Your Capstone Project
Video: HPL’s co-director Jaime King talks about current students’ Capstone Projects and the varied topics these projects can take. She also recounts how students are paired with mentors and have access to numerous sources to bring their Capstone Project to life and implementation.
Capstone projects can take a range of forms depending on your interest and the particular project chosen. For instance, you may choose to conduct a 50-state survey on price-transparency laws, write a policy brief on the most effective balanced billing legislation, or draft a white paper analyzing the research on the effectiveness of shared decision-making interventions. Get thinking about a capstone idea.
You may work alone or with other students in the program on a larger project under the guidance of a single mentor. Professors Jaime King and Dan Dohan actively encourage you and capstone mentors to be creative in project design and implementation, and will oversee the project selection and design process.
Most of the capstone activities planned during the HPL seminar will occur via student participation in faculty-facilitated Works in Progress (WIP) sessions. WIP will include both synchronous (chat room discussion moderated by faculty and teaching assistants) and asynchronous (comment posting by students, faculty, capstone mentors and course facilitators) learning modalities. Peer review and commentary is a central aspect of the WIP as this is a way for you to learn how to understand and provide constructive criticism to diverse audiences.
HPL faculty participate in and guide the WIPs in order to model appropriate feedback. Capstone Project development will occur in three phases:
- Capstone Proposal (Q2)
- Capstone Project Execution (Q3)
- Capstone Write Up (Q4)
Step 1: Capstone Proposal
During Q2, you will receive instruction and guidance on identifying a capstone project, selecting a capstone mentor, and writing and defending a capstone proposal. In this quarter, the HPL Seminar focuses on ensuring that you develop a capstone project that reflects the degree’s multidisciplinary perspectives and offers a compelling question or problem of your own devising.
In the first eight weeks of the quarter, faculty and capstone mentors provide guidance as you review and discuss ideas for capstone areas, topics and mentors. During these discussions, you receive feedback so that you can narrow the focus for your capstone project.
During WIP sessions, you hone competencies related to interdisciplinary collaboration and stakeholder engagement. Faculty provides prompts and exemplars that guide your discussions and writing assignments as you develop the capstone idea. This includes:
- overview of the capstone problem/issue
- capstone proposal and mentors
- procedures or activities to be undertaken during the capstone project
- expected results of the capstone project
- anticipated challenges and approaches for addressing those challenges.
During the final three weeks, the focus of the capstone proposal process shifts to developing and refining the capstone proposal, including fully developing your capstone plan essays.
Following week 18, you will submit draft plans to mentors and to student peers and receive comments during WIP sessions. During the final week, you show how you have integrated feedback on the capstone plan and faculty will provide a summative assessment of your capstone project plan.
Step 2: Capstone Project Execution
During WIP sessions in Q3 of the HPL Seminar, you discuss project progress with your peers and receive feedback on how to address or overcome challenges you face in executing your project plan. In addition, you will provide feedback to your peers, allowing you to learn more about the problems or issues your peers are working on. During Q3, you will have two opportunities to present progress reports to ensure that everything is on track.
Step 3: Capstone Write Up
During the final quarter of the HPL seminar, you complete execution of your capstone project and turn your attention to reporting on the results in ways that are meaningful for the interdisciplinary HPL audience, as well as for all stakeholders involved in the project. You will present preliminary reports and presentations of the project for feedback. The final report and final capstone presentation represent the final summative evaluation of your success at meeting the capstone project objectives.