Independent Study Journal

  • Independent Study's primary aim is not only for you to learn, but for you to reflect on your learning. The journal is an important (and required!) part of any IS project. It is a set of documents in which you record not only your rate of progress, but your thoughts on what you are doing. Journals vary greatly in length and complexity, but your evaluators will consider them very closely when judging the value of your project It is the journal that tells the committee what problems you had along the way, why you might have had to change direction, what you are learning, and what you are thinking of as you work. It also gives some indication of the degree of persistence you have dedicated to the project. You should expect your adviser to review your journal from time to time and to see it in its final form before it is passed on to your evaluating committee.

    Here are some important details to remember about the journal:

    • Begin your journal with a brief description of your project, along with the direction that you believe the project will take, and what you think you will learn.
    • Each entry should be automatically dated by Google Sites when you create them, but make sure that they have a date. Keep track of the time you spend writing these, as they count towards your time sheet!
    • Your entries should reflect what you are currently doing, how you are doing it, and the problems that you are encountering at that time. Analyze how to solve these problems and what you are learning throughout the process. Each entry will reflect on feelings, as well as factual information.
    • As you continue working on your project, describe in your journal how you are solving problems, changes you are making, and how you think through each of your decisions. Describe what you are learning, and what your style of learning is.
    • Be sure to record any changes in direction that your study takes. If your project is taking a severely different direction, remember that you need to discuss this with your adviser and the coordinator as your contact may need to be rewritten.
    • Finally, write to think about the learning process and the progress that you are making in your study towards independent learning.
    • The journal is much more than a diary of what you are doing. It is a document which will capture your learning process.

    Your Google Site template includes a blog-style journal section where you can post each of your entries separately. This is where your journal will be kept and accessed.