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Athabasca University

Project Courses: A Tutorial


Remember that you can negotiate with the Course Coordinator and your project supervisor. Sometimes this process of negotiating sparks new ideas and directions for your work.

How Project and Directed Reading courses work

Creating and submitting an idea for a Project, or Directed Readings course should be done in close consultation with the Project professor.

There are three people involved in a project course:

  • Course Coordinator - a professor at Athabasca University
  • Course Supervisor - a person who has at least a Master's-level education and some expertise in the area the Project will cover
    • Generally someone who already knows the administrative ropes – an academic or one of your previous tutors is your best bet.
    • This person gets paid to supervise your coursework.
    • Having the course supervisor in the same geographical area is helpful too, as is being able to access someone in your work place or community.
    • Identifying an independent study course supervisor doesn't have to be painful.
    • You do have to have a Course Supervisor before you can register and start the course.
  • and the student.

There are three parts to setting up and completing an Independent Study Course:

  • Project Proposal - a short document written before the course begins
    • You submit a preliminary plan to the course coordinator prior to registering for a project or directed readings course. The Project Proposal is an overview of the idea.
    • Use the Project Proposal to test what will fly and what won't. The process of negotiation may spark new ideas. This initial interaction is intended to develop your idea far enough to generate a viable topic for a project proposal.
  • Learning Contract - More about this in a minute
  • Course Work - This is the actual work!
  • Use the Project Proposal to test what will fly and what won't. The process of negotiation may spark new ideas and refinement to the project.

Once the Course Coordinator has accepted the Project Proposal, then you can register for the course and start on the Learning Contract.

Updated February 18 2016 by Student & Academic Services

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