Capstones vary between majors

 Adam Kucera works on his computer science project about penny auctions that is part of his senior project class. — Jessie Hoyng/ TRUMPET

Adam Kucera works on his computer science project about penny auctions that is part of his senior project class. — Jessie Hoyng/ TRUMPET

A complete educational experience at Wartburg College, no matter what major, department or program of study, concludes in a capstone course and project.

Each department, however, has a slightly different approach to the capstone course and project before each student is allowed to graduate.

The art department, for example, focuses on creating a project in addition to reflective coursework.

However, some departments, like the computer science department, have two separate courses required for seniors.

One is the capstone course, in which topics such as the ethical, historical and social roots of computer science, also used in other majors, is discussed.

The other course is the senior project class, in which students create a final project that can ultimately be shared with potential employers.

“Because they’re doing a complete project, it naturally forces them to use their skills for project management, the skills of programming, and the problem solving techniques that they’ve been studying,” Dr. John Zelle, professor of computer science, said.

“They’re tackling ambitious problems, and those don’t get tackled unless they can bring those sorts of skills that can be used in the workplace.”

Adam Kucera is a senior computer science major.

For his project, he is writing a computer program that can collect data from penny auction websites, such as Quibids and Beezid, and analyze the data to visualize behaviors and trends in the online auction industry.

Kucera came up with the idea for the project when a friend of his tried and failed to win some items on an online auction site.

“I wanted to know if he was bad at the game, the game was rigged or if there was some other factor making the game more complicated,” Kucera said.

Zelle said that an important aspect of the capstone project is using many of the skills students have developed through their studies at Wartburg.

Students must also learn something new and implement that as a part of their project.

“The classes at Wartburg have really helped me understand how to attempt to approach the problem and organize a solution,” Kucera said.

While the computer science capstone and senior project are focused on creating a final project, some capstones, like the social work capstone, are more about getting experience in the field.

“We see this as a summary of their prior courses and application of our professional competencies in their practicum placements,” Dr. Tammy Faux, social work professor, said.

The social work senior seminar is taken concurrent with the 450-hour field experience required of all social work majors.

In the class, students discuss ethical dilemmas and analyze problems that could come up in the field.

They also write a final paper and do a presentation.

“Students competently use accepted professional models and tools to analyze and resolve ethical dilemmas in social work practice, demonstrating an appreciation for the fact that there may be more than one ethical approach to the resolution of any given problem,” Faux said.

Capstone and senior projects from a variety of majors and programs will be presented at RICE Day, April 10.

Visit http://www.wartburg.edu/rice/ for more information and a detailed schedule.

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