Nearly 1,500 attend online Capstone showcase

Students, faculty, staff and others take part in a session at Capstone.
Students, faculty, staff and others take part in a session at Capstone.

A year like none other produced a Capstone Night like none other at the University of Washington Information School, which held a first-of-its-kind all-online project showcase on May 27.

Instead of gathering around tables in the HUB, families, friends and sponsors gathered online to watch presentations from 62 teams who opted to participate, representing more than 200 students’ projects. Close to 1,500 people tuned in to watch on Zoom and YouTube.

Attendees had their choice of three sessions at any one time. They could pop from room to room and learn about projects such as a real-time parking capacity sensor for park and rides, a project to tame the Seattle Times’ paper files, and an app that will help Mary’s Place in its mission to serve homeless people. Each room was hosted by a member of the iSchool faculty.

Capstone projects are the culmination of students’ learning experience in the iSchool’s undergraduate Informatics program and master’s programs in Library and Information Science and Information Management. Often working with a business, organization or government agency, they design and create solutions to information challenges.

The projects take multiple quarters to execute, and all had to overcome additional challenges this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While some had to adjust to disruptions in their classes, meetings and lives, some had sponsors that dealt with sudden turmoil due to the pandemic. Some project teams changed directions entirely to focus on topics related to the pandemic itself. 

Dean Anind Dey hailed the teams' accomplishments in the face of adversity and remarked on students' achievements as he brought the event to a close with his remarks.

“With such an enormous diversity of projects, what they all have in common is what’s at the heart of the iSchool," he said. "They brought people, information and technology together.”

View more projects from this year in the Capstone archive.