Capstone? What’s a capstone?

At the start of the semester, other than knowing I had to take a capstone course in order to get my degree, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into.  Little did I know, the neurochemistry capstone that I had signed up for would become one of my favorite courses I’ve taken in my college career.  Not only was the material very interesting, but the style of the course was entirely different from any other course that I had previously taken at Concordia and was in fact very favorable for learning.


Prior to taking this class the normal class structure that I had participated in consisted of lecture style teaching with around four tests and some quizzes thrown in the mix.  Neurochemistry was an entirely different class, as it prompted discussion and problem solving from the students as we explored a vast array of neurochemistry related topics ranging from neurodegenerative diseases to alcoholism.  We started the course by exploring a different neurochemistry topic each class period and submitting information that we found onto an online page so we could learn the material cooperatively as a class.  Once we learned the basics of neurochem we started diving into scientific papers that dealt with different disorders and used problem-solving skills to dissect the papers and obtain a common understanding of the topic.  We finished each week with a class discussion about each paper that engaged everyone’s thoughts and opinions as we discussed each paper.  I thought this was a very nice change as it prompted us to learn the material because we wanted to learn it rather than learning material that we weren’t as interested in.  It was also very nice to be in a relatively small class that was very comfortable with each other so we could easily share our opinions and present new material that we had learned with the class.


My favorite part of the course was the fact that we tied each topic into our society.  This made the topics much more interesting because we could relate to each different point and talk about how we thought each disorder affected our society as a whole.  Simply due to this fact we were definitely practicing Concordia’s liberal learning concept known as BREW, or becoming responsibly engaged in the world.  Throughout the whole class we looked at different disorders that affect the lives of many individuals in our society in an attempt to understand just what neurochemical processes were flawed and if there would be any way to cure the disorder.


Overall I thought this was a great course for so many reasons.  It is one that will definitely be helpful in the future as we go out into the world and engage in society and are forced to use our problem solving skills in order to make the world a better place.  This class definitely developed my problem solving skills, as well as my ability to be able to communicate very complex information in an understandable manner.  All in all the capstone experience was a great one!!