The National Senior Teaching Fellowship was funded by the Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT), Australia. This fellowship focused on capstone curriculum particularly as it applies to undergraduate education.
In the Australian context, growing interest in mechanisms for benchmarking and assessing the quality of programs, along with concerns regarding the employability of graduates, has led to increasing interest in the potential of capstone curriculum. At the commencement of the program, this potential was relatively unexplored, and both research and tools were needed to support staff in the implementation of capstone experiences.
Drawing on prior studies of capstone subjects, the fellowship program involved a range of network and research activities concerned with four central questions:
- What is the range of capstone models in use across the sector?
- What are the key characteristics and dimensions of the capstone curriculum?
- What challenges do academic staff face in reconciling capstone innovation with policy and standards expectations?
- What tools or resources are needed by staff to support curriculum design?
The fellowship program was designed to draw on prior research, as well as the expertise of staff who deliver capstone curriculum, in order to provide theoretically-informed but practically-oriented tools and resources to support capstone implementation in a range of contexts. The three primary long-term outcomes of the fellowship program incorporate:
- Improved understanding of the multiple capstone models across the sector, and their particular benefits and challenges
- Informed policy development that is inclusive of non-traditional and innovative capstone project models
- Increased capacity of academic staff and program designers to purposefully engage with a repertoire of capstone approaches, methods and topics
The fellowship deliverables were designed to support these intended outcomes, and include:
- Tools and decision-making guides for capstone design
- A range of case study examples of capstone curriculum
- Descriptions of research findings and recommendations for institutions and policy-makers
- Dissemination through the website, workshops and networks
You can download the Fellowship achievements statement/infographic here.