CIS263AA is an advanced Java programming class. It includes a review of concepts from the prerequisite course, covers many topics in much more depth, and introduces advanced topics. In lieu of a final exam, I wanted students to apply the program development process and create a substantial application. Since this is also the final course in the sequence, I wanted to squeeze in as much content as possible, especially in areas that apply to a student's major or interests--security, networking, simulation/modeling, business, etc. I decided to offer two options for the final project: 1) an application meeting specific requirements (defined by the student in a proposal), design documentation, and the program, or 2) the opportunity to research, learn, and apply new knowledge in a demo program focused on a particular advanced topic. It will be interesting to see which option students choose, to hear the reasons for their choices, and to see how it correlates to learning style, success in the class, etc.
I also look forward to your results. I like how you are providing student choice on the final project; that is brain-friendly and ergo motivating for students. It also appears to be experiential-learning; that is, student work will reflect what they will be doing in this field when they leave the college. Well done!
To piggy-back on "Pencil Pete's" comments, this is a great example of what researchers call authentic assessment. It is so much more relevant than abstract test (the type I tend to give, unfortunately). I'm in interested what way do you measure student's learning- do you use a rubric, or what instrument?