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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Geosciences

Undergraduate Course: Self-Designed Learning (10 credits; SCQF level 10; GeoSciences) (GESC10001)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
Course typeStudent-Led Individually Created Course AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis level 10 course requires you to propose, develop and manage a unique learning experience that will enable you to evidence how you have achieved the learning outcomes of the course set out below. You will need to adhere to a defined structure that supports and enables you to self-direct and manage your own learning experience, but within this structure you have full control over the Earth Science research topic that you choose to study.

This level 10 course will require you to demonstrate learning in the context of the higher order skills such as analysis, evaluation, and creation and demonstration of meta-cognitive development.
Course description The course is entirely self-directed and there are no formal classes after an initial briefing session. To complete the course you will:

1. Identify a suitable research question with which to undertake your learning experience. This may be related to your dissertation topic but mustn┬┐t be a part of it.

2. Find a suitable advisor who is expert in this topic and discuss it with him/her.

3. Write your draft proposal and submit to your advisor for approval. This should be no more than 500 words and should outline the topic and aims. The proposal must be submitted to your advisor and copied to

4. Self-direct and manage your own research into your chosen topic.

5. Actively and regularly reflect upon and document your experience in the form of a reflective diary.

6. Formatively self-assess and submit (a) your reflective diary, and (b) a report of no more than 2500 words including references for summative assessment. The diary and report must be submitted to your advisor and copied to

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements This course is available on a limited basis and dependent on staff availability for supporting projects. Interested students should contact the course organiser and course secretary.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Course Start Date
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 96 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) This course is a student-led project with points of engagement with project supervisor.
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% Coursework; 80% for the report and 20% for the diary.

The steps identified above each require a significant amount of thought and input, and your diary and report will be assessed more on the way in which you have tackled your research question than on the successful outcome. Your diary should include notes on how each reference you have read contributes to answering your question, or why you have chosen not to include it in your report. The report should summarise the literature that has contributed to answering your research question and end with a brief statement of what you believe you have achieved, what reference databases you have used, and importantly what you would do differently if starting the project again. Unlike with taught courses, you will not only develop the content of your learning experience but also provide evidence of what you have learned and demonstrate how you met the learning outcomes for the course.

Assessment deadlines
Draft proposal: 4 pm, Semester 2, Week 2 Monday
Final report: 4 pm Semester 2, Week 11 Wednesday

Feedback The course differs significantly from a taught course, and academic input is deliberately kept to a minimum. Students will be introduced to self-designed learning through a preparatory briefing session and will receive academic support in the proposal development stages. Once approved, you must then self-direct and manage your learning experience with no or minimal further involvement from your tutors.

After assessment you should arrange a tutorial with your tutor/advisor to discuss and receive feedback on your self-designed learning experience.

Students are required to make their web-folio available for academic review at the mid-point of the learning experience.

After assessment you should arrange a tutorial with your SLICC tutor/advisor to discuss and receive feedback on your self-designed learning experience.

Students are required to make their web-folio available for academic review at the mid-point of the learning experience.

No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Work independently to execute a defined project of research that they have selected and defined.
  2. Apply substantive, methodological and philosophical insights gained in other courses
  3. Design an effective way of investigating the research problem.
  4. Collect relevant evidence from appropriate literature sources in order to answer your research question.
  5. Interpret findings perceptively and with professional-level insight.
Reading List
The SLICC framework provides a range of online tools and learning resources to support students undertaking self-designed learning.

In addition you should identify your intended reading and range of resources to support your independent learning in your proposal.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills You will be required to write an interpretive statement for each learning outcome as part of your proposal, indicating your understanding of what this means in the context of your learning experience along with the evidence you intend to produce to demonstrate your achievement of the intended learning.
Keywordsstudent-led project in Earth Sciences (subject to availability)
Course organiserProf Godfrey Fitton
Tel: (0131 6)50 8529
Course secretaryMs Katerina Sykioti
Tel: (0131 6)51 5251
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