“Culminating experiences at the end of the student’s college years, project, presentation, and report that integrates and applies what they learned throughout college”Peters, Tisdale, & Swinton, 2019
Capstone courses provide students the opportunity to apply what they have learned and use their STEM skills by challenging them to solve problems. Typically, these courses and/or projects are discipline-specific and require the integration of conceptual knowledge and applied skills, and students benefit from the support and involvement of faculty (Association of American Colleges, 1991). Capstone projects are particularly beneficial to STEM students when they are developed with the industrial context in mind so that students can work to solve real-world problems and thereby stimulate student interest and motivation (Gorka, Miller & Howe, 2007). Some guidance has been suggested for designing and implementing capstone projects, including making projects as realistic as possible, sufficiently complex and broad in scope, relatively open-ended, and students should believe that the solution to the problem will be substantially important to a person or organization (Gorka, Miller & Howe, 2007).
References and additional resources:
Association of American Colleges. 1991. The Challenge of Connecting Learning: Project on Liberal Learning, Study-in-Depth, and the Arts and Science Major (Vol. 1). Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges.
Gorka, S., Miller, J. R., & Howe, B. J. (2007, October). Developing realistic capstone projects in conjunction with industry. In Proceedings of the 8th ACM SIGITE conference on Information technology education (pp. 27-32).
Peters, A. W., Tisdale, V. A., & Swinton, D. J. (2019). High-impact educational practices that promote student achievement in STEM. Broadening Participation in STEM (Diversity in Higher Education) 22, 183-196.