CTX commonly stresses that students are their priority. The open-door policy of professors, the discussion-based classes and even, in some circumstances, independent studies are the ways the university chooses to show students that it cares about their education. While CTX offers multiple courses to assist in earning a degree, one disadvantage to being in a small private university is that they don’t always offer courses in everything a student might need. This is where an independent study comes in to play.
An independent study is where students work with an advisor to create a course that fits their educational needs. Although this may seem like a dream to come up with your own course, they can actually be some of the most work-intensive classes a student takes.
To pursue an independent study, a student must first undergo a process of being approved by administrators and advisors. The first job of the student is to prepare an outline of their course which includes why they need the course, how much credit they will receive and for what area of study, what the course will consist of, what they will use as textbook references along with other small details they must include to convince a board that an independent study is right for them. In addition to this, there must be someone to grade and determine that the student it is getting all the work done that they need to earn the requested credits. This is where an advisor, usually a professor, steps up to the plate to guide the student on their journey of the independent study.
While taking part in making a course that fits your personal educational needs might sound easy, it is usually more work than a student might think.
Last year, my junior year, I decided to venture into this independent study territory. My independent study was a three-credit communications course. My mission was to be the editor-in-chief of the Spin News Magazine.
My job as editor-in-chief that semester was to release three different issues of the Spin Magazine. This required me to obtain a team of dedicated volunteers, write and edit articles, do business with our printers and take pictures along with other duties. All these responsibilities ended taking more time to complete than all of the courses I was currently taking combined. There were nights where I would stay up until morning editing articles, and even nights I stayed on campus until dark to fix layout and edits in order to meet my own set deadlines. Working my independent study as editor-in-chief was probably the most work, time and dedication intensive course I have ever taken.
Although my independent study semester as editor-in-chief was one of my most stressful, it was also the most rewarding.
“I love being a part of the Tornado Radio. Having the independent study for the podcast and Tornado Radio makes my independent study more worthwhile,” said student Michael Barnett.
Michael Barnett is a communications major who is perusing an independent study in communications. His focus for his independent study is to lead the student radio program called the Tornado Radio. He is overseen by Dr. Philip Hohle. Throughout his course, Barnett has managed the station by creating events, hosting special guests, hosting radio shows and even helping other students with their radio shows. He is usually on-call for anyone who has a quick question about the operation when they are hosting the radio. This is no easy job for any student.
Participating in an independent gives a student a sense of accomplishment, independence, responsibility, leadership, and dedication. While it may seem like an easy task, it may be one of the most time-consuming. CTX gives students the opportunity to expand their learning horizons beyond what they offer in their standard classes. An independent study is an open door to learning more about what interests students personally.
– Written By Bianca Paz