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Athabasca University

Project Courses: A Tutorial

Getting Started

Once I got the Prior Learning Assessment done I was ready to tackle the core courses of the Bachelor of Professional Arts (BPA). I was interested in Project Courses from quite early on in my studies.

The beauty of self-designed courses for me was that topics of interest that I usually couldn't spend much time on, became legitimate areas of intellectual inquiry. I could receive academic credit for the academic study of these topics.

Any pressure to make the course content immediately profitable, or to justify it in any career-oriented way, was removed. I could take ideas that had seemed far-fetched and really roll around in them. I then explored what was possible. By rolling around in a topic I mean following a line of research, or association that interested me the most for the pure joy of it. The SOLO Project has emerged in bits and pieces, like a puzzle. I used both PLAR and Project Courses to explore ideas and themes that had been of interest to me. From there, the big picture has emerged. I had no idea when I started where my ideas would lead or what would come out of my exploration.

Over time, ideas congealed, and a core emerged. I worked hard to have this happen without being able to say at the time how, when, or precisely what form it would take.

Interests that I wanted to explore:

  • The internet - My BPA major is Communications. I was interested in how this new media would impact youth.
  • Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE) of youth - I had worked with both street kids and sexually exploited youth for ten years.
  • United Nations, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and Human Rights in general.
  • Law enforcement aspects of CSE as they applied to the Internet - INTERPOL's efforts to identify the scope and impact of CSE.
  • Studies of pedophiles and their online activities.
  • International organizations and non-governmental organizations, (NGO's) disseminating information about CSE on the international stage.

Updated February 18 2016 by Student & Academic Services

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