June 12, 2005
June 12, 2005
June 15, 2005
10.509.1 - 10.509.11
Effective Capstone/Master’s Projects – Do’s and Don’ts
Shekar Viswanathan and Howard E. Evans School of Engineering and Technology National University, 11255 North Torrey Pines, La Jolla, California 92037, U.S.A.
Final program projects (typically ‘master’s projects’ at the graduate level and ‘capstone’ at the undergraduate) are intensive experiences in critical analysis and are designed to broaden students’ perspectives and provide them with an opportunity to integrate the knowledge acquired from various courses (integration of coursework) into their area of specialization. This paper analyzes a successful final project to present a list of Do’s and Don’ts necessary for developing and implementing effective capstone and master’s projects.
A capstone course can provide an invigorating experience to students in their program of study since it integrates the concepts and skills they learned during their academic tenure. Final program projects (typically ‘master’s projects’ at the graduate level and ‘capstone’ at the undergraduate) are intensive experiences in critical analysis, and are designed to broaden students’ perspectives and provide them with an opportunity to integrate the information obtained from their various courses into their area of specilization. Typically, projects focus on the application of materials learned throughout the program to solve multi-faceted problems such as those students would encounter in their future post-academic employment. In these projects, students select project topics under the guidance of a faculty advisor, analyze the problem and formulate a detailed plan to reach a solution, perform necessary evaluations and/or experimentations, identify and/or propose meaningful results and solutions, test the proposal to the extent possible, and prepare a detailed report and associated presentation. Projects can be done in teams or as individuals. The ‘front end’ project plan and the ‘back end’ documentation and presentation are both important elements. Since the entrance into the capstone and master’s projects follows completion of other courses, faculty project advisors can assign problems that are not only relevant to the students’ interests but also are helpful in reinforcing the concepts taught.
Typical learning outcomes for such a culminating project experience include students demonstrating the ability to:
• evaluate critically a given project’s feasibility and define a specific problem or study • present a comprehensive review of relevant literature
Evans, H., & Viswanathan, S. (2005, June), Effective Capstone/Master’s Projects – Do’s And Don’ts Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. https://peer.asee.org/15074
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