GLCM students in their graduate year will do two 2-hour independent study courses on the construction techniques, project management styles, or organizational issues observed during their summer internships. These independent studies are formulated to promote collaboration with companies to solve a practical construction problem. This independent study has been conceived as a collaborative effort between the UIUC faculty, students, and the companies. At the end of the independent study, students will have tangible deliveries for the construction company. The period for the independent study component runs over 9 months and can cover potential issues and problems encountered in the construction industry such as productivity, human resources (i.e., training), construction means and methods as well as certification process (e.g., ISO, LEED, PE), construction safety and special programs (i.e., implementation of new technology).
The independent study process starts with problem identification and scope definition followed by an update meeting with the UIUC faculty and industry participants. Based on the result of the preliminary study data would be collected, analyzed, and validated followed by another update meeting. A series of recommendations are concluded based on the independent study performed and the results will be presented to the companies.
The broader impacts of this independent study are: (1) research experience for our GLCM students; (2) collaboration with the construction industry; (3) identification of new research areas; and (4) tangible deliverable to the industry. This process provides a win-win scenario for all stakeholders (i.e., GLCM students, faculty, as well as the industry partners).
Because the GLCM curriculum spans both a senior and graduate year for each student, GLCM students also undertake a 1-hour independent study during their first semester as GLCM student as a second semester senior. These 1-hour independent studies are designed to look critically at the construction means and methods that were exposed to students during their first international trip during the winter break. The independent study is meant to engage newly admitted students into the GLCM approach of projects as unique opportunities for practical learning. Past GLCM project topics range from as general as canal construction to as specific as formwork types. Overall, these independent study projects are meant to be a tool to facilitate critical thinking during the first international trip in order to facilitate applied knowledge of the project visit experiences.