“What is a capstone class?” you may ask. “In addition to other discipline-related course goals, the senior-year integrative capstone experience will challenge the student to critically analyze, reflect, and write about the major discipline from the perspective of Christian Worldview.” (Liberal Arts Core Curriculum at ACU, p. 6). In other words, it is the culmination of a student’s classroom and experiential learning experiences during their time in college. James Prather, instructor of Computer Science, created the new capstone class CS 480: Capstone Reflections on Faith and Work, for the School of Information Technology and Computing, joining the two worlds of technology and Christianity together.
Prather holds degrees not only in Computer Science but has also earned masters degrees in Divinity and the Old Testament. The class was created to help students bridge the gap between leaving college and starting the rest of their lives. Many issues are tackled in this class such as faith and vocation, asking students questions such as, “What does it mean to be a Christian in the workplace?”. Other topics dealing with post-college life are also covered in the class such as workplace culture, church, friends, dealing with a toxic workplace and/or toxic coworkers, when to make a job change, relationships, budgeting, procrastination, grad school, and more. Prather leads these discussions with the students and also guides them through a book about spiritual disciplines, asking the students to practice a spiritual discipline each week and then write a short reflection on that experience. Prather says this is an attempt to hand students the practical tools to practice their faith not only at church but anywhere they may be: in a cubicle, on their daily commute, during their lunch break, at the gym, at home in the evening, etc.
Students are asked to write two case studies that consider the ethical implications of technology on humans created in the image of God. To wrap up the course, students are asked to write a personal theology of work, helping them to synthesize the entire semester into a personal statement of what it means to be a Christian in the technology workplace. Students are also asked to make a personal portfolio which helps them look back on the past four years and see what they have done, where they have been and who they have met along the way. Cole Spears, Computer Science major from Abilene, said this has helped him realize “While it may not seem that a career as a Software Developer intersects with the life of a ministry for Jesus, there are in fact many ways I can lead a life for Christ. Simply, in my everyday interactions, I can have the peace, joy, and love of Christ throughout all of my interactions with coworkers, management, and clients. Through just being an extension of Christ, a branch from the vine, to others, I will be able to share the love of Jesus with us.”