ETEC 580: Self-Directed Research Projects

ETEC 580: Problems in Education: Self-Directed Study in Educational Technology (elective course)


Throughout the Faculty of Education, courses numbered 580 are listed under various prefixes and are intended to provide opportunities for students to engage in self-directed study and research on a topic or issue not otherwise included in the regular curriculum. The 580 course(s) may be taken in the Winter Session (September-April) and the Summer Session (May-August).

All 580 courses must be supervised by a MET instructor or a suitable faculty member, and all are graded. Students who wish to include a 580 in their program of study should first consult with and receive approval from the MET Advisor. Once that approval is received, the student can approach a faculty member to discuss the nature of the 580 including both faculty and student expectations. Faculty members are not obligated to supervise 580s, but most are willing to consider proposals from students.

Supervising faculty members should have knowledge or expertise in the area to be studied and should help the student develop a reading list or other appropriate references, and identify other resources necessary to complete the project.

Students may discuss their ideas informally at first, but a brief written proposal must be approved by the supervising faculty member before substantive work begins on the project. Download the ETEC 580 Proposal form. Copies of the approved proposal should be retained by both the supervising faculty member and the student.

The proposal should include the following information::

  • the purpose of the 580
  • how the 580 fits in with the student’s program of study
  • what literature will be read (including a tentative reading list)
  • any other resources that will be used in the course
  • the timeline for the course including the date it will begin, when it will end, and the approximate dates of proposed
  • meetings with the supervising faculty member
  • expectations of the student and supervising faculty member about the breadth and depth of reading and analysis
  • a description of what will be produced that will be the basis for a grade
  • criteria regarded as important in assessing the product produced

Ethics Approval

If an application to the UBC Behavioral Research Ethics Board (BREB) is required for a project, it is expected that the student will “draft” the application on the BREB-RISe ( website. Note that students must complete the Introductory Tutorial for the Tri-Council Policy Statement (TCPS2 2014) before they can be part of a project requiring BREB approval. Applications to the BREB must be approved and submitted by a Faculty member who is authorized to serve as a Principal Investigator (PI) on research projects. If the ETEC 580 project supervisor does not have BREB PI status, arrangements will need to be made for a person with PI status to make the submission on behalf of the 580 supervisor.

Registering for 580

Students cannot register for a 580 directly; they must do so through the Department’s Graduate Program Assistant. To register for a 580 students must have approval from both their advisor and the 580 supervisor.

Complete the ETEC 580 Proposal Form, have it signed by both your advisor and 580 supervisor (or attach emails confirming their approval), then submit it to the Graduate Program Assistant (David Roy, who will then register you in the course and put a copy of the signed form in your file.

Note that all registration-related deadlines listed in the University Calendar apply to 580s. If you expect that your 580 will be completed in a different term than when you started it, then register for it in the term in which it will be completed so a mark can be submitted.