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Module 6 Capstone – Reversing the Process

Initial Publication Date: May 19, 2020 | Reviewed: March 12, 2023


This final module is a capstone project where students have to use what they have learned up until now to create their own news article based on a data set they find. The idea behind this project is that students have spent the rest of the course reading articles and responding to them, now it is their turn to write a news article. By demonstrating their ability to write an article based on a data set, they will demonstrate full mastery of the concepts presented in the course.

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Learning Goals

  • Students will be able to write a thoughtful news article based on real-world data

Context for Use

This unit is different from the others in that it is a large summative assignment, without a lecture or coding component. Some time will need to be spent in class to go over the details of the project, but students should primarily complete this module outside of normal class time. Because this module is meant as a culmination of the concepts learned in the course, it is meant to be a final project for the entire course. It could be adapted for another course, however it likely will still serve as a sort of final project or course assessment due to its nature.

Description and Teaching Materials

Students can be given the rubric at any time in the course; however, it is best if they are given it at the beginning of the course so that students can be thinking about it as they progress through the rest of the course content.

Some time should be taken in one or several class period to give a brief description of the assignment. The instructor should introduce the overall concept, that the class is primarily spent examining news articles and data, and now it is the students' turn to take what they've learned and find their own data set and write an article that reflects what story the data tells.

The students may also generate a presentation to present their article and information to the class.

Teaching Notes and Tips

Because this serves as a culmination of the class, students should feel prepared to tackle it. However, they may still need assistance understanding the requirements.

It is best to give out the rubric close to the start of the course so that students can be thinking about it as they work through the semester. Alternatively, if the instructor feels giving the instructions early will worry or distract students, they can be given the instructions a few weeks before the end of the course so that students still have enough time to complete the assignment.


There is a suggested grading rubric for the final capstone project, however this can certainly be modified.

The first component of the project is how it is delivered. The length is supposed to be short, between 1000 and 1200 words. Projects should also have proper grammar.

The second part concerns the content of the article the students make. The article needs to be based on a data set and make some sort of claim about a problem the data supports. Students should contextualize their problem with additional information from other articles and sources. They also need to explain why this data set is significant, why the reader should care about it.

The last part of assessing the project is based on the graph the student makes. It needs to be a singular, clearly labeled graphic that shows the data in a meaningful way. The figure's caption should explain it well, but also be succinct (less than 100 words).

References and Resources

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