Capstone Bootcamp Concept Catalyzing Problem-Based Learning

Capstone Bootcamp Concept Catalyzing Problem-Based Learning

X. Guo, V. Taajamaa, K. Yang, T. Westerlund, L. Zheng, H. Tenhunen, et al (2015).  Capstone Bootcamp Concept Catalyzing Problem-Based Learning. 14.

Changing from a traditional classroom and lecture based teaching mode to a CDIO based engineering education is not easy for either teachers or students. The aim of this paper is to examine how students comprehend the change by letting them to design their own Capstone projects. Comprehending students’ mindset helps teachers to understand students’ project interests when choosing or designing Capstone projects. The paper will also discuss coaching methods, cultural issues and the role of the active learning environment. The active learning environment spawns high level satisfaction in learning methods and learning outcomes among the students as stated in the CDIO standard 8.

Students designed their own Capstone project in a Capstone Bootcamp. The Capstone Bootcamp was a one-week introductory course as part of a mandatory Capstone Project. One of its aims was to eliminate students’ confusion about “Capstone”, get them aligned in a new environment, and help them quickly find their roles when doing a Capstone project in the coming autumn semester. This one-week course was specifically designed for the Double Degree Programme in ICT between University of Turku (UTU), Finland and Fudan University (FDU), China. The course was intensively organized from morning to night by lectures, discussions, team work and team building activities, prototyping, group and individual presentations, peer assessment and coaches’ comment. The Capstone Bootcamp ended with a final task: “Designing a Capstone Project by Yourselves”. The final task integrated all they learnt during the week. The Capstone Bootcamp was held in Seili which is an isolated island in the Finnish archipelago.

The data was gathered from qualitative interviews of students before and after the Capstone Bootcamp. Analysis of the data is done based on the grounded theory method in order to highlight the emerging phenomena from the data. All the 16 Chinese students from the Double Degree Programme were part of the data set. According to the initial analysis, the Capstone Bootcamp was able to catalyze the understanding of problem-based learning methods, the importance of reflective learning and the importance of participatory teamwork in ambiguous and open-ended project settings. However, more emphasis needs to be put into communicating the rationale and pedagogic aim of each exercise before, during and after a Bootcamp course. When changing a position from a learner to a teacher, students got a strong motivation and clarified their own learning methods. By applying problem-based learning, design thinking, and prototyping theories in designing the whole Capstone process, students were able to answer themselves why a Capstone project is a necessary and important component of their studies. The Capstone Bootcamp is expected to become a regular course in the Double Degree Programme, which, naturally, requires us to elaborate the Capstone Bootcamp concept to fit a normal course while retaining its intrinsic parts. Its function in a Capstone Project is the same as an introductory course in a whole programme introduced in the CDIO standard 4.

Proceedings of the 11th International CDIO Conference, Chengdu, China, June 8-11 2015

Authors (New): 
Xing Guo
Ville Taajamaa
Kun Yang
Tomi Westerlund
Li-Rong Zheng
Hannu Tenhunen
Tapio Salakoski
University of Turku, Turku, Finland
Fudan University, China
Problem-based learning
design thinking
Capstone Project
CDIO Standard 1
CDIO Standard 2
CDIO Standard 3
CDIO standard 4
CDIO Standard 7
CDIO Standard 8
CDIO Standard 11
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