[Due Date: End of the Semester]
Note: This description is for Dr. Johnson's Independent Studies. Please check with Dr. Czerkawski for her expectations.
The purpose of an Independent study course is to allow you to explore a topic of interest under the guidance of a more experienced learner. By a more experienced learner, I mean me. However, you are encouraged to seek out and find other experienced learners to help you with your project. Also, since technology varies so much, I will seek and and make connections for you if I do not have the skills needed to complete your project.
When you complete your Independent Study, you will be able to
- demonstrate the specific skills and concepts as defined in the Description of the Project section of the Independent Study Contract.
- demonstrate the aspects of Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, Lifelong Learning, and communication skills defined in the rubric below* throughout your project.
Independent study courses are different from an instructor led program. The information listed below offers some advice and my expectations that I hope will lead you to a successful project. **Self Paced / Self Discipline
Independent study courses incorporate more of the “self paced” elements of learning on your own and at your own pace. But these courses are not open ended. You must complete the coursework within the designated dates of the class. For example, if your independent study course scheduled for fall semester, you must complete the course within that time frame.
This changes every year so make sure you check the University's Academic Calendar.
When you do your work is entirely up to you, as long as it is sometime between the assigned dates
Remember, it is up to you to manage your time as so that you can complete the required coursework before the course closes. You must be committed to the course and invest the necessary time for successful completion.
I recommend that you schedule work on your independent study just as you would work for a regular class.
In any case, do not wait until the last day to do a large portion of the coursework. Unforeseen circumstances do arise and, generally speaking, you will gain less from the course if you try to do too much at once. Most students will learn the information better and have a more rewarding online experience by checking in frequently and working diligently throughout the course.
The time commitments and project work necessary to complete independent study courses vary depending on your project. I will be happy to discuss this with you and give my best guess as to the amount of time you will be investing.
Every project is different. However, there are two major components: Project Completion and Reflection. We will discuss
Steps to Completion [↑ Top]
Set up your project
To begin your Independent Study, send me a brief email proposal. In your proposal I will want to know why you want to study the particular topic, concept, or skill set in greater detail.
Next, provide a brief description of what you would like to accomplish. How will you go about conducting your study? What will you produce? How will you know if you are successful?
Once we have decided on your project, we will complete the following two forms:
On the Independent Study form, you will see a section titled "Brief description of project, including anticipated product." This section will describe what you will study. We will have worked this out via email and you will include whatever details we need.
For the Change of Schedule, use Section 001 for Dr Czerkawski and 003 for Dr. Johnson.
You must include the Signage of Study because you can not self register for this class. We must manually register you.
The forms can be signed electronically. Once you have completed all of the information, sign it and send it to the appropriate faculty.
Complete your project
My only requirement here is that, as you work on your project, keep in touch. I will expect an update email every Friday. I am also very willing to set up weekly or as needed online meetings.
Once you are finished with your project, prepare a reflection that discusses the following. It could be a paper but feel free to use some other digital tool.
- How much time on average per week did you spend on your project?
- What have you learned about your topic?
- What have you learned about completing a project like this independently?
- Is there anything about your project that you particularly want me to notice?
- Which parts of the project were difficult?
- Which parts of the project were easy?
- What limitations did you face and how did you solve them?
- How do you feel overall about your project?
Submitting Your Project [↑ Top]
We will work out the details of how you will submit your project as this depends on what you end up doing. My only request is that, as you are developing materials remember you have to be able to share it with me.
For example, let's say you create a project that ends in .vnp based on the program you are using. Just make sure in the early stages that I can see this file too.
Assessment [↑ Top]
Assessment for your Independent Study will be a little different than other classes you have taken from me. Along with some basic criteria for your project and reflection, I have also included a number of criteria on your ability to problem-solve and think critically, demonstrate characteristics of a lifelong learner, demonstrate basic information literacy skill, and demonstrate written communication skills. The rubric below details these criteria.
Minimum for Target (90%) = 16.2 out of 18 points for each App
Overall Project Dimensions Target (3 pts.) Acceptable (2 pts.) Under Performing (1 pt.) Goal Achievement The student was able to complete the project on time and meet 90% of his/her goals as defined in the Project Description. The student was able to complete the project on time and met 80% of his/her goals as defined in the Project Description. The student was able to complete the project on time and met less than 80% of his/her goals as defined in the Project Description. Intellectual advancement The student demonstrated significant intellectual development over the course of the project. The student demonstrated some intellectual development over the course of the project. The student demonstrated minimal intellectual development over the course of the project. Overall Reflection Dimensions Target (3 pts.) Acceptable (2 pts.) Under Performing (1 pt.) The student reflected on 90% or more of the required questions. The student reflected on 80% of the required questions. The student reflected on less than 80% of the required questions. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Dimensions Target (3 pts.) Acceptable (2 pts.) Under Performing (1 pt.) Taking Risks The student actively sought out and followed through on untested and potentially risky directions or approaches to completing the product. The student incorporated new directions or approaches to the project in the final product. The student stayed strictly within the guidelines of the project. Define Problem The student demonstrated the ability to construct a clear and insightful problem statement with evidence of all relevant contextual factors. The student demonstrated the ability to construct a problem statement with evidence of most relevant contextual factors, and problem statement is adequately detailed. The student demonstrated a limited ability in identifying a problem statement or related contextual factors. Topic selection The student identified a creative, focused, and manageable topic that addresses potentially significant yet previously less- explored aspects of the topic. The student identified a focused and manageable/doable topic that appropriately addresses relevant aspects of the topic. The student identified a topic that was far too general and wide-ranging as to be manageable and doable. Solving Problems The student not only developed a logical, consistent plan to solve any problems, but recognized the consequences of solution and can articulate reason for selection. The student, having selected from among alternatives, developed a logical, consistent plan to solve the problem. The student only considered a single approach that was used to solve the problem. Limitations and Implications The student discussed in detail relevant and supported limitations and implications. The student discussed relevant and supported limitations and implications but the discussion lacked focus. The student presented limitations and implications, but they were possibly irrelevant and/or unsupported. Identify Strategies The student identified multiple approaches for solving the problem that applied within the specific context of the project. The student identified multiple approaches for solving the problem, only some of which applied within a specific context. The student identified one or more approaches for solving the problem that did not apply within a specific context. Implement Solution The student implemented the solution(s) in a manner that addressed thoroughly and deeply multiple contextual factors of the problem. The student implemented the solution in a manner that addressed multiple contextual factors of the problem in a surface manner. The student implemented the solution in a manner that does not directly address the problem statement. Lifelong Learning Dimensions Target (3 pts.) Acceptable (2 pts.) Under Performing (1 pt.) Curiosity The student explored a topic in depth, yielding a rich awareness and/or little-known information indicating intense interest in the subject. The student explored a topic in depth, yielding insight and/or information indicating interest in the subject. The student explored a topic at a surface level, providing little insight and/or information beyond the very basic facts indicating low interest in the subject. Initiative The student completed the required work, generated and pursued opportunities to expand knowledge, skills, and abilities. The student completed the required work, identified and pursued opportunities to expand knowledge, skills, and abilities. The student completed required work. Writing Dimensions Target (3 pts.) Acceptable (2 pts.) Under Performing (1 pt.) Context of and Purpose for Writing The student demonstrated a thorough understanding of context, audience, and purpose that was responsive to reflection and OneNote writing works The student demonstrated adequate consideration of context, audience, and purpose and a clear focus on the reflection and other writing works The student demonstrated minimal attention to context, audience, purpose. Mastery of Language The student used appropriate, relevant, and compelling language to illustrate mastery of the subject, conveying the writer's understanding, and shaping the whole work. The student used appropriate, relevant, and compelling language to explore ideas within the context of the discipline and shape the whole work. The student used appropriate and relevant language to develop simple ideas in some parts of the work. Control of Syntax and Mechanics The student used graceful language that skillfully communicated meaning to readers with clarity and fluency, and was virtually error- free. The student used straightforward language that generally conveyed meaning to the reader. Writing had few errors. The student used language that sometimes impeded meaning because of errors in usage.
** These directions have been modified from the Student Expectations for Independent Study Courses developed by the The Institute of Police Technology and Management: http://otis.iptm.org/pdf/Independent%20Study%20Student%20Expectations.pdf, Accessed August 10, 2015.