by Ely Jose Valencia
Posted on 2017-11-14 11:25:11
A capstone project is a multifaceted assignment that serves as a culminating academic and intellectual experience for students, typically during their final year of high school or middle school, or at the end of an academic program or learning-pathway experience. While similar in some ways to a college thesis, capstone projects may take a wide variety of forms, but most are long-term investigative projects that culminate in a final product, presentation or performance. Students are strongly encouraged to choose a topic in which they have some competence based on their academic work, professional experience, or exploration of future career options. The Capstone Project is both a valuable intellectual experience and also a vehicle through which students can demonstrate their research, analytical and writing skills to either prospective employers or graduate and professional schools.
Currently, students from St. Paul University Dumaguete who are taking up Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and are now at their end of the academic program are starting to work on their capstone project for the academic year 2017-2018. The entire IT students are working on one topic which is “Aquaponics-focused Decision Support System for the Calo Farm” and is supported by the Department of Science and Technology. Considering that the students are working only on one topic, they are divided into two groups which is the web-based and the mobile group.
Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. The fish waste provides an organic food source for the plants, and the plants naturally filter the water for the fish. Mr. Alexander Baena, a biologist and one of the advisers of the project met the whole group and discussed on what should be done. He stated that we will focus on one area at a time in response to the concern of a student regarding topics being too broad. Mrs. Grace Alejado, MIT, the capstone project mentor, also agreed with Mr. Baena’s idea since we still lack the sufficient knowledge and experience in working on sensors. She also mentioned that workshops are already prepared and scheduled to address this need.
The IT students are now on the move with their project and started to work on some parts such as searching for sensors needed, the scope of their project, user interface and more. Capstone projects are generally designed to encourage students to think critically, solve challenging problems, and develop skills such as oral communication, public speaking, research skills, media literacy, teamwork, planning, self-sufficiency and goal setting. However, even if the students are now on the move, anxiety, apprehensions and low self-esteem are written all over their faces which made our mentor wonder if they would be able to finish the project before graduation.
The mentor, however, have faith and confidence on the students and assured them that she will do her best to help out for the project to be realized.