Choosing a Topic

First: Your capstone will have a main focus of (1) web and mobile applications (2) animation, film, or virtual reality, (3) instructional design, or (4) emerging media and technology. Whatever main focus you choose, you must have at least 2 courses completed in that area of interest before the capstone tutorial.

Second, think about real-world problems that can be solved by technology, i.e. a website, video or a device. You'll be asked to make a case as to why your project is important during the proposal stage, so consider this now, during the early brainstorming stage. Why is this project worthy of your time and effort? Are you solving an important problem? A problem that needs solving? If you are considering a film, who is the audience? What is the larger message? Why do people need to know about this subject? You will also need to identify an independent person not connected with HES who is knowledgeable about the product you are trying to build, and is willing to test it and give you feedback (contact Dr. Wang if you have not identified someone yet). You need to have a real-world client in mind for the project who can offer you feedback.

Third, think about how the topic can be meaningful to you in terms of your learning goals and career aspirations. Ask yourself the questions listed below. The questions have no right or wrong answers, and only you can answer them. Remember that you will be living with this project for at least six months, so you want to pick a topic that's interesting to you and will keep you engaged, but has a broader appeal. Since the capstone is a significant piece of work, why not have it do double duty--your final academic project for your degree and a portfolio piece or a case study for a new job.

  • What kind of new job, promotion, additional work responsibility or creative project do I want to do when I graduate? What do I still need to learn to take that next professional step?
  • What didn't I learn in my courses that I still want to learn? What do I want to learn more about? What kinds of classes did I enjoy, and what would hold my interest?
  • Where do I want to be in 5-10 years, and how will this capstone help me get there?
  • Is there a life after this project? If so, what is that life? Is this the launch of your business or a deliverable for a current or future client?
  • What is your plan for maintenance or is the project life done at the end of the semester?

Finally, for inspiration, review the list of Past Capstone Projects (see sidebar).