American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Independent Study Orientation

This orientation explains the concept of an independent study (IS) and describes the process of developing, monitoring and approving an IS. Please contact your provider manager at any point in the IS experience if further clarification is needed.

What is an IS?

  • A learner initiated and designed educational experience for the enhancement of skills and knowledge in a specific area that is relevant to the field of communication disorders
  • An experience proposed by the learner and reviewed, monitored, and approved by the CE Administrator (CEA) of the ASHA Approved Independent Study Provider
  • An opportunity for a learner to design individualized learning activities to meet specific learning needs

How do I know if my organization is an ASHA Approved Independent Study Provider?

When your organization initially applied to become an ASHA Approved Provider, there was an option to apply to become an ASHA Approved Independent Study Provider. To check on your IS status, go to Locate ASHA Approved CE Providers on the main ASHA Web site. All ASHA Approved Independent Study Providers are identified by a yellow I-Study tag. If your organization does not currently have this designation, and you would like to offer this option, contact your provider manager for application procedures. There is no additional fee.

How does an IS work?

Participant decides to engage in an IS.

Participant contacts an ASHA Approved Independent Study Provider.

  • Participant must contact the ASHA Approved IS Provider prior to the start of the IS plan.
  • Providers may refuse to monitor or approve plans that are not planned and approved by the Provider before beginning the course.

Upon initial contact, Provider informs the participant of its procedures & policies related to the IS plan, including its fees & refund policy.

  • Providers may charge participants a fee to monitor and process the IS.
  • The IS must be a unique learning experience; no two are alike.
  • Provider-initiated group activities are not appropriate for IS.
  • Providers have the right to refuse to oversee an IS.
  • Providers may limit the number of plans they will monitor each year or only accept plans for members/staff in their organization.

Provider determines whether or not to oversee the IS.

  • After discussion about and review of the participant's IS plan, the CEA indicates to the participant whether he/she will assist in the planning, monitoring, and approving (upon satisfactory completion) of the IS.
  • Plans that do not meet the CEB's requirements, or that were completed before the Provider was contacted, must be refused. The CEB does not award CEUs retroactively for an IS completed without Provider pre-approval of the plan.
  • IS content must relate to the science and practice of speech-language pathology, audiology, or speech-language-hearing sciences.

CEA and participant agree to participate in an IS plan that follows the CEB's requirements. They complete pages 1 and 2 of the IS Activity Form.

  • CEA assists the participant in planning the learning activity which is then described on pages 1 and 2 of the IS Activity Form.
  • Once the plan is developed and the CEA and participant agree on all components, the participant, CEA, and instructor (if applicable) sign and date page 2 of the IS Activity Form . This date reflects the date the plan was developed and must be prior to the start date of the IS.
  • CEA retains pages 1 and 2; participant retains a copy of pages 1 and 2.
  • Important: CEA does not send any information about the IS plan to ASHA CE until after the participant has completed the entire IS.

Participant completes the IS and submits all required paperwork to the CEA.

  • Participant completes the Independent Study Activity Evaluation section (page 3 of the IS Activity Form) and submits it to the CEA, along with all documentation verifying satisfactory completion.

CEA reviews the IS documentation submitted by the participant and verifies satisfactory completion by:

  • Completing the Verification of Satisfactory Completion and Awarding of CEUs section (page 3 of the IS Activity Form)
  • Completing the Program Evaluation section (page 3 of the IS Activity Form )
  • Signing and dating page 3 of the IS Activity Form
  • Note: CEA should make copies of all forms and supporting documentation

CEA forwards the completed IS Activity Form, and any supporting documentation, to ASHA CE.

  • Original IS Activity Form (all 3 pages) and supporting documentation must be received at ASHA CE within 45 days of the IS completion date.

ASHA CEB reviews the IS Activity Form and awards CEUs.

  • IS Activity Form is reviewed to ensure all CEB requirements have been met.
  • ASHA CE staff contact the CEA and/or the participant if there are questions or missing information.
  • IS information and ASHA CEUs are entered on the participant's ASHA CE Registry transcript.
  • Note: Participant must pay the annual CE Registry fee in order to be awarded ASHA CEUs for the IS activity.

ASHA CE sends the CEA a Course Description Letter and a Course Roster.

  • CEA checks the course description letter and course roster against the copy of the IS Activity Form and immediately notifies his/her provider manager if any errors are found.
  • CEA retains a copy of the IS Activity Form, supporting documentation, course description letter, and course roster for at least 2 years.

How do I complete the Independent Study Activity Form [PDF]?

Many of these sections are similar to the Activity Registration Form. Those sections that are different and require further explanation are detailed.

Page 1 (completed prior to the IS experience):

  • ASHA Approved CE Provider
  • Provider Code
  • Activity Number
  • CE Administrator
  • Telephone
  • Title of Activity
  • Activity Description (This will appear on the participant's transcript.)
  • Dates of Activity (Time period may not exceed 12 consecutive months.)
  • Location of Activity (City, State)
  • CEUs
    • IS activities are limited to 2.0 CEUs (20 hours) per plan
    • Methods typically used for calculating CEUs for an IS are:
      • actual contact hours in attendance or time spent in an activity
      • actual contact hours plus self-documented preparation time
  • Subject Code
  • Instructional Level
  • Content Area
  • Type of Activity
    • There are 11 different types of IS activities (CEB Manual [PDF], page 167)
    • Explanation of each IS type (CEB Manual [PDF], pages 150-151)
    • Two of the most common types of IS activities are:
      • Traditional Independent Study
      • Non-ASHA CE Activity

Page 2 (completed prior to the IS experience):

  • Participant ID Information
  • Learning Outcomes
    • Participant describes his/her personal learning outcomes that are easy to observe/measure
    • Note: These are not the same as the objectives of a course or instructor
  • Description of Learning Activity (does not go on transcript)
    • Describe how learning outcomes will be accomplished
    • Include activity description, content, and materials that will be used to acquire new skills, knowledge, or attitudes
    • Attach appropriate documentation (e.g., instructor bio sketch)
  • Learning Resources
    • Identify the materials that will be used to accomplish learning outcomes (e.g. books, articles, handouts)
  • Assessment Method
    • Identify the method that will be used to determine if learning outcomes have been achieved (written, oral, or other-please specify)
  • Satisfactory Completion
    • How will the participant demonstrate successful completion of the activity?
    • Must match Verification of Satisfactory Completion on page 3 of IS Activity Form which is completed by the CEA. For example, if the Satisfactory Completion section lists "complete written summary of activity," this written summary should be verified by the CEA.
  • Provider and Participant Agreement
    • Must be signed by CEA and the participant when the activity is planned (prior to the start date of the activity)
    • Signed by instructor, if applicable

Page 3 (completed after the IS experience):

  • Independent Study Activity Evaluation
    • Completed by the participant
    • Identifies any changes he/she would make in planning and implementing a future IS activity
  • Verification of Satisfactory Completion
    • Completed by the CEA
    • Must match Satisfactory Completion on page 2 of the IS Activity Form. For example, if Satisfactory Completion section states "complete written summary of activity," this written summary should be verified and noted in the Verification of Satisfactory Completion section by the CEA.
  • Program Evaluation
    • Completed by the CEA
    • What changes, if any, will you make the next time your review and monitor future IS plans?
  • ASHA CE Administrator Signature and Confirmation
    • Signed by the CEA certifying the IS was completed as described in the plan

What are the timelines?

  • ASHA CE must receive the completed IS Activity Plan and supporting documentation within 45 days of the IS completion date.
  • Please do not submit an Activity Report Form or an ASHA CEU Participant Form.

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