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Online Masters in Computing in Education
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Online Masters in Computing in Education

Online Program > Independent Work

Independent Work

Independent Study and Fieldwork

Independent study and/or fieldwork can play a role in the program of any student in the Intensive or Online programs. In the Intensive program, to provide continuity between summer sessions and to deepen learning, students often pursue independent study or fieldwork in the Fall and Spring terms. Some of this work may be assigned by program instructors in July, and some designed by students in consultation with instructors and advisors of the program.

Students in the Online program may also find occasion to pursue independent work. Independent projects often focus on extending work done in courses, or in pursuing individual projects. They may consist of readings, writing papers, designing curriculum or staff development, and more.

Fieldwork is independent work done in schools (or other possible sites), such as trying out curriculum plans involving technology with students.



Following are possible examples of kinds of independent study and fieldwork projects:

  • If some topic in a course you have taken especially interests you and you want to pursue it, you may work with the course instructor to construct a program of further reading in the area, which you would summarize, interpret, and discuss with the instructor.
  • Reading in a given area (say, the use of cooperative learning with technology, or how students use the Web to do research) may result in some form of curriculum planning for the coming term.
  • Other kinds of written work could be done for independent study, such as: preparing papers for conferences or publication; working on planning documents for your school or district; or preparing grant proposals.
  • After planning some kind of school-related work with technology, you may decide to try it out in your school, keeping records of the implementation and discussing the results in writing. This would be regarded as fieldwork.
  • Other possible forms of fieldwork might include constructing surveys (say, related to the use of or attitudes about technology) and trying them out with teachers, administrators, or students in schools; or doing staff development work about technology and recording and discussing results. [Note: some forms of work in schools may require getting permission from the school and/or the college.]

This is just a sample of possibilities. Your own circumstances may lead you to think of other forms of independent work or work in schools or other institutions. Whatever ideas you have for independent study or fieldwork, you should prepare a summary and discuss it with your program advisor.