Capstone offers unique freedom to students that leads to change

Mack Gowan, Staff Writer

Students looking to spend a semester investigating and taking action on a topic of their choice may be interested in taking one of many capstone courses offered at Central. Each capstone course is focused in a different subject area.

Social studies teacher Seth Brady currently teaches the Humanities Capstone class.

“Students have to create a compelling question related to an issue that is actionable and if done through Global Scholar, set in this specific global context,” Brady said.

Students spend the semester creating an artifact, which is a solution to a problem that they spend the semester researching.

“[Students] typically do a fairly traditional research process to understand that question using databases,” Brady said. “As a part of that process, students also need to connect with two on-the-ground experts who are familiar with both the issue and the context.”

These on-the-ground experts also help to review students’ artifacts before they are put into action.

“Anybody who [takes capstone] in pursuit of the Illinois Global Scholar certificate must take measurable action to affect change,” Brady said. “There’s students who have ended up passing laws in Illinois like the media literacy laws, [which started in] capstone.”

The semester-long course is built to bring students’ best work out through their artifacts.

“The course is one project broken down into individual checkpoints. Those checkpoints are evaluated iteratively, so students get feedback, make improvements [and] get more feedback,” Brady said. “It’s a course where all work is until mastery. There are basically no grades that cannot be changed throughout.”

There are virtually no limitations for what a student can do for their capstone project.

“Students are only limited by their own interests, their creativity to create an artifact, the amount of time that they have to address that issue and the resources they have,” Brady said.“In its design, from the get go, it is not one more opportunity for just high achieving students. [Capstone] is designed to be accessible for all students.”

There are many different types of capstone projects one can do, one of which is the Illinois Global Scholar (IGS) capstone. Students taking IGS Capstone are required to have an action output, while other students can just complete a more traditional research project.