Today, students worked on the capstone project (INTA4744 Global Development Capstone). The beginning of the class, Vince-sensei gave some guidelines on the project. After that, each group was forming a circle and holding a discussion as necessary. Towards the end of class, some groups were writing down how they would work on their projects from now until day of presentation and how tasks (conducting a research, writing a paper, designing a presentation slides etc) would need to be distributed among group members.
Since I was asked by a few people about Capstone, I would like to use today’s blog to give some introductions about Capstone project in general, and more details on what JSPSD2018 Capstone is about.
A capstone project, in general, means “a multifaceted assignment that serves as a culminating academic and intellectual experience for students”*1.
It is typically a long-term project and usually takes place towards the end of learning process (i.e. final year of university), as students are expected to apply the knowledge and skills that they had been built up. Due to the complexity of the topic/problem of the project, students would need to investigate issues across many disciplines and develop on top of their knowledge. By doing so, students are encouraged “to think critically, solve challenging problems, and develop skills such as oral communication, public speaking, research skills, media literacy, teamwork, planning, self-sufficiency, or goal setting and more.”*1 Depending on the system of the school or how the course is structured, students would either choose their own topic and groups, or would be assigned the topic and groups.
For example, Georgia Tech has a course called Capstone design which is offered to undergraduate students in several disciplines. Every year, there is an expo where groups from different disciplines get together and showcase their projects to public.*2
For JSPSD2018 capstone project, students were free to choose whatever the topic they wanted to work on and make their own group. The only requirement was to have at least one Tokyo Tech student and one Georgia Tech student in a group.
Throughout JSPSD2018, students have learned different approaches to assess problems and solve issues. Having “sustainability” as a backbone, they have looked at different theories and models in multi-national multi-discipline classroom. Field-trip to Kyoto, Hiroshima, Kanazawa, Nagoya and Hiroshima gave them opportunities to relate what they have studied in the classroom into a real-world context. Therefore, for the purpose of this course, the students are encouraged to apply materials they learned from the lecture and field-trip into their Capstone project.
In this JSPSD2018, there are students from the US, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Mongolia, and Pakistan, and they are studying Industrial design, Mechanical Engineering, Trans-disciplinary Engineering, Environmental Engineering, International Affairs, Public Policy and more. The fact that they are all studying together in Japan intensively during this summer has been creating an interesting team dynamics. Throughout the JSPSD2018, I personally have been fascinated by how such JSPSD diversity brings creativity into their projects, and I am looking forward to seeing more of these unique ideas from their Capstone project.
I hope today’s blog clears out what we have been working on in the past few weeks, and you are excited as I am to see how students will develop their ideas and consolidate them into the final presentation!
1: Capstone project, the Glossary of Education Reform., retrieved from https://www.edglossary.org/capstone-project/
2: Georgia Tech Capstone Design Expo., retrieved from http://capstone.gatech.edu/expo/
Written by Kanaha Shoji
Georgia Tech Graduate (2018) in Environmental Engineering, working as a research assistant for JSPSD2018