Capstone Courses: A Look Into Senior Seminar

By: Chloe Gamber, Head Academic Writer

Photos collected by Phoebe McCutcheon and Chloe Gamber

Senior Seminar courses are a subject all students will face during their final days at McKendree. These courses are different from the rest and give great insight to research that can be used throughout each student’s career. Students should realize that these courses are one of the most beneficial experiences they will have while in their undergraduate program. Having a unique experience through personalized projects is a key factor within these courses. Senior Seminar implements all that was learned up to this point in the students’ time at McKendree. 

Looking at the Computing department, the Senior Seminar is being taught by Professor Mostafa, who is the head chair of the computing department. Professor Mostafa has the students use technologies and languages learned in the Computer Science program to develop through research in order to create a project or research paper. The first couple of weeks in the course is when the students are given time to brainstorm ideas. 

Brainstorming for a final project can be very stressful. There are many factors that need to be put in place during this time of reflection – considering how you can grow through certain research is a great start. Brainstorming what you can expand on throughout a semester and making it enjoyable is a great way to generate ideas. It also helps to have passion in your work when it comes to long term career choices – if passion is lost, then the rest also falls apart. Moving through school and life without true enjoyment in your work is a waste of time and effort: this is why these courses allow students to come up with what they feel is interesting. Creating a project that involves students’ own interests will allow them to gain even more passion and excitement for their work!

Jason Hurley is one of the many students who has chosen a project that revolves around writing a program. Jason’s program implements the tracking of someone’s “favorite Star Wars character through pulling from an open-source database of characters.” Jason does this through a backend server where multiple languages are used for database management. He is also gaining experience through using frontend for users to see. Jason overall has a great grasp of the concepts being used within this course and claims, “Not only do we get to learn things about ourselves and our projects, but also what other students are working on!”

Kenny Glidden, a Computational Science major, is also a unique student who has developed a personalized project for this course. Kenny developed his skills through programming along with his love for music. Kenny is creating an audio plug-in, which is “a program that takes input from a computer and turns it into a sound.” Writing this program in the correct manner is something Kenny has been revolving around for this process to work. Programming languages are a constant learning journey and creating your own work through such diverse languages is something computing students experience even after college. 

Sharing these creations with one another is another special way this course helps students; through Sharepoint, the students experience one another’s ideas and thought processes for each project. This helps set students up for success through involvement with one another and with one’s own ideas, which is implemented in businesses and organizations. Both students have expressed the excitement they have when it comes to viewing other projects in the course. It is truly amazing how the students at McKendree want to see one other grow through their senior projects!

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