Guidelines for College Credit

Framework for Acquiring College Credit for Attending the ACTFL Annual Convention and World Languages Expo: Guidelines for Independent Study Course

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These guidelines are designed to help language educators who are interested in receiving college credit for knowledge and skills gained through participation in the ACTFL Annual Convention and World Languages Expo. These guidelines for receiving college credit provide a framework for educators to describe, in an organized manner, the wide range of knowledge and competencies that are acquired through professional development offerings available at the ACTFL Annual Convention and World Languages Expo. Although the content and subject matter of all proposals will be different, the structure will be the same. Please keep in mind that this is only a suggested framework, which may be subject to revisions by individual institutions.

The guidelines provide important information, including:

  • Reasons to take part in an independent study course
  • Steps to submit a proposal for an independent study course
  • Framework for a proposal
  • Examples of independent study courses

"It is the hope of ACTFL’s Convention Committee that these guidelines will provide you with a useful framework for developing an independent study course for college credit centered on the ACTFL Convention, including justification for such an experience as well as sample outcomes and activities."
- Kathy Shelton, Convention Committee Chair and Education Specialist for World Languages and Cultures at the Ohio Department of Education and L.J. Randolph, ACTFL President-elect and Assistant Professor of World Language Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Reasons to take part in an independent study course:

  • Attending a national convention such as the ACTFL Annual Convention is an important professional development activity. Receiving independent study credit validates the importance of the experience. The opportunity to formalize new knowledge through written reports and apply newly acquired skills and competencies in the participant’s work role increases the value of the learning experience for both the individual and the employer.
  • Participating in a series of planned educational experiences will help develop future professional leaders by using the ACTFL Annual Convention as part of the higher education process.
  • Planning an independent study in advance will give the attendees the opportunity to know the requirements to receive credit for participation before the convention.
  • Selecting a higher education institution in which attendees are already enrolled or that is in their area or state will eliminate problems such as transferring courses and out-of-state tuition charges.

Steps to submit a proposal for an independent study course:

  1. Check with your faculty advisor or department chair to verify that an independent study course is acceptable as part of your program.
  2. Review the current list of courses offered by your college or university to see if there is a course number that fits this purpose.
  3. Develop a proposal. Follow the framework structure outlined below.
  4. Submit the proposal to your advisor for discussion and approval. The proposal should include all components of the independent course (e.g., learning objectives, activities, evaluation, how the independent study will supplement other coursework, etc.)

Framework for proposal:

  • Identify a clear title of the learning area or course for your independent study.
  • Indicate how much credit you want to receive and how many hours you will invest (Guidelines in Higher Ed are usually 1 credit hour for each 15 instructional hours).
  • Develop objectives for your study that relate to what you want to learn and are realistic for the number of hours in which you are enrolling.
  • Describe readings, activities, and assignments that will meet your objectives.
  • Propose how your course will be evaluated. If applicable, specify how grades will be determined. For courses offered on a pass/fail basis, outline what the criteria will be for receiving a passing grade.

Examples of independent study courses:

The following are examples of independent study courses that could be designed in conjunction with the ACTFL Annual Convention and World Languages Expo offerings. These examples may be helpful in providing a starting point. Individuals and their professors should work together to agree on activities, expectations, evaluation, and other components of the independent study course.

Example #1

Independent Study Title: Current Trends and Practices in Language Education Hours of Credit: One

Example #2

Independent Study Title: Current Trends and Practices in Language Education Hours of Credit: Three