Wednesday, December 16, 2015
December 16, 2015: Semester Recaps: Interdisciplinary Studies Capstone
[With this week’s final papers and exams comes the end of another semester at Fitchburg State University, and with it a series of semester recap posts, this time focused on inspiring student work and ideas! Please share your own semester reflections in comments, and/or your spring plans and goals leading up to a predictive weekend post!]
As I highlighted in my fall preview post, the IDIS majors in my Capstone course spent the semester working on their Capstone Projects, culminating work where they combine their multiple disciplines of study to produce an in-depth investigation or idea of their own. Here are three of the resulting projects, each of which give me hope for the future in both specific and general ways:
1) A Safer Cap: One of the more interesting but challenging combinations faced the student whose disciplines were Exercise & Sports Science, Business, and Computer Science. He came up with a really interesting multi-layered project, an investigation into current safety measures in baseball caps (not batting helmets, but the caps worn by players in the field) complemented by a proposal for a new, safer such cap to help prevent concussions and head injuries (especially for younger players). There are few more significant issues facing our young people than head injuries in youth sports, and whether this particular proposal can come to fruition, I’m certainly confident that this student will contribute to that evolving conversation in meaningful ways in the years ahead.
2) An ASL Plan: Two of the most common disciplines among the students in this Capstone section were Psychology and Education, but each student found unique and individualized ways to link those disciplines and their other interests and develop projects as a result. Perhaps the most inspiring was this project, in which a student combined those disciplines with her interests in Disability Studies and Deaf Studies to create a multi-part proposal for educational, treatment, and American Sign Language plans (both within classrooms and in the home) for deaf students and their families. This student is hoping to pursue these interests in graduate school and in a career beyond, and her project reflects just how much she’ll be bringing to that vital work.
3) An Inspiring Montage: Getting the chance to work with students with all these different disciplinary experiences and interests was a wonderful part of teaching the IDIS Capstone, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I was very glad that one of the 11 students combined Art, English Studies, and History in a very AmericanStudies-like project. And a literally inspiring one, as she created both a tumblr page and an art project assembling inspiring quotes and voices from both literature and history that had influenced her own perspective and growth. This may have been the project that was closest to what I might have created if I took this class, but I found it most inspiring because, like so many of its counterparts in the course, it demonstrated how much these students will bring to their next steps and futures.
Next recap tomorrow,
PS. What do you think? Other reflections or predictions you’d share?