welcome to 272 Precapstone Seminar

Course Guide Info. | Learning Objectives | Description | Expectations | Hmwk 1: Resumé | Hmwk 2: Reports | Hmwk 3: Road Map | Hmwk 4: Proposal | Deadlines & Grades

Course Guide Information:

Title: Precapstone
Listing: DY SCI 272
Prerequisites: None
Date/Time: Thursdays, 1:20 pm to 2:10 pm 
Location: 134 Animal Sciences Building
Instructor: Kent Weigel email: kweigel@wisc.edu
Description: In this course, students develop individualized four-year course plans, learn about internships and job opportunities, and discuss leadership development opportunities. Students learn about, and prepare for, active and independent learning from juniors and seniors who have successfully completed independent learning projects including internships, senior seminars and other "capstone" experiences. Intended for prospective or declared Dairy Science majors in their first year or who have not completed Dy Sci 399 - Internship.
Students: Please click the "Class Roster" link on the left

Learning Objectives:

The ultimate goal of this seminar is to help students identify and pursue valuable out-of-classroom experiences, thereby becoming better independent learners, while exploring and preparing for potential career opportunities. In particular, the pre-capstone seminar is to help dairy science students to become more aware of:
  • The availability of independent and experiential learning opportunities (e.g., independent study, undergraduate research, internships, study abroad);
  • The steps involved in developing and (or) preparing for these opportunities;
  • The skills needed to maximize the educational benefits derived from independent learning (including report writing skills and oral presentation skills).
The learning objectives of this class will be met if a student:
  • Realizes the importance of taking an active role in sharpening his/her critical thinking and leadership skills;
  • Takes the lead in developing an internship plan that fits his/her needs and interests while allowing exploration of possible career objectives;
  • Become more aware of the skills needed to succeed as an individual learner or team learner.

Course Description:

The pre-capstone is a weekly seminar series. Dairy science students should start thinking about internships during the first year and learn more about other independent learning experiences they may wish to consider before graduating. An internship (Dy Sci 399) is a capstone requirement for students in the Dairy Science major.

Pre-capstone speakers are primarily juniors and seniors who are willing to share their experiences in internships (Dy Sci 399), formal capstone experiences (Dy Sci 535), and other out-of-classroom independent learning experiences (e.g., 375 study tours or study abroad).

The seminar is about taking advantage of opportunities during your college experience. In planning your required internship (Dy Sci 399) many opportunities are available. In addition, students can participate in of independent study projects (Dy Sci 299 or Dy Sci 699), which involve undergraduate research or independent learning activities carried out under the supervision of a faculty advisor. Students can earn credits toward graduation by doing "special things" that match their interests, and they should start planning for these opportunities in their first year.

The seminar is also about helping you understand some of the differences between a freshman and a senior. Over the course of a student’s undergraduate program, expectations of their instructors and their role as a student change dramatically. The pre-capstone seminar will help the transition from the passive, lecture-based courses to increasingly independent work and out-of-classroom experiences in the latter years of the undergraduate program. The pre-capstone seminar was designed to improve students’ readiness for courses such as Dy Sci 399 (Internship) and Dy Sci 535 (Dairy Farm Management Practicum), which share common educational objectives of (1) developing students’ decision-making skills and (2) taking the learning process in the student’s own hands.


What am I expected to do in the pre-capstone course?
  1. To attend and participated actively by taking notes and/or asking questions;
  2. To prepare and submit a final resume (see homework below for details);
  3. To prepare and submit three seminar reports (see homework below for details);
  4. To prepare and submit a four-year road map (see homework below for details);
  5. To prepare and submit an internship proposal (see homework below for details).

Homework 1 - Resumé:

This assignment is to help a student build the best possible resumé. It is designed as a two-step process. The draft resumé will be due at the second class period and a final resumé will be due four weeks later, after improvements have been made. Each step is described below:
  1. Draft Resumé: Create your resumé using the information discussed during the first day of class. Upload your resumé in the dropbox and bring a printed copy of your draft resumé to class. Please upload a pdf or word document. The content of the resumé is not a criterion for grading. The Resume Feedback Form contains the rubrics that will be used to grade your resumé. Feedback will be provided so you can improve your draft resumé

  2. Final Resumé: You are expected to use feedback and suggestions for improving your draft resumé. Upload your final resumé in the dropbox and bring a printed copy of your final resumé and your draft resumé (including suggestions for improvement) to class. Grades will be based on revisions and improvements made to your draft. The final version of your resumé should be ready to go when you apply for an internship, scholarship, or other opportunity.

Homework 2 - Three Seminar Reports:

Look at the schedule page and pick three speakers whose internships are of interest to you. The report will be due in the dropbox at 1:20 pm on Thursday of the week after the speaker(s) made their presentation.
  • To write a report, download and use the 272 Report Template. Your writing should include a description and a reflection on the presentation made by a speaker. Your reports must be structured as follows (for each speaker separately)
    1. First, DESCRIBE in 400 - 600 words the speaker's presentation: How did the speaker learn about the internship (study abroad, etc.) and what had to be done in order to apply? What were the learning objectives? Then describe briefly "who did what to whom, where, how and why" (if applicable, use names of individuals, specific location and contact information). To what degree were the learning objectives achieved? What other learning outcomes resulted from the experience? What did the speaker say she/he would do differently?
    2. Then, REFLECT in 400 - 600 words how the presenter's experience related to you: Describe what motivated you to choose to write about today's topics and presentations. What aspect of the experience you had not thought about previously but found interesting? After listening to the speakers, do you still find the experience relevant to you? Why? What would you really like to learn — and what would you do differently from the speaker — if you were to engage in a similar experience? What questions remain unanswered?
  • Report grade: Each report witll be graded on a 10-pts scale.The rubrics to evaluate the report on selected presenters are described below:
    1. Description of the speaker's presentation3 pts for a description that follows the instructions described above thoroughly and completely; 2 pts or 1 pt for a narrative that is incomplete and/or has few specifics about the presentation.
    2. Reflection on the seminar presentation: 5 pts for a thorough, thoughtful and complete reflection (that follows the instructions described above); 3 pts for a narrative that is thoughtful but incomplete; 1 pt for a narrative that is neither thoughtful nor complete; 0 pt for a report that does not include any reflections on the presentation
    3. Grammar , spelling, style and formatting: 2 pts for a report that is carefully and thoroughly formatted (dates, title, headings, etc.) and is free of spelling and grammatical errors; 1 pt or 0 pt for a report that has missing formatting details, includes some spelling and grammatical mistakes, and has other evidence that it was put together hastily.
    4. Timeliness: -2 pts for late submission (past the Thursday deadline).

Homework 3 - Four-year Road Map:

The seminar will include a session during which seniors will come in class to share their experiences in courses in Dairy Science and other fields of study. Your assignment is to develop YOUR OWN FOUR-YEAR ROAD MAP with a short explanation of your course choices. Feel free to use the following Four-Year Road Map Template, which is not required but may prove useful. You can also copy the requirements from the Dairy Science Curriculum Sheet into a text document and complete it, along with an explanation of your plan. What elective courses did you choose, and why? Do you plan to study abroad? Do you plan to pursue a double-major or certificate? How will you develop your leadership skills and acquire the knowledge and skills needed for success upon graduation? Do not bring a print out of your four-year road map to class, but upload it to the dropbox.
Homework 4 - Internship Proposal:

This proposal is YOUR PLAN OF ACTION to prepare for, and seek out, an internship opportunity that fits your needs and interests. You are encouraged to work on this proposal as early as possible during the semester and if you wish, feel free to submit this proposal at any time during the semester.
  • The internship proposal should be a properly organized "working document", written as an essay between 800 and 1200 words, that includes the following information:
    1. What kind of internship would you prefer? Industry-related (AI company, feed company, consulting firm) / On-farm / With a university research or extension project / Going abroad to learn Spanish / etc.)
    2. When / where (close from home or away from home) / For how long would you like your internship to be?
    3. What do you need to do to apply? Are there any deadlines? Who would be a contact person?
    4. Do you need to be compensated? Who will pay for your expenses? / Will you have insurance coverage?
    5. What do you really want to learn? There are multiple learning objectives you may want to consider. For example, you can use your internship to: build a certain set of skills (e.g., something hands-on / computer / interpersonal communication), network with a particular segment of the dairy industry or learn about a particular job (e.g., consultant, veterinarian, sales).
    6. What will you do the first day of the internship?
    7. What will you do if in the first few days after starting, if you realize that things are not going the way you had expected?
    8. How will you document you learning progress? Who will you be writing your report(s) for? What will your written report(s) include? Do you plan to make an oral presentation to share your internship experience with other students on campus?
    9. Upload your proposal in the course dropbox.

Deadlines and Grades:

The Table below provides deadlines and points for each item (described in the "Expectations" section above) in the final grade.
Item Deadline Points Comments (see details above)
1. Attendance Weekly 5 pts Class participation
2. Draft Resumé 01/28 (1:20 p.m.) 5 pts In drop box
3. Final Resumé 02/25 (1:20 p.m.) 5 pts In drop box
4. Three Reports 1:20 p.m. one week after the seminar 15 pts In drop box 
5. Road Map 03/07 (1:20 p.m.) 5 pts In drop box
6. Proposal 05/05 (1:20 p.m.) 15 pts In drop box 
Total 50 pts

How will Letter grade be assigned? A criterion-referenced grading will be used in this class and therefore you do not need to worry about your standing relative to others in this course. In fact, working together with others may be to everyone's advantage. Letter grades will be assigned according to the following scale (which may vary slightly from year to year depending on specific circumstances): A = 93-100 | AB = 90-92 | B= 83-89 | BC = 80-82 | C = 70-79 | D = 60-69 | F = 60 or less.

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