By ALLISON BRINKERHOFF
BYU makes many new experiences possible through its growing Independent Study Program, said Dwight Laws, IS director.
For many students, experiencing the people and culture in Jerusalem is a highlight of their BYU education, said Cathryn Kramer.
Kramer, 21, a junior from Orem majoring in history, said she has wonderful memories of her trip to Jerusalem this past summer.
“It was a really spiritual experience. I wish there was enough room and money for everybody to experience it,” Kramer said.
Although not everyone who wishes to experience the Holy Land can be accomodated, a new Near Eastern IS course makes it possible to study Jerusalem without actually going there. The course is Near Eastern Studies 398R: People and Cultures of the Holy Land.
“We are really excited about this course,” Laws said. “When I went to the Holy Land I went with Dan Hone, who will be teaching the course through the Independent Study program. He’s lived there before and knows the material well. I know that he can make this course come alive.”
Kramer said she is glad BYU is providing this opportunity for students.
“I think it’s wonderful that BYU has made it possible for people to experience a part of the Holy Land, no matter what their circumstances are,” she said.
The Near Eastern Studies course is one of 60 courses offered through IS.
“We are adding new classes all the time,” said Duane Hiatt, editorial and media publicist for the continuing education program.
It is easy to find out what courses are available, Hiatt said. Students can call the continuing education department for a catalog or visit the site on the Web by selecting continuing education from BYU’s Internet home page.
Laws said anyone can take Independent Study through BYU.
“You don’t have to be a student here, or anywhere for that matter. And every participant has up to a year to complete each course, so it’s great for those who cannot conform to the regular rigors of campus life,” he said.
It is even possible to merit a bachelor’s degree in general studies via Independent Study, Laws said.
“It isn’t possible to graduate without some sort of on-campus work, but the possibilities are growing. We’ve come a long way with this program lately,” Laws said.