An Independent Study is the most flexible tool in the CMP/ACET system. It is provided for the benefit of the member and designed to capture their customized learning activity while meeting the needs of practice professionals. It is best designed for RID members who desire an alternative to traditional instructional activities for capturing their innovative education pursuits. Independent Study Guidelines are provided by RID to Sponsors. With the guidance of a Sponsor, participants can undertake a self-designed educational experience for the enhancement of skill and knowledge in a specific area. Such a program can be less expensive, offer a flexible time schedule and need not require travel.
A list of Sponsors is available at myaccount.rid.org by clicking on “Find a CMP/ACET Sponsor.” A specific search in the online database for the Sponsors who have been approved to provide Independent Study is available. A Sponsor may decline to sponsor an activity at their own discretion.
Under the direction of a Sponsor, individuals may design an Independent Study around many of their professional activities. However, Independent Study credit may not come from participants’ routine employment responsibilities or training required by employers for continued employment. Listed are some possible Independent Study options. Participants are encouraged to explore other options.
- Research: A participant may conduct original research.
- Course Instruction: A participant may develop and present information (a speech, workshop, short course and teleconference) and receive Independent Study CEUs for the development and presentation. These two activities are not mutually exclusive; participants may earn CEUs for either or both the development and presentation. Credit will be given only once during the cycle for each activity presented (For receiving credit for teaching a Sponsored Activity) (See Section VI G.3).
- Publication: A participant may write materials for publication (VIEWS articles, journals and books).
- Study Groups: A participant may meet with one or more persons at specified times to discuss topics related to the goals and objectives stated in the Activity Plan.
- Multi Media Instruction: A participant may independently review video and write a critical review and/or complete a questionnaire demonstrating an understanding of the presented materials.
- Mentorship: A participant may engage in a focused learning relationship with pre-approved goals and learning outcomes. CEUs may be awarded to both participants in the mentorship relationship. However, great care should be given to identify the learning the mentor (target of the Independent Study) will achieve. The Independent Study, if written for the mentor, will only consider the knowledge gained by the mentor and not apply in any fashion to the work done by the protégé or mentee.
- Literature review: A participant may review literature on a specified topic and submit a written summary. The summary could include critical comments and a plan for incorporating acquired information into professional practice.
- *Self-Study Curriculum: A participant may complete a commercially produced self-study.
*NOTE: If the course is all pre-designed, a self-directed study, and/or the participant does not add any individualized construction to the study, then it is appropriate to process as a PINRA.
The Sponsor must ensure the quality of the activity, accept the activity in advance as one that will earn CEUs, determine how many CEUs will be assigned, and document appropriate CEUs upon the satisfactory completion of the Independent Study. The Sponsor shall obtain, from the participant, a completed Independent Study Plan Form, in order to evaluate the proposed Independent Study (see Appendix E).
The Sponsor works with the participant, providing feedback and constructive assistance as the sponsor is able. When the Independent Study has been developed into a plan that both participant and Sponsor can support, the Sponsor will accept the proposal and sign-off.
C. Program Content and Delivery
The Sponsor, by signing the Independent Study Plan, will attest that the following criteria will be met with respect to instructional approaches, materials, activities, etc.:
- The content is based upon and appropriate to the stated goals and objectives of the Independent Study Activity.
- The activity is of sufficient duration to achieve the stated educational objectives.
- The content of the Independent Study Activity is designed to explore one subject.
- Independent Study Activities are limited to at most one year in duration.
- The method of delivery allows for active involvement on the part of the participant and encourages reinforcement of the learned knowledge or skill.
- The Sponsor and the participant jointly determine appropriate intervals throughout the Independent Study Activity to review progress.
- The Sponsor is the authority charged with the administration of the Independent Study. The Sponsor shall have the responsibility of determining that the contracted requirements are met.
- The Sponsor may designate an individual instructor/supervisor of the Independent Study Activity. However, the Sponsor retains the ultimate responsibility for administration and quality control.
- After satisfactory completion of the Independent Study, the Sponsor shall submit the activity to RID Headquarters online at rid.org no more than 45 days after the completion of the activity. The completed and signed Independent Study Activity Plan and Independent Study Activity Report (see Appendices E and F) should be kept on file by the sponsor for future auditing purposes.
E. Awarding CEUs for Independent Study Activities
- Most Independent Studies, while some of the most worthwhile educational experiences for interpreters, do not have the same documented value as traditional classroom or workshop studies. In the former, the participant is designing and exploring the educational content; in the latter the instructor has already completed most of this development work and delivers the most salient pieces for learning. In activities where the method of educational delivery does not lend itself to easy translation or calculation of CEUs, the Sponsor shall specify the method of determining the number of CEUs awarded for the Independent Study Activity. The PDC reserves the right to evaluate and determine the appropriateness of the number of CEUs assigned. It is a very rare situation where the Independent Study would qualify as an hour of work for every 0.1 CEU earned.
- Independent Study Activities are limited to a maximum 2.0 CEUs per Independent Study Plan. More than one Activity Plan may be filed for activities which are broad in scope and time-consuming and which have identifiable components with distinct educational objectives.
- The Sponsor and the participant shall verify the participant’s successful completion of the Independent Study Activity.
- In the event the Sponsor considers the participant’s work unsatisfactory for awarding CEUs, a written statement citing reasons for such a decision and suggestions for successful completion must be sent to the participant. The participant has the right to appeal the denial of CEUs.
- Under extenuating circumstances, Sponsors may grant additional time to complete an independent study, not to exceed one year.
The Sponsor may charge a reasonable fee for administering the Independent Study CEUs.