Volume 7

Volume 7, Number 17

March 31, 2009

24 pages2469 K bytes

The Pedagogy of Utilizing Lengthy and Multifaceted Projects in Capstone Experiences

Shohreh Hashemi
University of Houston-Downtown
Houston, Texas 77002 USA

Gail Kellersberger
University of Houston-Downtown
Houston, Texas 77002 USA

Abstract: In a capstone senior project course, the majority of project proposals approved by Computer Information Systems (CIS) faculty have a limited life span that does not exceed the period of a semester or in some case two consecutive semesters. There are excellent reasons for such choices, but the result leaves a large area of real-life experience unexplored by students who are about to step into the working world of IT -- and that is the experience of working with already established, complex systems that require maintenance, refinement, and troubleshooting. Success on the job in such a situation requires the ability to analyze and fully understand a complex system in all of its interrelationships. For students, such skill can only come through grappling with an established behemoth which is in need of tweaking. The students, charged with smaller projects within the larger system must comprehend all aspects of the system in order to create and implement, without negative effects, their project. Such experience is hard to come by, yet can be accommodated through capstone experience when an IS faculty can plan a longer time-spanned, complex project with a patient user and develop a pedagogy for such an unusual project. This paper presents a methodology through which the IS faculty can achieve this end. To illustrate the various aspects of the approach, an 8-year project involving the creation of a complex database is presented, with examples of how new students manipulated the project and interacted with previous students to maintain continuity and further the system to its final completion.

Keywords: Capstone Project, Information Systems Project, Multifaceted Projects, Computer Information Systems, Internships, Project Management, Senior Projects, Systems Analysis and Design

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Recommended Citation: Hashemi and Kellersberger (2009). The Pedagogy of Utilizing Lengthy and Multifaceted Projects in Capstone Experiences. Information Systems Education Journal, 7 (17). http://isedj.org/7/17/. ISSN: 1545-679X. (A preliminary version appears in The Proceedings of ISECON 2008: §2534. ISSN: 1542-7382.)