This study sought to characterize three exemplary agricultural communications magazine capstone courses at three different universities. The purpose of the research was to describe the characteristics leading to the courses’ success. Following a qualitative research approach, the investigator conducted personal interviews with students and instructors in each course, made field observations, and examined syllabi. The interviews were crafted after Andreasen’s (2004) Five R’s model for quality capstone courses. Important characteristics of the three exemplary magazine capstone courses included (1) student responsibility for the entire magazine production process, (2) high-quality standards that were comparable to those expected in industry, (3) interaction with professionals in the publication and printing industry, and (4) the revisiting of previously fragmented knowledge through refresher lessons. Further, because capstone courses often serve as a rigorous “rite of passage” for agricultural communications students as they transition to their professional careers, students need positive reinforcement to make it through key moments in the course. These moments of positive reinforcement helped students gain conf idence in their skills as professionals. The researchers concluded that providing students with a real-world experience and positive reinforcement was essential to the success of these courses. Students felt expectations for deadlines, quality of work, and attendance was similar to what they would expect in the workforce. In turn, they thought this would help them prepare to enter into their careers. Recommendations for practice include integrating these characteristics into new and existing magazine capstone courses. In addition to these practical recommendations, the results also lead to the recommendation of modifications to Andreasen’s (2004) Five R’s model with changes focusing on noise and feedback.

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