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The big tin-foil hat and a silent movie: technology and enquiry approaches, the teacher and student perspective

Dec 06, 2014



Understanding Law 2 is a new module introduced in the second semester of 06/07 in the School of Law at the University of Sheffield. The module is compulsory for first year law students, and aims to build on knowledge and skills students will have acquired in the first semester. One of the core objectives of the module is to educate students in identifying, locating and utilising legal information that is relevant for a particular legal problem. CILASS funding enabled the team to devise an electronic manual and accompanying e-workbook that requires students to apply legal rules to fictional scenarios. These sorts of exercises are ideal for fostering a culture of open-ended learning, and, as a teaching tool. The manual places students at the centre of the learning process and empowers them to take charge of their own learning. In addition to this we set the students a task of producing a presentation in any format to be showcased at the “Celebration of Learning”. This was a huge success and we were working with over 40 groups. This paper will address what worked and what didn’t and how we can learn from this experience for future projects.

  • 1. Claire McGourlay Victoria Rooksby Joe Kirkham The Big Tin Foil Hat and a Silent Movie Technology and Enquiry-Based Approaches: The Teacher and Student Perspective

2. Background-Staff View

  • Introduction to Law and Legal Skills 1 and 2
  • Increase in student numbers 260+
  • Moving on
  • Increased movement of students into non legal profession jobs after graduation
  • Time for change
  • Natasha Semmens and Mark Taylor-Understanding law 1

3. What should we do? Do Nothing? 4. Or Fight On? 5. What we did was:

  • Reinvent the wheel?
  • Build on what we already had?
  • Applied for CILASS funding
  • Based on UL1 Model
  • Learning Diary
  • Colloquia
  • The Project
  • Celebration of learning
  • Changing the boundaries
  • Giving students move transferable skills

6. What worked?

  • Students worked well in groups
  • Student gained skills not traditionally associated with a law degree
  • Celebration of learning
  • Learning Diary
  • Colloquia
  • Staff attendance
  • Sponsor Attendance
  • Screencasts

7. What we need to reconsider?

  • Do not mix students, sponsors, computers and alcohol!
  • The amount of students in a group?
  • Where to hold the event?
  • How to present the work?
  • Whether to assess the actual project?
  • Resources for students?
  • Sustainability?
  • Staff resources/time?
  • Issues surrounding copyright