Fall ’16 Brings Changes to Capstone

The Comm Department is changing the format of the required Capstone class beginning Fall 2016. What was once a 3-credit course has now been split into 2 courses, a 1-credit COMM 451 Capstone Research class and a 2-credit COMM 461 Senior Capstone class. COMM 451 must be taken before COMM 461.

Why did you split the class into two parts?

Years of experience have shown us that students feel pressed for time to complete their Capstone projects in one semester. There simply isn’t time to research, plan and execute a quality project in 15 short weeks. Honors students are already following this format at Shepherd with good results.

What will happen in each class?

In COMM 451 Capstone Research students will spend time researching their subject matter and planning for the actual project. For example, a filmmaking concentration student wanting to make a short film might spend time researching the films of Bergman and delving into Apparatus Theory. The student would also scout locations for the film, and audition actors. A production schedule would be developed.

COMM 461 Senior Capstone has students actually executing their visions. Our filmmaking student would hit the ground running week 1 with filming, following the production schedule created in 451. You will still work throughout the two semesters with a Faculty Director.

Why are you making us do more work?

We’re not. We’re simply giving more time to do a good job. This is a decision we made with considerable thought. In fact, we polled alumni of the class and out of 28 respondents, 25 felt splitting the class was a good idea.

Will this mess up my December 2016 graduation plans?

It won’t. Here are possible scenarios you can work through with your advisor if you plan to graduate in December 2016:

  • You can sign up for only the 2-credit COMM 461 class if you don’t need the extra 1 credit to make up the 120 credits needed to graduate.
  • If you need three credits of Capstone to graduate with 120 credits we can give you an override to take 451 and 461 concurrently this fall.
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