Online Community-Based Learning as the Practice of Freedom: The Online Capstone Experience at Portland State University


  • Deborah Smith Arthur Portland State University
  • Zapoura Newton-Calvert Portland State University


Higher Education, Community-based Learning, Effective Change Agent


Given the design of Portland State University’s (PSU) undergraduate curriculum culminating in a capstone experience, the dramatic growth in online courses and online enrollments required a re-thinking of the capstone model to ensure all students could participate in this effective learning model and have a powerful learning experience. In recent years, a number of capstone courses have been developed that are offered fully online. This article examines PSU’s development of and institutional support for community-based learning (CBL) capstone courses in a fully online format. Emerging best practices and lessons learned may be useful for other institutions seeking to integrate experiential elements into online learning at any level, including capstones.