Capstone Sponsorship FAQ
What is expected of students in the Capstone course?
A: The Capstone course is a two-quarter sequence, starting in January and ending in June with a public poster display of the project results for all iSchool students. Students work individually or in teams (up to four in the graduate programs, or up to six in the undergraduate program). Students are expected to be the owners of their projects and manage the relationship with their sponsor, much as an independent consultant would.
Q: What is the sponsor commitment?
A: In general, the sponsor needs to make sure that students have access to the organizational resources and people that the students will need to be successful in the project. That could include access to internal computing systems, interview time with people working in the domain of study, access to documents or other information about processes or systems that are needed for the project, or ability to work with data related to the project. The students are expected to run the project, and can’t do it without organizational resources needed to complete the work.
As far as direct sponsor review of student product, assignments in the winter quarter guide the student teams through the project proposal and planning process. Students touch base with sponsors on the resulting project pieces to review and gain approval to make sure that both sides are on the same page. In the second quarter, the students and sponsor figure out what kind of check-in is useful; we recommend periodic touch points to make sure everyone knows where things are and so adjustments can be made. The course instructors check in with students on a weekly basis to make sure things are on track as well.
Q: I posted a Capstone project and got a student application. Now what?
A: We manage Capstone projects through our jobs database, iCareers. Sponsoring organizations can list as many projects as they want.
Students may contact you to learn more about a project, and can choose to apply for a Capstone project via iCareers. If a student is applying as a member of a team, each student in the team should submit an individual application along with a PDF of the team members’ combined resumes. Ideally the selection process will be a mutual interview, with the sponsor selecting the students that are the best fit, but there are many ways to accomplish this. Some sponsors will conduct actual interviews, others respond first come/first serve, others contact faculty for insight into the students that have applied.
Once the sponsors and students have agreed to move forward with a Capstone partnership, the sponsors should use the “extend offer” button in iCareers for each student on the team. This will generate a confirmation request for students so that the commitment is recorded and available to Capstone instructors.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: The majority of Capstone projects are unpaid, but students can be compensated if desired or necessary according to your organization’s policy. Since many of our students are on international student visas, it is best to check with the school on the best method for compensation if you decide to pay the students. There may be additional costs for Capstones requiring special faculty or school resources. For-profit entities sponsoring Capstone projects are encouraged to support the iSchool through a Premium iAffiliates membership (starts at $1,000), if funds allow.
Q: Who owns the IP?
A: It’s up to the students and the sponsor to sort out ownership of the intellectual property produced. The school/instructors/UW cannot be part of that discussion for legal reasons, though can certainly help sort through issues if necessary. The only requirement on the academic side is that the results of the project can be displayed publicly. However, it can be made generic if there's a need for protecting identities or specific findings.
Q: Do I need to provide students with a work location?
A: This is entirely up to the sponsor and the nature of the project. Where onsite access to internal systems is necessary for the work, work space for the students may need to be available on a temporary basis, but many projects can be done with off-site connections and occasional on-site interviews or check-ins. In general, students should be seen as independent contractors, working with their own equipment and in their own environment unless the project requires otherwise. The students are attending classes (in person or online) while doing their capstones, so campus facilities or resources are available for their Capstone work as well. Some students may conduct their projects from a remote location, and will be in contact by phone or online conferencing.
Q: How do I get in touch or ask other questions?
A: Email iCapstone@uw.edu.