Learning Goal: Describe what you intend to learn through your independent study. Be specific. Is your primary aim gaining, applying, or testing a particular body of knowledge or acquiring or improving upon a particular skill or set of skills? Write one sentence for each goal. Number your goals so that number 1 under Strategies and under Evaluation correspond to Goal number 1.

Strategies: Describe what you will do to reach your goals. Will you undergo training? How many hours? Will you be working on a specific project? Will you ask your faculty sponsor to recommend certain materials, books, or articles for you to read? Will you attend any related conferences or meetings? Do you plan to interview professionals or experts? You can use more than one strategy to meet each goal.

Evaulation Method: Describe how you will demonstrate and show others that you have achieved your learning goals or made progress toward them. Will you keep a journal? Will you summarize that journal into a final statement of what you learned through the semester or organize data collected from the learning experience into a research project? Will you compile records of your activities through the semester (reports, or other written materials you have prepared for the organization, notes on training sessions, staff meetings, conferences, other’s comments on your work?) What about preparing and giving a presentation for a seminar or a class? How are you going to discuss the information you acquire with your faculty sponsor? Use these suggestions or other ideas you have (perhaps a videotape, slide show or audio recording) to demonstrate to others what you have learned during your independent study.

Reminder: Goals can change. Generally they are re-evaluated at mid-semester and adjusted accordingly. What is important is that you are on top of those changes — that you are consciously choosing to pursue Goal B over Goal A. Don’t forget that your faculty sponsor must approve any changes.

Steps to Take:

1. Study learning contract and requirements.

2. Identify a potential faculty sponsor and meet with him or her.

3. Negotiate your learning contract and determine instructor’s grading rubric.

4. Have contract confirmed through required signatures.

5. Register for JOUR 398/698 under your faculty sponsor’s section

Independent Study Contract (PDF)