Limed: Teaching with a Twist
Season 2, Episode 7

Designing an interdisciplinary capstone course is a challenging task that presents an opportunity to innovate. Lina Kuhn and Kai Swanson from Elon University join the show to get some advice on how to build a Global Film and Cultures minor capstone that reflects the interdisciplinary nature of their program. Janet Bean from the University of Akron and Drew Pearl from the University of Alabama share their wisdom and experiences on how to make the most of an opportunity to create a capstone course. The panel discusses what a capstone is, how to co-create with students, and the tension between providing too much and too little structure for student assignments, among other topics. Next month, we will hear what our student panelists had to say. 

View a transcript of this episode.

This episode was hosted, produced, and edited by Matt Wittstein in collaboration with Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning.

About the Guests

Headshot of Lina Kuhn

Lina Kuhn is a Lecturer in English at Elon University. Dr. Kuhn teaches first-year writing, horror film and literature, science fiction, and German language courses. Her students refer to her as a sci-fi nerd in evaluations, a title she bears proudly, and an occupational hazard of her professional interest in the intersection of science with the humanities. This past year, Dr. Kuhn has been working on co-creating the Global Film and Cultures minor, now up and running, and looks forward to teaching the first introductory class in Fall 2024. She has also been teaching a new class on vampires, and is collaborating with librarians and other English faculty on a diversity and inclusion grant through CATL. In her spare time, Dr. Kuhn enjoys hikes with her dog, reading, and watching movies of all kinds. 

Headshot of Kai Swanson

Kai Swanson (they/she) is an independent filmmaker and producer who has made a significant mark on the international film circuit, with screenings at prestigious festivals such as the Oscar® qualifying HollyShorts Film Festival, Buenos Aires International Film Festival, and the Newport Beach Film Festival. Their comedic series #millcore is distributed on Amazon Prime, while the feature film East of Middle West, which Kai produced, is available on Apple TV and Amazon Prime.  

Kai’s prowess as a producer has been recognized with numerous accolades, including the Best American Indie at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, the Audience Award for Best Feature at the Sarasota Film Festival, and Best Producer at the Montreal Independent Film Festival. Their work is characterized by a unique blend of formal experimentation and playful narrative strategies that challenge traditional narratives around gender and history, seeking to forge new connections with concepts of historicity, time, and cultural representation. 

Kai is a proud member of the Television Academy and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. Their upcoming publication, Behind the Laughter: The Mechanics of American Comedy’s History, Writing, and Production, is set to be released by Kendall Hunt Publishing in April 2025. 

About the Panel

Headshot of Janet Bean

Janet Bean serves as Director of The University of Akron’s Institute for Teaching and Learning and is an Associate Professor of English.  She works with faculty to make their teaching more effective, inclusive, and meaningful to students.  If she were queen of the world, every undergraduate program would have a capstone experience. 

Headshot of Drew Pearl

Drew Pearl serves as Director of Community Engagement Research and Publications at the University of Alabama’s Center for Community-Based Partnerships, and as Executive Editor of the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship. His research focuses on the institutionalization of community engagement, the professional lives and motivations of boundary spanners and engaged scholars, and student experiences related to community engagement. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Georgia’s Institute of Higher Education, an M.P.A from UGA, an M.M from the University of New Mexico, and a B.M. from Vanderbilt University.  

Resources Related to this Episode

Center Resources Related to this Episode

Capstone Experiences

Definition Capstone experiences aim to facilitate students’ sense-making of their growth and development across their major or general educational studies and have been a hallmark of undergraduate education in one form or another for at least as long as higher education has…

Elon Statement on Capstone Experiences

Download a printer-friendly (PDF) copy of the Elon Statement on Capstone Experiences by Caroline J. Ketcham, Anthony G. Weaver, Jillian Kinzie, and Jessie L. Moore From 2018 to 2020, twenty-two scholars participated in the Center for Engaged Learning research seminar…

Book cover of Cultivating Capstones: Designing High-Quality Culminating Experiences for Student Learning, edited by Caroline J. Ketcham, Anthony G. Weaver, and Jessie L. Moore

Cultivating Capstones

book cover for The Power of Partnership

The Power of Partnership

book cover for Pedagogical Partnerships

Pedagogical Partnerships

Film Recommendations by Guests Kai Swanson and Lina Kuhn, respectively

Glazer, J, dir. 2023. The Zone of Interest. Poland: Gutek Film.  

Murnau, F. W. 1922. Nosferatu. Germany: Prana Film Company.

Resources Mentioned by Panelists

Ash, Sarah L. and Patti H. Clayton. 2009. “Generating, Deepening, and Documenting Learning: The Power of Critical Reflection in Applied Learning.”  Journal of Applied Learning in Higher Education 1(1): 25-48. 

“EX[L] [Un]Classes.” EX[L] Center for Community Engaged Learning. University of Akron, February 1, 2024.  

International Journal for Students as Partners. McMaster University Library Press, [2017]-present.

Sutton-Brown, Camille A. 2014. “Photovoice: A methodological guide.” Photography and Culture 7 (2): 169-185. 

Additional Resources: 

Global Film and Cultures Minor FAQ Flyer

Global Film and Cultures Minor webpage: