By Mani Thangadurai, Staff Writer

The concept of self-directed or self-designed studying is a rather interesting one indeed; it’s offered for a number of subjects for students who are interested in learning something new which isn’t offered as a part of their curriculum.

In addition, it offers a new approach to education which goes beyond the student-teacher-classroom paradigm. Florida Southern College has over the years gained 3 Rs-Rave reviews, Respect and Recognition-for its innovative approach to teaching students, and the independent studies offered are a testament in many ways. With the prospect of deciding what he or she would like to study, this serves as a great opportunity for students to expand their learning horizons outside their curriculum and add a feather to their cap.

Directed or designed studies normally involve students undertaking a study of a particular case or set of topics which pertain to their major or subject which they are taking. This is offered to undergraduate students who meet the minimum academic requirements, and for graduate students they can choose to do a study as a part of their curriculum in lieu of a desired subject which may not be offered as a part of their curriculum.

There is great potential for these studies as a means of adding real weight to the students’ experience, but there are always several caveats involved. It goes without saying that any study must be supervised and met with the desired approval of the professor or professors involved, and it is of monumental importance that there is a consensus on the time frame within which it can be done. Effort should be taken to ensure that the material itself isn’t repetitive of earlier courses taken otherwise it would more or less be a waste of time. Regular communication with the professors is also important since any such study cannot be undertaken without their expert guidance. In addition, the relative lack of prescribed text materials means that any and all research must be done using library resources or other resources which come with the desired credibility and are not very easy to obtain.

However, with college being a period where students are expected to become more self-sufficient in their approach to study and research as a preparation for their life ahead, it’s quite apparent that a self-directed or self-designed study can prove to be a feather in their cap. Especially if certain students have a desire to enter into a doctorate program, it’s pertinent to note that most of the studying done there will be of a more independent nature where students will be expected to go above and beyond their textbooks and their curriculum in order to gain as much knowledge as possible. This will truly set them apart as prospective experts in their chosen field of study. Of course, these studies are not for everyone, but there will always be a desire among students to truly stand out in an academic sense and gain more out of their college experience. A self-directed study will almost certainly aid them in this regard.