Capstone Project Stage 4


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.

You should have completed your Coastal Vulnerability Audit at this point. We are done with course modules and it is important that you do a self assessment so that you can take final stock of your progress on this capstone. You should essentially be done with the capstone and putting the finishing polish on your audit and required submission items.

island photo. Title - Capstone Project End Unit 4: Progress Self Assessment
Sean Cornell


You will need to use this tool weekly to guide your data collection and organize your ideas and research information as you prepare 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

Self Assessment: Where do you stand?

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

  1. completed your research and data compilation on all stages and – based on your knowledge and research – developed one or more recommended resiliency action plan items (Stage 4c);
  2. completed your Coastal Vulnerability Audit (CVAT);
  3. completed your digital portfolio (PowerPoint, OneNote, etc.) and integrated it into your Google Earth “My Places” folder so that there are no gaps or omissions in the required elements;
  4. completed your audio-annotated Google Earth tour; you should be polishing it into a final draft for submission;
  5. shared your annotated audio tour (in Google Earth, or as a stand-alone movie file) with at least one other person for feedback and confirmation that it is working and is as error free as possible;

DO NOT give one-word responses as you fill in the CVAT. Think deeply about each response and write responses that reflect that depth of thought as informed by your research.


Download Worksheet

Download Rubric

Capstone Stage 4 Plan:

To evaluate your progress in systems thinking, the diagram below is designed to help you identify the physical exposure and human sensitives and adaptive capacities of your city and to think about the options your city might use to respond to coastal hazards and their impacts. Download the animated PowerPoint version of this diagram here; view it in Slide Show mode to step through the steps in the plan.

info-graphic capstone stage 4
Figure 1. Capstone Project Stage 4: Capstone project plan to evaluate student progress on identifying vulnerabilities and planning for responding to those vulnerabilities via system thinking. The diagram shows where Stage 4 fits in the capstone project. 
Click here for a text version of Figure 1

Capstone Stage 4

The diagram shows all four stages of the capstone but emphasizes Stage 4.

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
    Capstone project plan to evaluate student progress on identifying vulnerabilities and planning for responding to those vulnerabilities via system thinking.
    Figure 2. Capstone Project: Stage 4: Five steps you need to take to link the different elements of Stage 4.
    Click here for a text version of Figure 2

    Capstone Stage 4: Vulnerability, Planning & Action

    Essential Question: Given your evaluation of coastal hazards (physical vulnerability and exposure) and their impacts on society (human vulnerabilities) what options do members of your locality have in responding to their specific coastal hazards presently and in the future?

    The info graphic shows a circular loop moving from K through O.

    K1. Physical Hazards & Exposure

    K2. List and rank physical hazards from highest concern to lowest concern and provide a brief justification for ranking. See Modules 1, 4, 6, 11, and 12.

    L1. Identify Sources of Sensitivity

    L2. Re-explore demographic daa (from Capstone Stage 3) and establish education level, income levels, any racial or age disparities, etc. that impact vulnerability and recovery. See Module 10.

    M1. Evaluate Adaptive Capacity

    M2. Evaluate the community's potential to reduce exposure and vulnerability through identification of stakeholders, disaster management planning and implementation of other mitigation and adaptation strategies. See Modules 10 & 11.

    N1. Existing Policies & Regulations

    N2. Articulate evidence of planning by local, regional or national stakeholders to mitigate, facilitate preparedness, allow for response, and promote effective recovery from coastal hazards. See Modules 11 & 12.

    O1.Building Resiliency Through Planning

    O2. Develop and prioritize at least two resiliency action plans that are recommended for implementation. These must demonstrate use of a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) that factor in exposure, sensitivity, adaptive capacity, as well as their pros and cons. See Unit 4.

    Starting with K2, work through the five steps. On a separate sheet of paper, write a paragraph that ranks from highest to lowest concern the hazards affecting your city, and justify your ranking. For L2, talk about the demographic context – including the spatial variability – of your city and how it affects vulnerability and recovery. For M2, evaluate the ability of your city to reduce its exposure and sensitivity (that is, its adaptive capacity) through stakeholder-based planning. For N2, show evidence of hazard disaster and recovery planning in your city. And for O2, recommend two action plans that increase resiliency (that is, reduce vulnerability) that include a cost-benefit analysis. As in previous checkpoints, be sure to discuss relationships among the various components of the systems, specifying the nature of the relationships.