Capstones 101

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Written by Jordan Levy

Jordan Levy, CapSource Co-Founder, was recently featured on a panel at the 2024 Capstone Design Conference at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The panel was facilitated by Elizabeth DeBartolo of RIT and featured colleagues Robert Hart from UT Dallas and Susannah Howe from Smith College


What an exciting and interactive panel!  where we explored critical aspects of capstone project design and execution. 


CapSource has been honored to help design and scale thousands of capstone experiences as well as many other varieties of industry-integrated project-based learning programs (like Live Case Competitions, Co-Ops, Internships, and more!) 


Since we enjoyed the discussion so much, we wanted to share a summary with our network in case you too are eager to set up this type of high-impact learning programs for your students in the future…


– Find Good Industry Partners: Utilize specialized third parties or campus resources such as career services and alumni networks to connect with potential sponsors. Clear project descriptions are essential for aligning expectations.


– Design Good Projets: Scaffold the project so it sets a strong tone and provides structure without the need for micromanaging along the way. Give students the flexibility to ask questions and define their milestones, promoting independent problem-solving.


– Prepare your Students: Set clear expectations for students at the start. Emphasize the importance of taking the project seriously and explain the differences from traditional coursework. Consider offering pre-capstone projects like Live Cases to ensure students are ready to take the wheel for their real capstone!


– Prepare your Mentors: Provide training sessions for mentors, including best practices for guiding student teams. Pair new mentors with experienced ones or alumni.


– Structure the Course: Include design reviews, regular deliverables, final reports, and presentations. Adapt the structure based on feedback from industry partners.


– Keep a Close Eye on Projects: Design a process to intake projects and establish clear milestones to guide the project from the beginning. Regular progress reports and client check-ins help keep projects on track.


– Be Flexible and Adaptable: Allow flexibility in project deadlines and deliverables, accommodating necessary rescoping or iterations.


– Track Engagement: Set expectations for meeting frequency with clients and mentors. Weekly progress reports should be shared with all stakeholders to maintain transparency.

CapSource Can Help!

CapSource specializes in optimizing project-based experiential learning programs, such as capstones, by providing robust tools and resources, including


1. Project Sourcing Support: CapSource offers an easy design for onboarding industry partners and scoping projects. We also offer a matchmaking service to help you identify prospective partners that meet your teaching goals, including partner requirements, project requirements, and timeline.


2. Project Design Support: Tailor projects to specific course objectives, aligning academic goals with industry needs.


3. Time & Task Tracking: Leverage our project management tools to track student engagement and project progress. Identify where students are spending time and evaluate their next priorities.


4. Track Skill Development: Help students develop critical skills like problem-solving, teamwork, and communication through hands-on projects.


5. Collect Feedback: Implement 360 evaluations and feedback loops to ensure continuous improvement and alignment with project goals.


6. Archive Results: Store and leverage old projects to solidify your program. Secure new partners even more easily in the future.


7. Badge & Credential: Enhance employability by giving students practical experience that makes them competitive in the job market.


Ready to connect your students with actual business challenges to apply their theoretical knowledge in practical settings? Discover more ways our platform helps to optimize and scale project-based industry-integrated learning programs!


Leveraging CapSource’s platform, thousands of educators from all over the world are collaborating with industry organizations and leaders and creating dynamic, engaging learning environments that prepare students for the complexities of the modern workforce. Are you ready to get started? Register today for free and begin exploring how you can make education more impactful and exciting!

Ready to get started? Register today and explore our platform capabilities for free!


Please join the conversation:  We would love your input! What are your experiences, challenges, and goals? Join us over the next few weeks in this blog as we explore these points and share experiences and perspectives from participants or register today and begin exploring CapSource’s free version to get started.