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Office of Assessment for Curricular Effectiveness Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement

Integrative Capstone Assignment Design

Given their position near the end of the curriculum, capstone (or culminating) experiences typically carry a strong responsibility for evidence of student achievement of program learning outcomes. At WSU, capstone (or culminating) courses for the major may or may not carry Integrative Capstone [CAPS] designation for UCORE (WSU’s general education program). See the toolkit below for more information.

Integrative capstone assignments – or similar culminating experiences for seniors – weave together students’ undergraduate educational experiences in the major (or in general education) and offer opportunities for integration, application, and closure to the baccalaureate experience. These types of assignments and projects provide students with opportunities to integrate the various elements of their learning, making connections across courses, between the major and general education, and between academic coursework and work, citizenship, and personal life. Integrative capstone experiences may also foster transition to employment, career preparation, or graduate education.

Integrative learning is a significant undertaking and requires faculty to create intentional settings, projects, and occasions. Well-designed integrative capstone assignments ask students to:

  • Integrate and extend prior learning
  • Grapple with authentic, contextualized experiences and challenging, complex scenarios
  • Actively apply independence and agency, in order to synthesize their learning
  • Apply critical inquiry and creativity

For information about the May 2016 Designing Senior-level Culminating Assignments that Help Students Integrate their Learning workshop with Dr. Patricia Hutchings, see our news blog.

Integrative Capstone Assignment Design Toolkit

The resources below are intended to help faculty and programs seeking to design or refine a capstone or senior culminating assignment to more effectively support student learning. ACE is available to collaborate with undergraduate degree programs and faculty to design or refine assignments for learning outcomes assessment; contact us for additional information.

Sort by Type, Author, or Title to find what you need.

TypeAuthorTitleDescription
Quick GuideACE - WSUDesigning Capstone ExperiencesPDF resource with information about designing capstone experiences
ExamplesVariousDQP Assignment LibraryWebsite with an online library of peer reviewed collegiate-level course assignments in a wide variety of academic disciplines, searchable by discipline, assignment characteristic (including Capstone), DQP proficiency and level
UCORE Integrative Capstones [CAPS] RequirementsUCORE - WSUUCORE Integrative Capstones [CAPS] RequirementsFor programs also considering UCORE designation for their capstone or culminating course: Webpage that outlines content and assessment requirements for UCORE-designated Integrative Capstone [CAPS] courses at WSU

Additional Resources and Scholarship

Articles

Fink, L. (2003). Integrated Course Design (Idea Paper #42). Manhattan, KS: The IDEA Center.

Grose, A. (2017). Internships, Integrative Learning and the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) (Occasional Paper #30). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

Huber, M. & Hutchings, P. (2004). Integrative Learning: Mapping the Terrain. Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).

Hutchings, P. (2016). Aligning Educational Outcomes and Practices (Occasional Paper #26). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

Kelly, R. (2009). Capstone Courses Prepare Students for Transition to Working World. Faculty Focus.

Kinzie, J. (2013). Taking Stock of Capstones and Integrative Learning. AAC&U Peer Review. 15 (4).

Weimer, M. (2013). Capstone Courses Vary in Terms of Goals, Objectives, Structures and Assignments. Faculty Focus.

Books

Note: Please contact ACE to borrow a book.

Barkley, E. & Major, C. (2016). Learning Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Hauhart, R. & Grahe, J. (2014). Designing and Teaching Undergraduate Capstone Courses. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Other

University of Hawaii at Manoa Assessment and Curriculum Support Center. How To: Develop a Capstone Website.