Our senior spring semester graphic design studio class, officially titled “Portfolio Design” encompasses more than repackaging of existing projects. While that is plenty for some to cover, we felt that we needed to add a senior project component as well. The senior project actually begins at the end of the Fall semester, with the presentation of three concepts for a project, from which one is selected. This allows some initial thought and research to begin before the Spring term begins. The project is carried out parallel to the creation of the portfolio and a poster presentation of it is a major feature of the Senior Portfolio Show in May. (see link here for a gallery of senior project panels from May, 2008)
Students have to display their senior project on two-four 20×30 inch panels. The project allows each student to select a project that complements their existing work, often exploring a direction they would like to pursue professionally. And the length of time on the project allows for process exploration and documentation.
I was at first skeptical about adding additional work onto the seniors that close to graduation. Yet, in the end, most students stated that the senior project was one of their best pieces and one they felt was one of the most enjoyable. So keeping creative projects going right up to the end of the term is probably a good idea. So we are continuing to include a senior project in the Portfolio class.