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Article
Publication date: 2 March 2015

Latif M. Jiji, Irvin Sam Schonfeld and George A. Smith

This paper aims to describe experience gained with a required six-credit year-long course, the Capstone Interdisciplinary Team Project, a key component of the Master of…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to describe experience gained with a required six-credit year-long course, the Capstone Interdisciplinary Team Project, a key component of the Master of Science (MS) in Sustainability degree at the City College of New York. A common feature of sustainability problems is their interdisciplinary nature. Solutions to sustainability problems often require professionals with different training and backgrounds to work as a team. A sustainability curriculum should provide students with the skills needed to competently participate in an interdisciplinary team.

Design/methodology/approach

Instructors drawn from different departments and divisions of the college developed a pool of sustainability-focused Capstone projects and acted as mentors to teams of students with diverse undergraduate backgrounds. Students attended workshops designed to provide training in teamwork, research and report preparation. An independent evaluator designed an evaluation protocol to assess the course’s impact both while it was implemented and after the course was concluded.

Findings

Early experience with the program strongly indicates that the Capstone project requirement is an effective learning tool. However, identifying qualified mentors, developing suitable projects, assembling teams and administering the Capstone course are demanding tasks. Although students often experience difficulties in the early stages of their work, they ultimately express satisfaction and appreciation for the skills learned in the course.

Practical implications

The inclusion of a capstone team project in a graduate sustainability curriculum is strongly recommended. Adopting such a course requires significant effort and sustained faculty engagement.

Originality/value

Although there is considerable experience with undergraduate engineering Capstone course requirements, little is known about interdivisional capstone requirements at the level of master’s degree in Sustainability. This paper details new and relevant experience helpful to the implementation of such a requirement.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Book part
Publication date: 31 October 2015

Doreen F. Cunningham, Alieu Wurie, Grace E. Byfield and Mark A. Melton

This chapter examines the design and impact on student learning in two STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) capstone undergraduate research courses at…

Abstract

This chapter examines the design and impact on student learning in two STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) capstone undergraduate research courses at Saint Augustine’s University. It discusses how these courses help student metacognitive capabilities as they synthesize their learning across the program, demonstrate holistic development, and successfully negotiate the transition to their next academic and career pathway. It couples data from these capstone research courses with a review of the literature to elucidate the conditions and impact that undergraduate research STEM capstone courses have benefited students, faculty and the University. These best practices for the capstone courses may be used as a model for other HBCUs capstone courses or undergraduate research experiences. Throughout this chapter, the following questions are addressed: How do the capstone courses prepare students for graduate school and/or the STEM workforce? How are the capstone courses enhancing student undergraduate experiences? How do the capstone courses offer authentic research experiences for each student in spite of limited resources and faculty? How do students and faculty feel they have benefited from the capstone course experience? How have students overall learning been enhanced because of the capstone courses?

Details

Infusing Undergraduate Research into Historically Black Colleges and Universities Curricula
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-159-0

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Article
Publication date: 23 August 2019

Jeffrey W. Alstete and Nicholas J. Beutell

This study aims to consider assurance of learning among undergraduate business students enrolled in capstone business strategy courses using the GLO-BUS competitive…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to consider assurance of learning among undergraduate business students enrolled in capstone business strategy courses using the GLO-BUS competitive simulation. Gender, academic major and business core course performance were examined.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants were 595 undergraduate capstone business students from 21 course sections taught over a four-year period. Variables included learning assurance measures, simulation performance, gender, major, business core course grades, capstone course grade and cumulative grade point average. Correlations, linear regression, multiple regression and multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) were used to analyze the data.

Findings

Learning assurance report scores were strongly related to simulation performance. Simulation performance was related to capstone course grade, which, in turn, was significantly related to the grade point average (GPA). Core business courses were related to learning assurance and performance indicators. Significant differences for gender and degree major were found for academic performance measures. Women and men did not differ in simulation performance.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations include the use of one simulation (GLO-BUS) and studying students at one university taught by one professor. Assurance of learning measures needs further study as factors in business program evaluation. Future research should analyze post-graduate performance and career achievements in relation to assurance of learning outcomes.

Originality/value

This study conducts empirical analyses of simulation learning that focuses entirely on direct measures, including student characteristics (gender, major), learning assurance measures, business core course grades, capstone course grades and student GPAs.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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Article
Publication date: 4 April 2016

Jeffrey W. Alstete and Nicholas J. Beutell

The purpose of this paper is to contend that collegiate programs should carefully plan their capstone courses in light of the educational mission, pedagogical content…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to contend that collegiate programs should carefully plan their capstone courses in light of the educational mission, pedagogical content knowledge, instructional techniques and delivery formats.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a concept paper with elements of theory building from the case of business strategy courses. After an overview of relevant research along with past and current practices, capstone course content projects and assignments are discussed in relation to delivery formats such as on-campus, hybrid partial online and full distance education.

Findings

Faculty and academic departments choosing project assignments should seek to create an integrative learning experience for students using carefully balanced delivery methods and content. Each of the instructional methods and delivery systems have certain advantages, and the use of these techniques is not mutually exclusive, in that some faculty members may choose to teach course sections using multiple learning systems.

Originality/value

As colleges and universities increase the range of instructional techniques and delivery formats, it is especially important to harmonize these methods with learning objectives for capstone learning experiences. Concepts for balanced integration and synthesis of topics are proposed for different instructional methods and delivery formats that can be applied in other disciplines. Using pedagogical content knowledge as a basis for improving teaching and learning is necessary to achieve balanced integration.

Details

Quality Assurance in Education, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4883

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Article
Publication date: 8 July 2014

Halcyon St Hill and Hulya Julie Yazici

The purpose of this paper is to present an integrated model of didactic, practice and interdisciplinary service learning in healthcare education, and determine the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present an integrated model of didactic, practice and interdisciplinary service learning in healthcare education, and determine the students’ perceptions on the benefits of this integration.

Design/methodology/approach

A pre and post survey design was utilized to examine health professions students’ perspectives with respect to learning outcomes relevant to professional benefits of a service learning capstone. The surveys consisted of 36 items for measuring the interdisciplinary course characteristics and perceived benefits of the integrated approach. The required interdisciplinary (used interchangeably with interprofessional) course was constructed as an integrated didactic, practice interdisciplinary service learning model. The sample consisted of undergraduate students (n=53) who completed the interdisciplinary senior seminar capstone course taught by one faculty member in one of three course sections. Structural equation modeling based on partial least squares was used to analyze the significance of constructs. Students’ reflections on interdisciplinary service learning were also collected and summarized.

Findings

The study demonstrated the significance of interdisciplinary course and team preparation on perceived professional benefits and positive community service learning experience.

Research limitations/implications

Further studies are needed and being pursued to address practitioners’ perceptions of interdisciplinary education. To fully complete the assessment of interdisciplinary education, longitudinal studies must be pursued with graduates and their employers. A larger sample size could be used to repeat this study.

Practical implications

The model employed in this study may be utilized as a component of practice education and clinical practice to address accreditation requirements, quality patient-centred care, and engaging students in valuing interprofessionalism and service.

Originality/value

This study presents an integrated model of didactic, practice and interdisciplinary service learning in health professions education, and demonstrates the benefits of the model with health profession students’ perceptions of interprofessional education (IPE). This study contributes to professional learning research as the impact of IPE has been questionable due to lack of rigorous evidence.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 56 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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Article
Publication date: 25 January 2019

Mark Angolia and April Helene Reed

The purpose of this paper is to encourage the use of simulations early in a semester, rather than as a course capstone activity, in an effort to utilize simulations as a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to encourage the use of simulations early in a semester, rather than as a course capstone activity, in an effort to utilize simulations as a foundational experience. The intent is to support teaching and learning, as opposed to using simulations as a capstone assignment or assessment tool.

Design/methodology/approach

A comprehensive literature review synthesizing higher education business simulation effectivity and evaluation methods provides support for the analysis of 60 undergraduate supply chain management students and 96 surveys conducted over two years. The research question explores effectiveness based on the point of time during a semester a simulation was used.

Findings

The analysis of simulation effectiveness, based on the impact of course enjoyment and assistance with learning key course competencies, showed no significant differences for simulations used early in a semester or as an end-of-semester capstone event.

Practical implications

Simulations are effective tools regardless of when they are employed, but there may be significant benefits to using a simulation early in a semester by capitalizing on the tool’s inherent experiential learning functionality, active learning theory and the Kolb Experiential Learning Cycle. Early use of simulations provides common student experiences and creates a foundation for educators to develop a deeper understanding of course concepts. Additional instructor effort is needed to develop external, course specific student work to supplement and enhance the simulation experience. Early use also creates post-simulation debriefing benefits that may be precluded by the end-of-semester simulation events.

Originality/value

Evidence suggests that simulations are primarily utilized as course capstone events and/or serve as comprehensive tools to integrate/assess a semester’s worth of conceptual learning. This work fills a gap in the research concerning time frames within a semester when simulations are traditionally employed, presenting a paradigm shift toward early utilization.

Details

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-7003

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Article
Publication date: 18 December 2017

Meghann E. Jarchow, Paul Formisano, Shane Nordyke and Matthew Sayre

The purpose of this paper is to describe the student learning outcomes (SLOs) for a sustainability major, evaluate faculty incorporation of the SLOs into the courses in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the student learning outcomes (SLOs) for a sustainability major, evaluate faculty incorporation of the SLOs into the courses in the sustainability major curriculum and measure student performance on the SLOs from entry into the major to the senior capstone course.

Design/methodology/approach

Through an iterative approach with a faculty advisory committee, SLOs were developed for the sustainability major. Curriculum mapping followed by evaluation of course syllabi were used to determine the extent to which each course addressed the SLOs. Student performance on most SLOs was measured through student assessment in an introductory and capstone course to evaluate the change in performance over time.

Findings

The core courses of the sustainability major were more likely to address the SLOs of the major than that of the elective courses. Where measured, student performance on the SLOs increased from the introductory course to the capstone course. Sustainability majors participated in an average of almost ten experiential learning opportunities focused on sustainability.

Originality/value

This research provides a longitudinal assessment of student learning in an undergraduate sustainability major. Because undergraduate sustainability degrees are generally new, this research can serve as a base upon which to continue to improve sustainability curriculum design.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 21 September 2010

Katja Brundiers, Arnim Wiek and Charles L. Redman

Academic sustainability programs aim to develop key competencies in sustainability, including problem‐solving skills and the ability to collaborate successfully with…

Abstract

Purpose

Academic sustainability programs aim to develop key competencies in sustainability, including problem‐solving skills and the ability to collaborate successfully with experts and stakeholders. These key competencies may be most fully developed in new teaching and learning situations. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the kind of, and extent to which, these key competencies can be acquired in real‐world learning opportunities.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper summarizes key competencies in sustainability, identifies criteria for real‐world learning opportunities in sustainability programs, and draws on dominant real‐world learning models including project‐ and problem‐based learning, service learning, and internships in communities, businesses, and governments. These components are integrated into a framework to design real‐world learning opportunities.

Findings

A “functional and progressive” model of real‐world learning opportunities seems most conducive to introduce students (as well as faculty and community partners) to collaborative research between academic researchers and practitioners. The stepwise process combined with additional principles allows building competencies such as problem solving, linking knowledge to action, and collaborative work, while applying concepts and methods from the field of sustainability.

Practical implications

The paper offers examples of real‐world learning opportunities at the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University, discusses general challenges of implementation and organizational learning, and draws attention to critical success factors such as collaborative design, coordination, and integration in general introductory courses for undergraduate students.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to sustainability education by clarifying how real‐world learning opportunities contribute to the acquisition of key competencies in sustainability. It proposes a functional and progressive model to be integrated into the (undergraduate) curriculum and suggests strategies for its implementation.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Book part
Publication date: 25 January 2013

Therèsa M. Winge and Mary C. Embry

The Fashion Design Podcast Initiative educated students about podcasting by having the students share in the teaching activities as part of learning. The faculty…

Abstract

The Fashion Design Podcast Initiative educated students about podcasting by having the students share in the teaching activities as part of learning. The faculty implemented Lernen durch Lehren (LdL) or “Learning by Teaching” pedagogy and Bloom's revised taxonomy to encourage and support creativity, independence, confidence, and soft skills (i.e., teamwork, communication, decision making, research, exploration, and presentation skills) with emerging technologies. By creating educational podcasts, students developed skills in new technologies and disseminated information to educate others about fashion design. Faculty and students discovered the benefits and drawbacks with emerging technologies as teaching strategies.

Details

Increasing Student Engagement and Retention Using Mobile Applications: Smartphones, Skype and Texting Technologies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-509-8

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Article
Publication date: 14 September 2015

Sylvain Charlebois and Michael von Massow

The purpose of this paper is to explore the introduction of the concept of co-opetition in an MBA classroom through the use of a live case study competition. As part of a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the introduction of the concept of co-opetition in an MBA classroom through the use of a live case study competition. As part of a capstone course at the University of Guelph, teams of three to four MBA students were required to work with a corporate partner in the food industry during a five-day intensive workshop. After spending one week analyzing and working on a plan, students were asked to compete in the MBA Boardroom Challenge, which is held on the last day of the course at the corporate partner’s headquarters. During the course of the week, while developing their plans, teams could choose to interact and met on two occasions with the corporate partner as a class to ask questions. This meant that teams operated in both a cooperative and competitive context during the course. While presentations were academically evaluated by the instructor, scholarships were offered to the winning team by the company using another set of criteria. This paper analyzes the effectiveness of blending cooperation and competition in a graduate business classroom and finds that the introduction of co-opetition enhanced outcomes for both students and partners. The limitations of this process are considered, and future research directions are suggested.

Design/methodology/approach

This project, the focus of this paper, was in partial fulfillment of a capstone strategic management course for the University of Glebe’s MBA program in Spring 2013. For this iteration, Longo’s Brothers, a well-established food distribution company, was brought in as the case study. The mandate of the course was to set a strategic view of Longo’s and Grocery Gateway (a division of Longo’s), a Canadian-based food e-distributor owned and operated by Longo’s Brothers. The concept of co-opetition and its application was introduced as part of the course.

Findings

Longo’s Brothers provided an ideal environment for a live case study. It was open, available end engaged at all levels. Its status as a family-owned business offered a unique perspective on the food industry as well. Students benefited from the company’s openness to share sensitive information with the group, and were able to ask information on finances, marketing, human resources and the organizational structure of the company. The level of cooperation was more than adequate for a MBA-level course. But students faced a few challenges.

Research limitations/implications

The unpredictable nature of the entire process did not allow for measurement of knowledge acquirement and skill development. This is something such a course should address in future iterations. Future research could usefully explore a number of research questions around this area; namely, how live case studies might enable MBA students to better understand the element of co-opetition in their industry, while going through the interplay between theory and the practical application of theory over time. Also to be assessed is the choice of an incentive for the winning team and the overall effectiveness of doing so. The impact of this crucial elements on the course needs to be measured over a greater length of time.

Practical implications

Live case studies may be integrated into multiple courses, however, they require a lot of work on the part of the instructor, particularly when dealing with a company to negotiate an incentive and leverage the competitive environment. Setting up and maintaining relationships with collaborative corporate partners for the program takes significant time and effort, and the schedule of inputs into the students’ learning may not synchronize with the normal pattern of teaching. Whether this type of course can be sustained within a normal university environment is a moot point.

Social implications

While presentations were evaluated academically by the instructor, scholarships were offered to the winning team by the company using another set of criteria. Criteria for grading are readily available to students at the start of the course, as per the University Senate bylaws. However, criteria used by the corporate partner are not disclosed, not even to the instructor. In fact, for the Longo’s Brothers project, the winning team failed to receive the highest grade. The winning team received the third highest grade of all seven teams competing.

Originality/value

The element of co-opetition in a MBA classroom seems to elevate the quality of projects, but more evidence need to be gathered to reinforce this hypothesis. It is believed that university courses cannot fully negotiate the emotional turmoil or complexity that live case studies encompass with conventional models of evaluation.

Details

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-7003

Keywords

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