ETEC 580: Directed Study / Problems in Education


A directed studies course offers you the opportunity to develop a focused independent program of study under faculty supervision. Directed studies courses are equivalent to other ETEC courses in both quantity and quality of work (e.g., readings, activities, and assignments) and are graded. They should allow you to explore topics otherwise not included in regular courses or seminars at UBC.


ETEC 580 projects are only available to students enrolled in the MET degree program.

Like all MET courses, ETEC 580 courses are worth 3 credits. Normally, students are advised to limit the total number of ETEC 580/581 credits to 6.

Typically, students are expected to have successfully completed at least six ETEC courses, including all core courses, before undertaking an ETEC 580 project.

If you have more questions about planning an ETEC 580 project, or your eligibility, contact the MET Academic Advisor.

Learning Objectives

ETEC 580 projects are made possible to enable you to:

  • Develop knowledge and expertise in specialized areas of interest.
  • Conduct self-directed inquiries in technology education.

Topics and Assignments

Your proposed directed study topic should be related to questions of educational technology, broadly construed. Assignments may include literature reviews, conceptual-philosophical papers, analytical essays, creative multimedia work, and so on. Normally we advise against any research with human participants in the context of an ETEC 580 course. At UBC, “all research involving human participants – and all other activities which, even in part, involve such research – must be reviewed and approved by a UBC-affiliated Research Ethics Board (REB)” prior to the commencement of the research (UBC REB). Ethics review is a long process that is not normally feasible in a directed studies course. In proposing your course, you should therefore avoid including methods such as surveys, interviews, collection of or commentary on student work, etc. In short, you may not collect data from your own students or colleagues, even if you have approval to do so from your home institution or place of work and even if the only reader of your work will be your supervisor. For more information about what sort of research must be approved by the UBC REB, visit this page.

Your responsibilities

If you wish to include a 580 project in your program of study, you should first consult with and receive approval from the MET Academic Advisor. To propose an ETEC 580 directed studies course, you should identify a topic and a possible supervisor whose teaching or research interests align with the proposed topic area. ETEC 580 supervisors are normally selected from among MET instructors; however, MET students may also ask faculty members who teach in other UBC graduate programs to supervise. If required, the MET Academic Advisor may be able to help identify an appropriate supervisor.

In consultation with the faculty member who has agreed to supervise, you are responsible for designing a course syllabus and submitting the completed and signed ETEC 580 Proposal Form to the MET Academic Advisor prior to the beginning of the term in which the course will be offered. The course syllabus should include the following:

  • Statement of purpose and objectives for the proposed directed study (include a working title for the directed study).
  • Course schedule (specify the form and frequency of student-supervisor consultations; also, specify the timeframe [e.g., number of weeks] over which the course will take place).
  • Expected outcomes and assignments (list the expected length, format, and due dates for primary course milestones, reports, papers, etc.).
  • Assessment plan (list all components of grading, along with weighting and criteria).

Registering for ETEC 580

You cannot register for a 580 directly; you must do so through the the MET Program. To register for a 580, you must have approval from both the Academic Advisor and your proposed ETEC 580 supervisor.

Submit your completed ETEC 580 Proposal Form to the MET Graduate Program Assistant at, 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.