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Comprehensive Communication Project

Learning Outcome

Integrate theory and content learning by developing and completing a comprehensive communication project.

Example

COMM 680/681 Capstone project: A (Cyber) Communicative Home: Leadership in an Unstructured Online Space

Reflection

The obvious choice for demonstrating competency in this arena is the Capstone inquiry project,  “A (Cyber) Communicative Home: Leadership in an Unstructured Online Space” (still a work in progress at the time of this post).  At an expected length of 13,000 words with 74 references (to date), this project is truly comprehensive. Research and writing of this project takes two semesters (16 weeks in our accelerated format).

My Capstone inquiry project takes the form of a thesis, with an investigation of leadership in unstructured online spaces. The study examines leadership in group interaction patterns emerging in unstructured communicative practices in the context of online forums. I conducted a textual analysis of the content of a 19-month (November 2013 – May 2015) Facebook chat created by a cohort of graduate students in the Queens online program. I examined literature on four main themes: computer mediated communication (CMC), e-leadership (online leadership), online group and e-team interaction patterns, and unstructured communicative practice. I then conducted a grounded theory analysis of the text transcript (1551 pages of text), looking for emergent themes in the text. As of this writing, I am still in the coding phase of the project, but the next steps are analysis of the data via the theoretical framework of e-leadership and e-team trust (Zocarro & Bader, 2003) and the writing of the discussion and conclusion. This project integrates multiple theories and addresses a current communication issue–leadership and followership in online spaces. Further, it serves as a continuation of two previous inquiry projects I conducted in the program: Firefly and Dwelling Place and Dwelling Place and Digital Literacy.

Final thoughts

I entered the program with two areas of academic interest: female entrepreneurial identity and online communities. These interests morphed into interests in gendered communication and organizations and leadership in virtual spaces. This Capstone project lands in the second area of interest, but there may be room to add an element of the first interest, as the group I am studying is comprised entirely of cis-gendered women. If I add the gender swag to the project, I’ll add the update here.

I feel that I leave the Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte with a solid portfolio of work, with an expanded professional tool kit, and with a (soon-to-be) finished product that I can leverage into further personal and career growth.

My goal is to keep the work going after the program, and write a book that will expand these concepts and research.

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

In the meantime, I’m just looking forward to this representing my true situation:

Angela grad