tools have you used in developing the proposal and in collaborating during the planning process?
- Collaboration: Reflect on the role of collaboration in developing your proposal.
- Who did you work with to accomplish the planning in the environment and how did your connection with them help shape your proposal?
- How did feedback from your site supervisor or critical friend contribute to your final revisions to your proposal?
- Reflective Learning: Consider the value that your educational and personal background brought to the process.
- How has your learning process in your program at Capella contributed to your approach to developing your Final Project Proposal?
- How have other aspects of your background helped or potentially hindered your work on this proposal?
- What lessons have you learned from this process that you would apply to future planning pursuits in your field?
Integrated Action Learning Project Proposal
Includes all of the sections from the Initial Project Proposal as well as the following components. (This component is also referred to as the Final Project Proposal.)
Needs and Risk Analysis
Specifies how the proposal’s solutions meet the needs of the organization and key stakeholders and identifies the potential risks involved as well as strategies for addressing those risks.
Legal, Ethical, and Policy Analysis
Specifies potential legal, ethical, and policy issues related to the solutions being designed and the context of the organization.
Although this is created in Unit 8, it is placed at the start, before any other parts of the documentation.
To successfully complete this project, you will be expected to:
- Communicate effectively in business environments.
- Use IT tools for decision making.
- Collaborate using IT tools in an organization.
- Solve loosely defined problems with technology solutions.
- Understand ethical, legal, and policy issues with IT.
- Create IT solutions to solve organizational problems.
- Plan strategically for global and domestic environments.
- Design and model effective IT solutions for an organization
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