Capstone curriculum is of increasing importance in Australia as a locus of assessing discipline threshold standards and AQF levels. However, capstone curriculum is extraordinarily diverse and increasingly must meet an array of student, institutional and sector needs, including the threshold standards. This creates enormous complexity for curriculum designers in designing, managing and assessing effective capstone curriculum. Recent reviews of capstone use in Australia suggest that there are common curricula features, benefits and challenges in capstone delivery. There are also common questions around scalability and course structures, effective models for student transition, meeting student needs and levels of preparedness, and imperatives such as employability and graduate capabilities.
This Special Interest Group will provide an opportunity for those involved or interested in capstone design and delivery to share questions, ideas and resources, and to explore solutions to common and unusual challenges. These might relate to:
- The place of capstones in complex course structures, and how this impacts timing and scope of the experience, as well as their effectiveness as sources of benchmarking data
- How capstone staff have navigated the myriad of capstone purposes and outcomes in their discipline, course and institutional context
- What it means to ‘teach’ in a capstone, and how this is supported by the institution, the course, and peers
- Alternatives and innovations in capstone design, their benefits, challenges and outcomes for staff and students
This session will focus on key questions and ideas raised by members, supported by the National Senior Teaching Fellow, with the aim of developing a Community of Practice for staff from a diverse range of discipline, course and institutional contexts.
Associate Professor Nicolette Lee
Nicolette Lee is the Office for Learning and Teaching National Senior Teaching Fellow for Capstones Across Disciplines, and the Executive Director Learning & Teaching.at Victoria University, Melbourne. Associate Professor Lee has held a number of senior academic positions including Acting PVC L&T and Associate Professor Tertiary Education Research, and as Academic Director of Swinburne Professional Learning at Swinburne University of Technology. She has also been an Associate Dean (Academic) and a lecturer in design. Over the past decade she has designed and taught several discipline-based and interdisciplinary capstones, and been involved in the development of many more across disciplines as diverse as health and social sciences, philosophy, business and IT. She has substantial experience in teaching and leading university-wide change projects, including institution-wide curriculum and technology renewal. She is also a member of the editorial board for the Journal of the First Year Experience and Students in Transition.
Professor Jon Grahe
Jon Grahe is a Professor of psychology at Pacific Lutheran University with a Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from the University of Toledo. With Robert Hauhart, he has carried out a number of studies on capstones, including regional and national surveys in the US. Some of this research has recently been published as a book: “Designing and Teaching Undergraduate Capstone Courses”. Jon is also currently the President-Elect of Psi Chi, an Executive Editor for the Journal of Social Psychology and a Councillor for the Psychology Division of the Council for Undergraduate Research.