It is the time of year for seniors to showcase all they have learned throughout their educational experience with their senior capstone projects.
With the move to remote learning and the partial closure of the Dixie State University campus due to COVID-19, these projects have had to take a more creative approach, especially for those in the arts.
Senior capstone projects for integrated studies majors pose a particularly difficult challenge due to the wide variety of emphasis areas and ways to integrate disciplines.
Kortney Webb, a senior integrated studies major from Roy, is one example of how these changes impacted her senior project.
Originally, Webb planned a public performance at the Dolores Dore Eccles Fine Arts Center to showcase her integration between her two emphasis areas, theater and communication studies.
Her plan to make posters, present her research and perform her three written monologues has now moved to an entirely online presentation.
“At first I was disappointed because there was so much build up to this project and I was working on the memorization of my monologues and getting ready to start advertising,” Webb said. “Then, after the disappointment passed, I actually felt a bit of relief and peace because I didn’t have as much pressure on me besides figuring out a different way I could present, but I knew I could make it work.”
Mark Jeffreys, associate professor of interdisciplinary arts and sciences and integrated studies capstone adviser for Webb, said the move to online didn’t cause too much disruption outside of the changes made to student projects.
Jeffreys said communicating with students has helped lessen the impact of this change.
“I’m a text-centric humanoid, to be honest,” Jeffreys said. “I like reading and writing. … So, batting bits of writing back and forth through screens is just a more fluid, rapid and intuitive version of old-fashioned correspondence, which I also loved.”
On top of that, Jeffreys attributes project success to teamwork and self-motivation.
Jeffreys said, “The students do the real work, of course, while I only provide a bit of direction, editing and cheerleading, but there are moments when even that modest of a collaboration can feel like flying.”
Similarly, Chelsea McCracken, assistant professor of interdisciplinary arts and sciences, said the students who are struggling the most with the online change are those who do not have access to necessary equipment or other non-academic difficulties.
McCracken said these projects are used to give students an application tool for their future careers.
“We hope that students will be able to use their projects, either as a sample of written work for a grad school application, or as proof of job skills in order to advance in their chosen career,” McCracken said.