By Matt Jackson, Opinion Editor

Along with increased enrollment, Asbury has continued to expand the number of majors that are offered and the courses available within each department. While the time spent in the classroom is vital to a student’s education, growth also occurs once students are able to apply the knowledge they have received in a more hands-on way. Thus many departments and major programs have begun to offer students the opportunity to learn through independent or directed studies.

Students who participate in directed study programs usually do so once they have reached upper level classes within their major requirements. Directed studies provide students an opportunity to build their portfolios by taking on projects and reading materials that are less restricted by the standard structure of a classroom. Instead of attending 2 or 3 weekly lectures, students meet with their respected professor individually to discuss the learning outcomes and progress of the course. Asbury junior Mary Holland Fulgham said, “My directed study has been beneficial because it literally provides a one-on-one, teacher-to-student interaction that is much more personable than what one may find in a classroom.”

Nevertheless, students who find themselves in directed studies do not always do so by choice. When a class is canceled or restructured due to low registration or understaffing, students may take a directed study solely to meet a course requirement. While a directed study is usually not the sole option students have to meet an unfulfilled requirement (students may also choose to substitute one course for a similar one), it is often the most convenient. While the convenience aspect of learning a particular set of skills or knowledge on your own time and schedule is appealing, students within such programs say it is not always beneficial.

“You are completely on your own and it can be easy to overlook the needs of such a class for your other ones,” said Fulgham. Much of participating in and meeting the objectives of a directed study depend on a student’s willingness to be responsible with their time.

Due to the constantly growing nature of our liberal arts college, students can expect to continue seeing a rise in the amount of directed studies offered. As administration prepares to offer students the opportunity to broaden the horizons of their education, offering more independent type studies may grow more and more popular. While most students may prefer to continue learning in a classroom and lecture style course, the need to meet certain requirements within a given semester may override this desired learning structure. Thus, directed studies offer an innovative and challenging opportunity for students to pursue a greater skill set.