The Capstone Project is a two-semester process in which students pursue independent research on a question or problem of their choice, engage with the scholarly debates in the relevant disciplines, and with the guidance of a faculty mentor produce a substantial paper that reflects a deep understanding of the topic.
Comprehending Capstone Projects
Capstone projects are generally designed to encourage students to think critically, solve challenging problems, and develop skills such as oral communication, public speaking, research skills, media literacy, teamwork, planning, self-sufficiency, or goal setting i.e., skills that will help prepare them for college, modern careers, and adult life.
In most cases, the projects are also interdisciplinary, in the sense that they require students to apply skills or investigate issues across many different subject areas or domains of knowledge. Capstone projects also tend to encourage students to connect their projects to community issues or problems, and to integrate outside of school learning experiences, including activities such as interviews, scientific observations, or internships.
While capstone projects can take a wide variety of forms from school to school, a few examples will help to illustrate both the concept and the general educational intentions:
- Writing, directing, and filming a public-service announcement that will be aired on public-access television
- Designing and building a product, computer program, app, or robot to address a specific need, such as assisting the disabled
- Interning at a nonprofit organization or a legislator’s office to learn more about strategies and policies intended to address social problems, such as poverty, hunger, or homelessness
- Conducting a scientific study over several months or a year to determine the ecological or environmental impact of changes to a local habitat
- Researching an industry or market, and creating a viable business plan for a proposed company that is then “pitched” to a panel of local business leaders
Capstone Project grading
In some Specializations, you will be evaluated only on your final project submission. In other Specializations, you will get separate grades for each section of the project.
To receive a passing grade for the Capstone, you will need to:
- Receive a passing grade for the final project and any required sections.
- Complete all required evaluations of your peers’ work.
Length of Capstone Projects
Capstone Projects vary in length, but you can expect to spend about 4 to 8 weeks working on your project, making revisions, and reviewing the work of your peers. Most Capstone Projects require about 40 hours of total work time.
Importance of Capstone Projects:
- Future Ready: A capstone project prepares a student for a future course of studies. It provides you an opportunity for the student to retain what he/she has learned during college studies and put it in use once they pursue a particular academic career in the university.
- Develop Research related skills: A capstone project further enhance research making skills of a student. There is a lot of research work involved when it comes to writing a capstone project and a student has to search from various sources to produce authentic findings.
- Provides a platform: A capstone project can provide a good platform for any student. It can strengthen their basic knowledge in a particular course and provide an option as to which academic career to pursue afterward. A student can discover his/her interest and pursue an academic field accordingly.
- Keep abreast with the latest development: A capstone project can also expose you to the latest trends in your field as it involves carrying out extensive research of the concerned topic to finally come up with the solution of the problem you intend to address in your paper. It adds to your wisdom, knowledge, and problem-solving skills.
- Boosts reasoning skills: The capstone project can teach you to think critically and analyze the concerned problems from each and every angle so that you view it objectively. This, in turn, can help boost your reasoning skills too.
- Future ready: Working on a good capstone project helps in building your excellence in a particular chosen topic. This prepares for your future challenges that come across in your career, lets you realize real-life problems as well so that you can find out suitable solutions for them, thereby adding to your knowledge, wisdom and problem-solving skills. Besides if you do well in your capstone project there are chances to build up a very impressive CV and landing up in a good Jon in turn.
Types of capstone project:
Capstone projects are of many types, and your school and university have the authority over deciding which type of projects you are assigned. Some of the common types of capstone project include the following:
- Case Studies: A case study is research strategy and an empirical inquiry that investigates e phenomena with the real-life context. It involves analysis of person groups, events, decisions, periods, policies, institutions or other systems that are studied holistically by one or more method.
- Outcome-based evaluation: Outcome evaluation measures program effect in the target population by accessing the outcomes or outcome objectives that program has to achieve.
- Program Evaluation: Program evaluation is a systematic method for collecting, analyzing and using the information to answer questions about projects, policies, and programs, particularly about their effectiveness and efficiency.
- Focus groups: A focus group is a small, but a demographically diverse group of people and whose reaction are studied especially in market research or political analysis in a guided or open discussion about a new product.
- Surveys: A survey is to examine and record the area and its features so as to construct a map, plan or description.
There can be other kinds of capstone projects too depending on what your school or university prefers. However, program evaluation and case study are the commonest forms.
Steps needed for one to take to do a capstone project:
Irrespective of the form of the capstone project you have been assigned, you will have to take certain steps to complete your project.
- Choose a topic: Be wise in choosing the topic that focuses on real-life situations and one that involves the application of a specific principle that you learned during your course. Choose topics which involve the analysis of statistical data as well as of complex concepts and ideas that are too hard to fathom for the readers.
- Submit your proposal: The proposal should be long and it should adequately introduce the topic you have chosen. The section of literature review and methodology will also be part of it. This decides about your proposal application is accepted or rejected.
- Start working on the capstone project: If your proposal gets accepted, you should start working immediately. Research your topic extensively and accumulates latest and as much information as you can so that you have enough information to start writing /filming/interning as finishing a capstone project will take a very long time. This is due to the fact that these projects require you to devote a semester to it at least.
Tips & tricks for writing your capstone project:
- Learn to manage your time: Manage your time effectively. Divide it into small portions and try to chase this small deadline in order to finish your capstone project on time.
- Be careful with the research material you use: The type of research material you use will decide the quality of your work, it is always better to use the authentic and quality material.
- Regular Interaction with your Supervisor will show you the light in the right direction; correct your mistakes timely while doing the project.
- Pay attention to formatting: Make sure your project is neat, clean and easy to understand.