May 5, 2016

What is a [kap-stohn]?

A noun meaning:

1. a finishing stone of a structure.
2. the crowning achievement, point, element, or event.

Summary

The capstone project is the finishing achievement of the Translational Research program.  It is the mechanism through which students are able to explore and execute their own learning objectives and goals.  Although the experiential learning activity is packaged in the context of a ‘course’ it is really a student directed mentored experience that is intended to show the challenges and opportunities of translational research through translational thinking.

What:

There is a range of possible experiential learning activities that may be considered to fulfill the Capstone.  The criteria are intentionally broad and flexible, however, a capstone project must (i) attempt to improve health by moving existing knowledge forward to address a need, and (ii) provide opportunities for students to demonstrate program learning outcomes based on research and interaction and not on anecdotal or abstract knowledge.

Capstone projects are intended to be student-driven to allow engagement and deep learning from experience, reflection, abstraction and testing of concepts.  Projects are supported and facilitated by TRP faculty, Course Director(s) and a Project Oversight Committee to ensure intellectual rigor and successful learning outcomes.

How:

The TRP capstone project process is comprised of eight components:

  1. Get started: establish your capstone team.
  2. Identify a need: this must be based on direct engagement with people and patients using appropriate methodologies.
  3. Proposal: state the need as a problem and articulate a plan to address the problem.
  4. Proposal Assessment: a formal review of the proposed plan and deliverables
  5. Project and reflection: execute plan and reflect on process
  6. Review: Group Critiques, Milestone reports and Committee meetings
  7. Presentation: Final project team presentation and individual oral assessment
  8. Final Reflection: Written individual assessment of learning and knowledge production

Why:

By completing this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand the importance of relationships and network building;
  • Actively promote and strengthen cross disciplinary research partnerships;
  • Apply and describe the translational research techniques and skills that lead to successful project outcomes;
  • Determine when and under which circumstances to apply specific problem solving techniques;
  • Understand the importance of reflection and the ability to determine and describe their own personal goals, motivations, and ways of working individually and within teams;
  • Engage with the emerging literature exploring translational research;
  • Explain the role of translational research in health care and demonstrate effective communication both orally and in writing;
  • Recognize and describe the potential role Translational Thinking plays in health and care;
  • Put into practice effectively working on multiple project teams and as a team member, and a project lead;
  • Explain and interpret the social dynamics of collaboration and teamwork;
  • Apply one or more of the fundamental tools of Translational Research, including a knowledge of intellectual property, funding, regulatory agencies, related legal and ethical issues, and appropriate communication strategies.

Students MUST be able to clearly articulate (in their reflections) the skills and knowledge learned as part of their Capstone Projects to successfully complete the course.