Effective capstone project paper

Effective capstone project paper - Effective...

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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. Abstract Final program projects (typically ‘master’s projects’ at the graduate level and ‘capstone’ at the undergraduate) are intensive experiences in critical analysis, designed to broaden students’ perspectives and provide an opportunity for integration of coursework in the area of specilization and hence require careful planning and implementation. This paper presents a Do’s and Don’ts list for developing and implementing effective capstone and master’s projects, by analyzing a successful final project. Introduction A capstone course can provide an invigorating experience to students in their program of study since it integrates concepts and skills learned throughout the academic tenure. Final program projects (typically ‘master’s projects’ at the graduate level and ‘capstone’ at the undergraduate) are intensive experiences in critical analysis, designed to broaden students’ perspectives and provide an opportunity for integration of coursework in the area of specilization. Typically, projects focus on the application of materials learned throughout the program to solve multi-faceted problems such as those they would encounter in the students’ post-academic future 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 capability to: Evaluate critically a given project’s feasibility, and define a specific problem or study. Present a comprehensive review of relevant literature. Identify sources of relevant data, generate and/or gather data as appropriate, and provide in-depth analyses. 1
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Identify, describe and apply appropriate models for drawing conclusions. Create a comprehensive project report based on the findings that relate to all
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Effective capstone project paper - Effective...

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