Dr Bet Roffey suggested that a capstone topic:
- is a final year/semester/sequence topic
- helps students integrate prior knowledge and learning
- promotes course coherence and relevance
- further develops student communication skills
- gives support for graduate career plans
- synthesises student prior learning
- enhances student career preparation
- meets graduate's university-work transition needs
She recommends the following potential teaching approaches:
- problem-based learning/case studies
- extended problem analysis frameworks
- 'real-world' situations (the 'living case method')
- role plays, modelling
- industry links: action/reflection strategies
and indicated the following expected learning outcomes:
- increased appreciation of complex, competing issues in graduate jobs
- extended analytical skills
- capacity to link theory and practice
- improved career networking capabilities
- refined communication skills (written, oral, interpersonal, professional presentations)
- employment-related teamwork skills
Dr Roffey indicates that undergraduate 'capstone' topics
- Are also used in other final year undergraduate topics in the same discipline
- Assumes common prior learning, topics (not necessarily sequential)
- Based on similar principles, techniques
- May have more lecture input
- Variation in assessment methods, weightings
- Industry/professional links important during topic.
It is important to consider how ‘capstone' topics might fit into your area. Some questions to consider if developing a ‘capstone' topic are:
- What types of work do graduates seek?
- What knowledge, skills do you expect them to acquire during their degree?
- What topic sequences might lend themselves to a 'capstone' topic approach?
- Can 'capstone' principles be integrated into an existing topic?
- If already done, what topic design, teaching techniques, assessment methods are used?
- How might you benefit from others' experience in 'capstone' topic design and delivery?
Addressing the following questions may aid in avoiding difficulties in implementing capstone topics
- What specific challenges might you face in implementing capstone topic principles in your academic discipline area?
- What are some ways these challenges might be overcome?