The University of Edinburgh has announced the launch of a free pilot programme of student-led, credit-bearing courses due to begin this summer.
The Student-Led Individually Created Courses (SLICCs) will offer undergraduate students the opportunity to earn ten extra academic credits for involvement in a personal development or research project of their choosing, and is intended to help students develop their own set of personal and professional skills and attributes.
The SLICCs pilot programmes will only award additional credit outside of those earned by the student’s core credit courses, but are expected to expand to 20 credit courses and eventually be offered in place of optional credit courses once mainstreamed into the university’s academic protocol.
Depending on the success of the pilot programme, the SLICCs could be available to all students as early as the next academic year.
The move has come as a victory for Dash Sekhar, Vice President of Academic Affairs (VPAA) at Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA).
Sekhar told The Student: “It was a big focus in my manifesto and I’m glad it’s materialised, since it recognises students as creators and recipients of their curriculum, and that they already do great things outside their curriculum – except now they can get credit for it!”
The SLICCs pilot programme has already seen a remarkably positive reception from students at its launch event, attracting 40 direct sign-ups from approximately 65 attendees hailing from a variety of degree programmes.
Professor Ian Pirie, Assistant Principal of Learning and Development at the University of Edinburgh, was thrilled by the turn-out.
He told The Student; “I was delighted at the overwhelming and positive response from our students at the recent introduction of the SLICC concept. Our particular approach to the development of a university-wide framework to support the individual creation of personalised learning experiences for our students is, I believe, unique.
“Providing this new type of credit-bearing course where students create their course, self-reflect and formatively self-assess their own learning as part of their experience places the University of Edinburgh at the forefront of learning design.”
Due to the level of the course, sign-ups so far have been predominantly composed of pre-honours students with several interested third-year students.
However the credit-bearing element has raised concerns over the SLICCs’ rigour in the wake of last week’s launch event.
Sekhar insists: “The framework was analysed and approved by the Curriculum and Student Progression Committee – the senate committee that sets regulations for academic rigour. They’re as keen on it as we are, and rigour is ensured since we use a very similar framework and learning objectives to dissertations.
“The student’s project has to add up to a minimum of 100 hours spread over a minimum of two and a half weeks, which is standard for 10 credits.”
Recruitment for the SLICCs pilot programme is ongoing, and interested students are invited to attend one of the information sessions running on Monday and Thursday of Innovative Learning Week.