Tuesday, February 08, 2005

In-de-pen-dent Study

Main Entry: 1in·de·pen·dent
Pronunciation: "in-d&-'pen-d&nt
Function: adjective
1 : not dependent: as a (1) : not subject to control by others : SELF-GOVERNING (2) : not affiliated with a larger controlling unit b (1) : not requiring or relying on something else : not contingent an independent conclusion (2) : not looking to others for one's opinions or for guidance in conduct (3) : not bound by or committed to a political party c (1) : not requiring or relying on others (as for care or livelihood) (2) : being enough to free one from the necessity of working for a living "a man of independent means"

I have had several students ask me for one of these each semester. Usually this is because they cannot take my class (either too full, or conflicts with their other classes) Not once has one offered to try to ask the other professor if they could take an independent study in their class.
If Independent studies were in fact "not looking to others, and not requiring others.." then they would not be such a problem. Instead, I get a couple students who occasionally show up with blank stares on their faces.. "Uh...what should I do?" Then if I don't offer them a detailed course plan which requires no extra work (beyond taking the quizzes) they run to their advisors and complain to the provost about me.
I seem to be laboring under a false understanding of the concept. When I took an IS in grad school, I went book in hand to my prof. I asked him if he had time. I said I wanted to read the book and write about it for an IS. He offered several other books I should read before or after. I wrote up a schedule of things I would give him... dates of papers, dates..of readings, etc.. Then I worked around his schedule to meet with him on occasion (usually after handing him written work). Isn't that the normal way an IS is supposed to work?
The DH wants me to make a standard form for IS students so there is no confusion about the requirements. Sigh. So much for Independent.

Did I mention I get $0 for each IS student?


At 5:59 PM, Blogger kfawell said...

Sounds like redundant study to me. As I read it, I heard in my mind, "Sam Lawry. MR. SAM LAWRY!" which is from Brazil which often enters my mind when I read/see similar situations.

Did you ever see the Southpark where Cartman gets the idea that he will enter Special Olympics so that he can easily win the contests and earn the $1000 award? He ends up losing every event by a large margin.

At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if you had a standard IS form which stated stuff like:
1. Decide on your course of study
2. Decide on the books you will use
3. Set up a schedule including the following:
three papers, etc...
Seems fair. Your class, your requirements.
I know, probably not, but...


At 1:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, as another scholar under the thumb of one D B-S and her evil toady KL, I steadfastly refuse to teach independent studies. When the students ask why, I tell them the truth: I don't get paid for them.

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Scholz said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 3:12 PM, Blogger Scholz said...

I've now designed a generic form for Indie Studies. I think it is sufficiently daunting to scare away all but the most desperate students.
I particularly like the part about requiring a Plan of Study to be submitted before the first day of classes. That should pretty much eliminate most students from elligibility. Muu Ha Ha


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