Being in a class where currently we are given a significant amount of freedom in terms of working towards a final product. We, the students, are almost entirely left to research, implement, and finish our goal by ourselves; but this is not always good or bad.
I have found, being in both textbook-based guided learning classes as well as project-based free learning classes, that the success of a student varies greatly from person to person. Personally, i do better when i am in a guided learning environment, but i also feel that I work well in groups and in larger group projects. I know that for some people the thought of having a month and a half on your own to work on a project is a terrifying thing, me being one of them.
When working solo, a set plan that allows me to distribute my time and work towards deadlines works significantly better. Procrastination is the biggest enemy when working on a long-term project, and especially when you are by yourself it is very hard to not delay work. In large group projects, like the one are entire class is working on together currently, the role of planning and setting deadlines falls upon designated leaders.
For our group, the first thing we did was to elect two people to lead the group throughout the whole 8 weeks we had to complete the project. They created a calendar with very specific and set deadlines, and so far we have met them and are on track to a successful product. In my opinion, a clear cut plan that allots time to complete specific sections of the full piece is the best way to stay on track and make sure work is not delayed, and focus is kept on completing the main goal of the project.