I’ve taught for 20 years in academia.
I’ve been a teaching assistant, an adjunct instructor, a lecturer with benefits, and a program director.
I’ve taught courses with syllabi developed by others. I’ve developed my own syllabi for courses with objectives and nothing else. I’ve identified and created my own courses from nothing to fit inside of a degree program. I’ve created the entire degree program.
I’ve mentored maybe 200 students over the course of this time through some type of capstone or thesis project. These are the big projects that students create at the end of their degree program that synthesize everything they’ve learned into a portfolio-worthy project. Most of my mentees were graduate students.
Some of those students had a clear vision of what they wanted in life. Others went to grad school to “learn more about computers.”
When it came time for capstone, everything changed. The style of teaching, the expectations of students and instructors, the work, the overwhelm, the self-doubt, and the joy of completion were always part of the journey.
Over the next several posts, I will identify a few common themes that ran through nearly every capston project I advised. We’ll start here, with one of my favorite capstone cartoons. Every student experienced this somewhere along the way.