Academic Spotlight: Developing Your Own Course

woman studying in library

Yes, you read that title correctly! As a student, you have the option to develop and pitch your own proposal for a course created solely by you. The course is titled CM 491 – Independent Research (3 credits). You must have completed 15 credits of your prerequisite classes and you have to come up with your own syllabus. The syllabus should consist of an overall goal or objective, in-depth description of sections of the curriculum, and a weekly calendar with what you will be working on. Lastly, you will need approval from the academic director and find a professor that is willing to oversee your independent course.

Just like everything, there are pros and cons to developing and taking your own class. The benefits include the flexibility in creating your own schedule, a hands-on approach rather than a traditional class setting (whether it be online or in-person), and the opportunity to create a class that caters to the specific career path you want to take. However, since this is an independent course, a lot is required of you as the student. Setting up your own assignments and projects can be overwhelming. As a Communication and Media student, a lot of my assignments include writing articles, finding events that would be beneficial for my growth, podcasting, managing the school’s Instagram account and setting up interviews. The most challenging part for me is finding a space and people who would help and assist me for interviews that are either audio or video. Also, reaching out to people who are willing to let me interview them.

Designing and taking your own course is not for everyone. Some individuals work better being managed by a professor, while others work well independently.

Here is my approved independent study course proposal:

7-week Independent Study Course

Goal – to take an independent study course in substitution to a traditional CM course. To build my professional portfolio, do hands-on work, and get better prepared for the real world.

  • Attend two in-person meetings with the CUNY SPS Kiosk team to assist with strategy and provide creative ideas for the site. (The CUNY SPS Kiosk currently meets on the first Thursday of every month, 6/7/18 and 7/5/18).
  • Social Media – Post at least once a week on Instagram, come up with ideas to boost engagement and following. (Ex. IG Challenges, IG takeover, IG collaborations, Student Spotlight).
  • Write & Edit a minimum of two articles weekly, consisting of no less than a 300-word count or more. Articles can be original pitches from the student, written interviews or articles ideas instructed by the professor.
  • Conduct 3 video, audio and/or transcript style interviews for the 7-week course.
  • Find events to attend – these events should be in relation to Film, TV, Communication, Journalism, and Media. (Ex: CUNY events, networking events, free NYC events). Share on IG stories about your experience with some highlights and a recap of the event.
  • Final Project – create a professional online portfolio with all the articles and interviews conducted during the summer session, as well as, any other work from past internships.

6/4/18 – 6/10/18

  1. Instagram post
  2. Two articles
  3. Attend CUNY SPS Kiosk meeting

6/11/18-6/17/18

  1. Instagram post
  2. Two Articles
  3. One Video/Audio Interview

6/18/10-6/24/18

  1. Instagram Post
  2. Two Articles
  3. Attend an event and share on IG Stories

6/25/18-7/1/18

  1. Instagram Post
  2. Two articles
  3. One Video/audio Interview

7/2/18-7/8/18

  1. Instagram Post
  2. Two Articles
  3. Attend a second in-person meeting

7/9/18-7/15/18

  1. Instagram Post
  2. Two Articles
  3. One Video/Audio Interview

7/16/18-7/19/18

  1. Instagram Post
  2. One Article
  3. Final Project
  4. Attend an event in person
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