Capstone Project FAQ
- What is the BIS Capstone Project?
The Capstone project is designed to be the BIS program's culminating experience where students meld three disciplines into a coherent, integrated whole to demonstrate academic understanding and application.
- Why do a Capstone Project?
The Capstone experience provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate academic achievement with real-world application through research , outreach, and/or service learning. To do this, students must conceptualize a Capstone idea and work with three professors (one from each BIS academic area) to fine-tune, implement, and report on the project. Capstone projects enable BIS students to demonstrate what they have learned and/or what they have accomplished in their programs of study. A well-done Capstone project also is a valuable artifact for potential employers and graduate school admission committees.
- What makes a successful Capstone Project?
A successful Capstone project is marked by high levels of interest, interaction, and buy-in between BIS students and their committee members. Poor Capstone projects result when there is lack of buy-in or interest from students and committee members. The single best strategy for a successful Capstone project is to communicate and meet frequently with academic committee members! Remember that BIS students have three professors to help guide and shape the student's final project.
- What is the Capstone Project proposal?
A proposal is a written idea that the student envisions for Capstone work. It is typically a 4-5 page conceptual plan that the student writes for academic committee members as a requirement for BIS 3800. Theories and formats used for the proposal will be presented in BIS 3800, and students will receive instruction and feedback for creating a quality proposal during class time. A course requirement for BIS 3800 is that BIS students meet with their three-member committee and present the proposal for feedback and approval. Once approved, the proprosal becomes the blueprint for the actual Capstone project.
- How do I get ideas for a Capstone Project?
Although many BIS students enter the program with a Capstone idea, others conceptualize their project through conversations with academic Capstone committee members. Generally, one begins to conceptualize the Capstone when about one-third of the academic coursework is complete. BIS 3800 has specific activities and assignments to help with conceptualization .
- What is the Capstone Project defense?
After the student's committee formally approves the Capstone proposal, the student begins to implement the research, activity, or service-learning outlined in the proposal . During this time, the student enrolls in BIS 4800 which is not a class, but credits given for doing the Capstone, writing the project report, and working with committee members.
When the student AND the student's committee chair agrees, a formal meeting (the Defense) is scheduled through the BIS office. At the Defense meeting the committee, the student, and the BIS Director discuss and evaluate the student's learning and achievement as demonstrated by the Capstone project.
- Who schedules the Capstone defense?
The student schedules the defense with committee member s and the BIS Department secretary AFTER the Capstone committee chair agrees that the student is ready for the defense. Most defenses are held in the BIS conference room that is set up with a computer, large screen monitor , and teleconferencing capacity. If desired, other conference rooms may be scheduled on campus.
- What will my Capstone Project look like when it is completed?
The student's final Capstone Project or Capstone Project Report will be bound and placed permanently in the WSU Stewart Library and possibly shared on the BIS website. Every term, outstanding examples of Capstone Projects are placed on the BIS website for sharing and demonstration purposes.
- What are the various types of Capstone Projects?
Primary Research Capstone
Primary research begins with a question arising from an issue or problem. Primary research is typically new research investigating a phenomena arising from the student's academic interests. Academic disciplines that have laboratory work, human or animal participants , and numerical data often are associated with primary research. In doing primary research, remember that most academic disciplines have preferred methodologies for this type of research. Be sure to work closely with Capstone committee members to do quality research. Primary research Capstone Reports typically are between 35 to 45 pages in length.
Secondary Research Capstone
Secondary Research generally reviews current research literature from well-researched in professional journals. Unlike primary research, secondary research's aim is to thoroughly describe (from a variety of academic viewpoints) an issue or problem that has been well-documented in professional literature. All academic disciplines lend themselves to secondary research. The greatest hurdle in secondary research is the vast amount of professional literature already written about the issue or problem. To assist BIS students with secondary research, Stewart Library bibliographers are available to help guide students with the most current and relevant literature for the issue or problem under investigation . Secondary research Capstone Reports typically are between 35 to 45 pages in length. Remember that all three academic disciplines must be thoroughly addressed in the Capstone Project.
Community-Engaged Service Learning Capstone
Unlike primary and secondary research projects , a BIS community engagement Capstone project entails a student connecting with a non-profit, charitable, advocacy , or community service organization and providing free volunteer work to provide service, democratic engagement, and/or community research. Generally, a faith-based organization (such as a church, synagogue, temple, or mosque) is not an appropriate place for a BIS community engagement project.
To assist BIS students with finding appropriate organizations , BIS partners with Weber's Center for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL) that is located in the Shepherd Student Union. Many community organizations are well-represented by the CCEL. BIS students interested in a community engagement Capstone project must register first with CCEL through Weber Connect and then meet with a CCEL advisor. Community engagement projects typically require 150 volunteer hours per semester. Community engagement Capstone projects typically have a project audit report of 15 to 25 pages due to the intensive amount of community work. Remember that all three academic disciplines must be thoroughly addressed in the Capstone Project.
More on Community-Engaged Service Learning
This type of Capstone project is noted for its flexibility and creativity . Academic disciplines from the fine arts to computer programming work well the creative Capstone. For example, programming a new website, choreographing a new dance, writing a music instruction handbook, or creating a non-profit business plan are all examples of a creative Capstone project. When doing such a project it is essential that the student's three academic discipline be represented. Be sure to gain approval from all committee members to ensure that all three academic disciplines are well-represented . Creative Capstone Projects typically have 15-25 pages of text with an appendix of the actual materials created or other types of artifacts to demonstrate learning and creativity.
- How will my Capstone Project be graded?
All Capstone projects will be evaluated and scored by the student's three-member Capstone project committee. To assist committee members, the BIS director has created scoring rubrics (based on national standards) that are integrated, taught, and used in BIS 3800. The actual scoring rubrics are posted on the Department's website for student and committee use during the entire Capstone process. Although the BIS Director participates in the student's defense, the actual Capstone scoring and final grade for BIS 4800 are determined by the student's three committee members.