Independent study courses offered over the Web

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    By ERIC ANDERSON

    The Independent Study program is keeping up with the technical capabilities of the Internet by offering two independent study courses over the Web.

    The two courses offered are Humanities 201 “History of Civilization” and Religion C 324 — “Doctrine and Covenants sections 1-70.”

    A CD-ROM has recently been developed to accompany the two Web courses, which have been available for the last six months. The CD-ROM has clips from professors and classes and are meant to enhance the course. But that’s not all of the clips on the CD-ROMS.

    “In the Doctrine and Covenants class we have shots of some of the prophets making statements that are part of the instruction,” said Dwight Laws, director of independent study.

    Grading on the Web is immediate.

    “The Web indicates which answers are correct and which are incorrect. We maintain a database of feedback statements for all missed answers. This is very important because even in a classroom an instructor may not have the time necessary to give all of that feedback,” Laws said.

    Sean Poynter, a second-year graduate student, from Petaluma, Calif., in the Masters of Accounting program, has first hand experience with a Web course. He is enrolled in Humanities 201.

    “I turned in a written assignment and instantly had my score. It was really good to get instant feedback,” he said.

    Poynter really enjoys another advantage of these courses.

    “If you have a book and syllabus, your research is usually limited to that book and syllabus. But with a class on the Web, you sometimes receive Web addresses to look at and study as in depth as you want,” he said.

    According to the 1997-98 Independent Study Course Catalog, the mission of the Department of Independent Study is “to make quality educational experiences available to all who can benefit from individualized learning.”

    The Web courses offer an effective way to fulfill this mission and provide opportunities for education to people all over the world, Laws said.

    “Our purpose is to outreach to students that cannot come to campus. When we put our first course on the Web, the first person that signed up for it was in Japan,” Laws said.

    “This is a very exciting concept. I think that it gives BYU an opportunity to reach out in ways that it never had before to serve the church and, in fact, the world in terms of helping people learn and have opportunities for education,” Laws said.

    Students interested in taking Independent Study courses, via traditional correspondence or the Web, can contact the Independent Study office at 378-2868 or visit the office in room 206 of the Harman Building. Or, visit the Web page at http://coned.byu.edu/is/ and click on the “Enroll Online” option and fill out the form.

    The Department of Independent Study hopes to eventually have most, if not all, of its 125 available courses offered through the Web.

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