Alumni Toolkit

Case Study: University of Edinburgh – Student-Led, individually-Created courses (SLICCs)

Student-Led, Individually-Created Courses (SLICCs) offer an experiential reflective learning and assessment framework that is highly flexible and uses an e-portfolio. 

SLICCs are used two ways by The University of Edinburgh. The first is as a centrally-run elective that allows students to receive academic credit for any experiential learning, or alternatively offered by individual academic departments wrapping around a discipline-specific experience.  

What do students do in this activity?

SLICCs enable students to tackle topics, problems and challenges in an area that they are passionate about and eligible experiences can include professional development activities, internship and work experience, volunteering, learning a new skill or topic, and research project experience. These challenges and experiences can be identified by students, by schools and professional services (e.g. Social Responsibility and Sustainability; Library Collections; Widening Participation), as well as external partners (e.g. professional, business, third sector, governmental). 

Based around a reflective e-portfolio, the SLICC framework enables students to think deeply and broadly about their experiential learning, in new and creative ways. Through these courses, students are able to take ownership of their learning and work across disciplinary boundaries on real problems and experiences. 

The SLICC process is structured around three key stages: the Proposal, Interim Reflective Report and Final Reflective Report.  Each stage reflects back and forwards, and collectively these form a complete reflective cycle.  Students engage in written self-reflection at all three key stages, particularly the interim and final reflective reports.  Students must also capture written reflections throughout the experience, at least weekly. A selection of reflection models are provided and students are encouraged to explore other models, in particular those available via the Reflection Toolkit (

Students summarise their learnings and reflections in their Interim and Final Reflective Reports, linked to key individual reflection from their journey.  The Interim Reflective Report is reviewed by their SLICC tutor who provides formative feedback.  The Final Reflective Report is summatively reviewed by their SLICC tutor and self-assessed by the student themselves.

Preparing students for the reflective component

SLICCs have a comprehensive set of resources and materials to guide and support students and staff through every aspect of the process, including the reflective component.  These make clear the expectations and purpose of the reflective components, provide a range of reflective models and approaches, and signpost additional resources on reflection available at the Reflection Toolkit (

Linking these reflections to the students’ overall employability development

Students use reflection to engage deeply with their experience, stretch themselves, learn and develop. These reflections boost students’ skills, mindsets, understandings, and confidence – all critical to their employability.  SLICCs aim to develop students who:

  • are self-aware
  • capitalise on their strengths
  • are committed to personal development and life-long learning
  • can confidently provide evidence for these claims

Undertaking a SLICC also enables students to exercise autonomy and initiative, as well as honing their research and investigation skills.

From our own and others research, we know these are essential for current and future employability.

Impact of using self-reflection

Reflection is fundamental to developing students’ employability, and is equally essential to their academic and research success, and their ability to effectively engage and impact local and global communities.  At the University of Edinburgh, we recognise this and how critical it is to support students and staff to engage successfully with reflection.  In response, we have developed the Reflection Toolkit ( to guide both reflectors and facilitators of reflection, and to act as a resource that supports our wide range of reflective initiatives, including SLICCs.

We have seen strong positive feedback from students and staff about the success and impact of this use of self-reflection.  Benefits are seen across students’ current and future experiences, and across the various parts of their lives.  It has also increased staff awareness of, confidence in, and valuing of, reflection as part of the University experiences, both credit and non-credit bearing.

Self-reflection is critical to ensuring students maximise their learning, development, and impact through experiences.  This growth, the increase in their confidence, and the development of their skills in critical reflection, is essential for their employability, academic ability, and effective engagement with their world around them.  This directly supports the aims of the initiative and of the institution.