Please consult the information below to learn more about the process of conducting your own applied study term.
- Taking AST for Degree Credit
- Getting Started: Consultation
- Finding an AST Placement
- Before You Enroll in a Course
- Components of the Course
- Assessment and Grading
UIS recommends that students take their AST after they complete at least 9 semester hours in the academic major (300- or 400-level courses). Some programs require additional prerequisites before doing AST. Most students will be 2nd-semester juniors or seniors while conducting an applied study term.
AST as ECCE: Engaged Citizen Community Experience
All ASTs under ECCE fall under one or both ECCE categories, Engagement Experience and ECCE Elective. The AST must be a structured opportunity which integrates knowledge, experience, and reflection. First and foremost, the AST must be constituted by a learning experience, which may or may not involve service. AST may also fulfill General Electives. Students under ECCE work 50 hours for each credit to be earned.
All ASTs under ECCE Engagement Experience must involve engagement with people, issues, and contexts that broaden the student’s understanding and practice of social responsibility.
AST as a University Requirement
All degree-seeking undergraduates who began studying at UIS prior to Fall 2007 can apply AST and E.C.C.E. Global Awareness or U.S. Communities credit hours to fulfill part of the UIS Requirement (12 semester hours from among public affairs colloquia PAC, liberal studies colloquia LSC, and applied study term AST at UIS). Students under this requirement work 40 hours for each credit earned.
Another 2-4 semester hours of AST may be taken for elective credit with permission of the student’s academic advisor, for a total of 12 hours of AST credit.
Talk to your academic advisor. Close discussion between you and your advisor will help ensure that your AST will fulfill your specific educational needs and career explorations.
You will need to write a proposal for an applied study experience and get your advisor’s approval before you begin your search for a job placement.
What is the Project AST or Creative Writing AST? Students choose to do a college-level Project AST or Creative Writing AST for a variety of reasons. They include:
- A research/writing project with a UIS professor or with another college or university professor.
- Write a novella or start a book; write collaborative book chapters; write a play, short stories, or poems.
- Travel or study abroad.
- An entrepreneurial endeavor such as starting your own business or creating new software.
- Volunteer for the Downstate Innocence Project.
Use the Project AST form to submit a Project AST or Creative Writing AST proposal.
When you meet with AST faculty, they will give you suggestions of possible placements and opportunities to explore. Students may also receive assistance with resume preparation and interviewing techniques.
Varied experiences are available according to student needs and interests. AST experiences have involved students in business, government, community services, biological and environmental enterprises, marketing, development, public relations, historical research, creative arts, and health and personal service occupations.
Scheduling is flexible and a variety of options are available to meet individual student needs.
All applied study terms must be no less than eight weeks in length. The most useful configurations:
- 15-16 weeks, part time, for 6- 8 credit hours (20 hours/week)
- 15-16 weeks, part time, for 3-4 credit hours (10 hours/week)
- 10 weeks, part-time, for 3 credit hours (15 hours/week)
- 8 weeks, full time, for 6-8 credit hours (37.5-40 hours per week)
- 8 weeks, part time, for 3-4 credit hours (20 hours per week)
AST can be done as part of a temporary employment assignment or with your current employer with a new learning experience that will fulfill specific educational needs and career exploration.
Talk with your work supervisor about the possibility of special projects or assignments that may not have been completed due to time constraints or lack of staff or a temporary re-assignment to a new department. Such projects can be done over two semesters working 10 hours a week.
The AST Project Outline is the form used to describe in detail the intended AST. If you have secured a placement, then your next step is to complete the AST Project Outline. Use the Project AST form if you are proposing a Creative Writing or Project AST.
This form must be completed by the student and returned to the AST Office prior to enrolling in the Applied Study Term.
Please read the Project Outline Form carefully. Describe in detail the proposed applied study. If the placement provided a job description, you may attach it to the Project Outline.
Your signature and those of your field supervisor and academic advisor are required on this outline. Bring the signed outline to the AST office and electronic permission will allow you to register for an AST seminar section.
Consult the UIS Course Schedule for dates, times and locations of the different sections.
AST Seminars – the seminars (required attendance) will guide you through the semester. Each will focus on a major portion of the AST process. Seminars are available either online or onground.
The Applied Learning Hours (“hours on the clock”) The basic formula is: 1 credit hour of AST = 50 hours of applied learning. (Students under University Requirement work 40 hours per credit hour).
Journal – the AST Journal is one of the most significant components of your AST. It is not a log, but a daily reflective journal in which you process each day’s experience and reflect upon your learning.
What was the quality of the day’s learning? What did you learn? What should you have learned? How might you have learned more effectively? Who or what was a problem or a help? What went well? What was exciting or boring about the day?
Your journal allows you to write about the persons, places, and things of your learning.
Kolb’s Learning Cycle – the process of learning is divided into four distinct stages. Knowledge of this cycle will help you to understand how you go about learning in your AST experience. With the learning cycle, you can develop better problem-solving skills.
Learning Style Inventory – a short learning test designed to show you which of the four styles of learning you use most. After discovering where your strengths lie, you may want to develop one or more of the learning styles in which you are weak. As a result, you will become a well-rounded learner.
Learning History – an opportunity to examine how you learn now, in what ways you’ve learned in the past, and where your learning is headed in the future. It is a way to see trends in your learning.
Learning Contract – writing this document will allow you to specify what you want to learn during the term. In the learning contract you described what will be learned and how you will go about learning it. You will also outline the resources to be consulted and how you will evaluate your learning.
Site Visit – you, your Field Supervisor, and your UIS Supervisor will meet at the placement site and you will present your learning contract. You will also give your UIS Supervisor a tour of the site.
Midterm Self-Assessment – at time for summing up what has happened thus far and making any necessary changes in your learning contract. There are four questions to be answered in the AST Handbook.
Final Self-Assessment– this is where you tie everything together to ensure that all the important aspects of your AST experience are covered. Your AST Journal will be especially helpful in writing the final.
Often the academic advisor (or a faculty member of the program) or a member of the AST faculty will serve as the student’s UIS supervisor of the AST experience.
This advisor will make at least one on-site visit during the learning project to discuss the student’s learning experiences with the student and the field supervisor. Telephone visits are used for online students.
The AST is graded on a credit/no credit basis determined by the requirements (Learning Contract, journal and self-assessments) and by the evaluations submitted by the Field Supervisor. Your UIS Supervisor will grant the credit.
The AST portfolio (Learning History, signed Learning Contract, Midterm Self-Assessment, Final Self-Assessment and Daily Reflective Journal) is due on the last day of classes each semester. This allows the UIS Supervisor time during finals week to evaluate the AST portfolio. Officially the portfolio is due within two weeks of the end date listed on the Learning Contract.
Extensions are NOT automatic but must be requested by the student and granted by the AST faculty. Students will not receive warning letters or telephone calls. It is the student’s responsibility to bring their AST to closure. Once given, a “NO CREDIT” cannot be changed unless the AST Office has made an error.
All papers must be typed in good, well-edited form.