Capstone Project Stage 2


Course Capstone Project and Assessment: Coastal Vulnerability Audit


The Fall 2017 Penn State section will NOT be using the content for the Course Capstone Project from this page. Rather, Capstone Project directions for this section will be posted in Canvas.

At this stage, you should be well into your vulnerability audit. We are halfway through the course modules and it is important that we assess your progress to see that you are setting yourself up for success to complete the capstone project appropriately. If you have fallen behind, this is your chance to catch up.

Curacao, Netherlands, Antilles, title = Capstone Project Stage 2: Progress Self Assessment
Sean Cornell

CVAT Instructions

We give you two ways to assess and document your progress. First, you should have been using the CVAT weekly to guide your data collection and organize your ideas and research information as you prepare for your Google Earth audio-annotated tour.

Stage 1: Capstone Overview – Ready, Set, Go

►Stage 2: Physical System Assessment

Stage 3: Vulnerability Planning & Action

Stage 4a: Vulnerability, Planning & Action

►Stage 4b: Site Specific Concerns or Considerations

Stage 4c: Recommended Resiliency Action Plans

►Stage 4d: References and Key Resources

CVAT Assessment: Where do you stand?

Given the listed stages above, you should have at this point:

  1. selected, notified your instructor of your research site, and confirmed that it is assigned to you;
  2. initiated research and data compilation in the sections that are highlighted above. These include work on Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 4b, Stage 4d at a minimum;
  3. initiated a PowerPoint portfolio (or similar digital notebook like OneNote, etc.). It should contain Excel plots of shoreline profiles, sea level projections, etc., from earlier assignments;
  4. developed a Google Earth folder in your “My Places” folder that has key geographic, geologic features noted and as appropriate with descriptions and links to external resources
  5. compiled an initial list of questions that you have about your site related to key course topics and initiated significant efforts to answer them to enhance your learning outcomes.

Note: You will need to download the Worksheet linked below to turn in your assignment. The tables that you will be updating are shown below for your convenience. As noted earlier, DO NOT give one-word responses as you fill in the CVAT. You need to think deeply about each response and write responses that reflect that depth of thought as informed by your research.


Download Worksheet

Capstone Stage 2 Plan

A second way to think about and evaluate your progress is through systems thinking. The two-part diagram below is designed to help you think about the interactions of various Earth systems around your chosen coastal zone that produce positive and negative feedbacks and how they affect the human landscapes of your city. Download an animated PowerPoint version of this diagram here; view it in Slide Show mode to step through the steps in the plan.

Infographic for Capstone Stage 2
Capstone Project: Stage 2: Figure 1: Capstone project plan to evaluate student progress via system thinking. This diagram shows where Stage 2 fits in the capstone project.
Click here for a text version of Figure 1

Capstone Stage 2

The diagram shows all four stages of the capstone but emphasizes Stage 2.

Stage 1

  • Plan for Success
  • Evaluation Rubrics
  • Models/Examples

Stage 2

Physical System

  • Geology
  • Geography
  • Climate
  • Processes

Stage 3

Human System & Engineering Infrastructure

  • Natural & Engineered Defenses
  • People and their Circumstances

Stage 4

Vulnerability, Planning & Action

  • Research
  • Education
  • informed Adaptation & Mitigation
  • Policy
    infographic for capstone stage 2 Physical Assessment
    Figure 2. The five steps you need to take to link the different elements of Stage 2.
    Click here for a text version of Figure 2

    Capstone Stage 2,  Physical System Assessment

    Essential Question: How do various Earth systems (climate, tectonic, coastal, etc.) interact in your specified coastal setting to produce +/- feedback loops, and how to they impact human landscapes?

    The info graphic shows a circular loop moving from A through E.

    A1. Describe Coastal Setting.

    A2.Explain how the specific coastal setting impacts people, infrastructure, resources, etc. See Sections 1 & 2 Modules 1 - 6.

    B1. Describe Climate Setting.

    B2. Explain how climate system impacts people, infrastructure, resources. See Modules 2 & 3.

    C1. Describe Regional Tectonic Setting.

    C2. Assess local and regional tectonic system and their impacts (historically and probabilities) on people, infrastructure, resources. See Modules 2 & 3.

    D1. Assess Coastal Geomorph.

    D2. Describe specific coastal geomorphologic features and their impacts on people, infrastructure, resources. See Modules 2 & 3.

    E1. Coastal Processes & Hazards.

    E2. Describe specific local and regional coastal processes & existing / developing hazards and their impacts on people, infrastructure, resources. See Modules 3, 4, & 5.

    Work through the five steps, starting with A2. On a separate sheet of paper, write a paragraph that explains how the coastal setting affects people, infrastructure, resources, and more. Do the same for B2 through E2. Be sure to discuss relationships among the various components of the systems, specifying the nature of the relationships. If you are unsure of how to denote these relationships, see this animated PowerPoint (in slide show mode) that you can download here.