Independent Study [04:547:460]
An Independent Study is an individually negotiated learning program of approximately 150 hours, and as such, represents a significant learning opportunity for the student. It provides a framework that allows students to design, negotiate and manage their own program of study based on their existing experience and knowledge as well as their longer term intentions. As a 3 credit course, students are required to identify learning objectives, and to work through how these learning objectives are going to be met, and to be demonstrated to the academic supervisor in SC&I. Students are expected to have completed substantial course work in the ITI major before commencing an independent study.
Procedure for applying to undertake an ITI Independent Study
Before an Independent Study can be formally approved, students are required to meet with the Director for the ITI major, first to discuss the nature, objectives and outcomes of the Independent Study, and then to develop a full proposal. When this proposal is reviewed and approved, the student will get be assigned a Special Permission Number to proceed with the enrollment and to commence the Independent Study.
Accordingly, a proposal needs to be fully negotiated, developed and approved before enrollment can take place. This proposal is essentially the formal agreement negotiated between the student and academic supervisor to ensure that certain activities will be undertaken in order to achieve the learning goals and that specific evidence will be produced to demonstrate that goals have been reached.
From the outset, the student is encouraged to identify his or her own learning needs and to develop learning objectives and strategies consistent with those needs. In the first instance, students are encouraged to reflect on their learning in the ITI major, their career goals, to identify particular interests, needs or gaps in their learning, and to tailor the independent study program to address these.
Typically this proposal (approximately 3 pages in length) will set out:
- The general purpose of the program of study. This will identify the topic area, how it links to the courses already undertaken, and how it extends current work. There needs to be some justification of chosen topic, such as its importance to the field of ITI and to personal career goals.
- Learning goals to be achieved - This is likely to encompass both the development of the knowledge of the chosen topic, the development of a range of technical, intellectual and evaluative skills, as well as a range of personal and professional qualities. These need to be identified quite explicitly in the proposal.
- Program activities - An overview of the activities that the project will involve needs to be provided. This will include formal library research, analysis and synthesis of the topic, and how the student intends to present the project. Part of the independent study may involve some form of technical development as a way of demonstrating mastery of learning, such as a creative web site that illustrates mastery of sophisticated design techniques or software package. A time line for the semester’s work needs to be provided.
- Resources - The student should provide a preliminary list of information resources that might form the starting point for the development of the core literature that will inform the study. The proposal should identify key technical requirements needed in the study, and if these are not available or provided by SC&I, how these needs will be met.
- Assessment - The proposal should provide some preliminary indication of how the final project is to be presented and assessed. This may take many forms, but typically involves an evaluative journal and one or more of the following: analytical paper, product, presentation, self-evaluation.
- Dates for commencement and completion.
- Academic Supervisor - There should be documentation (e.g. letter or email) indicating the willingness of the academic supervisor to work with the student.
- Resume - Attach to the proposal a copy of your Resume.
During the Independent Study
In undertaking the Independent Study, students are expected to engage in extensive and critical reading and analysis pertinent to the topic of the independent study. These readings will be determined in collaboration with the supervising faculty member. The student will develop a review of literature for the topic under study. The faculty member will determine the manner by which the student's work will be evaluated.
Students will meet regularly with the academic supervisor throughout the program. These meetings provide opportunity for students to: discuss their progress at regular intervals (perhaps every two weeks - to be negotiated with the students); deal with issues and concerns that arise during the course of study; provide input in terms of learning goals and meeting assessment requirements as set out in the proposal; and get direction in terms of appropriate resources for researching the chosen topic.
It is expected that students will develop a final project in collaboration with the supervising faculty member. This will be a part of the student portfolio. The student and faculty member will develop both the mode of presentation and the evaluation criteria and will determine the length of the independent study. For example, this might be a research-based paper of considerable depth and scope, or it might be a written paper that accompanies some technical project e.g. website, database.
Students are required to keep a journal of work undertaken, commentary on readings, and results of the independent study. This journal will conclude with a self-evaluation of the study which includes what the student learned.
Richardt, Joan. "Career Portfolios: Telling Your Lifework Story"
Williams,Anna Graf and Karen J. Hall. Creating Your Career Portfolio: At A Glance Guide. 2nd Ed. Prentice Hall, 2001.
" Designed to assist readers in pulling together their many skills and competencies, this innovative, easy-to-read guidebook provides detailed instructions for planning, assembling, and using a personal Career Portfolio for a job search or promotion. It shows them how to tie together and "package" their work experiences, class projects, professional development, and personal experiences to help them "sell themselves" in the job market. An accompanying disk contains Microsoft Word templates with commonly used forms for goals and objectives, statements of originality, references, awards, projects in process, project overview cards, etc. The Portfolio Process. Planning Your Portfolio. The Resume: An Overview of Your Portfolio. Proving Your Skills. Your Commitment to Personal Growth. The Assembly. The Electronic Portfolio. Using It. A Matter of Style. Resource Guide. Professionals who are interested in advancing their career through promotion, are job shifting, or are returning to the job market. Also for Career Counselors and Human Resource Managers."
Handy, Charles and Warren G. Bennis. Age of Unreason. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 1998. (First published in 1990)
" In The Age of Unreason, Charles Handy shows that today we need more unreasonable men and women. In an era when change is constant, random, and, as Handy calls it, discontinuous, it is necessary to bread out of old ways of thinking in order to use change to our advantage. We are entering the Age of Unreason, when the only prediction that will hold true is that no prediction will hold true. It is time for bold imaginings, for thinking the unlikely, and doing the unreasonable. Handy shows how dramatic changes are transforming businesses, education, and the nature of work. We can see them in astounding new developments in technology, in the shift in demand from manual to cerebral skills, and in the virtual disappearance of lifelong, full-time jobs. Handy maintains that discontinuous change requires discontinuous, upside-down thinking. We need new kinds of organizations, new approaches to work, new types of schools, and new ideas about the nature of our society."