Linking Active Learning and Capstone Projects in Higher Education
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This chapter reviews the results of a multi-year experience running a capstone project in a bachelor’s degree program in computer science, at the University of Padua, Italy, designed and implemented using interactive learning methods. As part of that initiative, we explore how interactive practices such as cooperative learning and problem-based learning—components of the active learning framework—help foster more engaging and meaningful learning experiences for students, geared toward the development of personal employability and faster work transition. The evidence collected suggests that capstone projects form a natural and productive context for the successful deployment of interactive learning methods.
This chapter highlights the positive role played by capstone projects in higher education and the relation that they have with the theoretical background of active learning. As part of that, we discuss the challenges encountered in gracefully embedding a capstone project in a bachelor-level curriculum, we provide a quantitative evaluation of the results obtained over several years of operation, and finally we distil some lessons learned on key aspects of this project, with the intention of facilitating adoption in other organizations.
KeywordsCapstone projects Active learning Collaborative learning Problem-based learning
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