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The invisible librarian: Teaching legal research skills at the University of Leicester - Eugenia Caracciolo di Torella, Jackie Hanes, Dawn Watkins & Loveday Hodson
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The invisible librarian: Teaching legal research skills at the University of Leicester - Eugenia Caracciolo di Torella, Jackie Hanes, Dawn Watkins & Loveday Hodson

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Presentation at the HEA-funded workshop 'Teaching research skills to Law Students: a workshop on best practice '. …

Presentation at the HEA-funded workshop 'Teaching research skills to Law Students: a workshop on best practice '.

This event brought together university law teachers and law librarians to discuss legal information literacy and current best practice in teaching research skills on the LLB, the role of law librarians, how research skills are taught (including on-line methods), progression through the undergraduate curriculum, whether for credit or not, and collaborations between law librarians and academic staff.

This presentation is part of a related blog post that provides an overview of the event: http://bit.ly/1bIvVhh

For further details of the HEA's work on teaching research methods in the Social Sciences, please see: http://bit.ly/15go0mh

Published in: Education

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  • 1. The Invisible Librarian: Teaching Legal Research Skills at the University of Leicester HEA Teaching Research Skills to Law Students workshop 5 February 2014 Eugenia Caracciolo di Torella, Jackie Hanes, Dawn Watkins & Loveday Hodson www.le.ac.uk
  • 2. Once upon a time … • Learning Legal Skills – cases and materials – how to read a case (black letter approach; socio legal) – computer skills – how to write a legal academic essay – how to present • Analysing Law
  • 3. Positives Challenges
  • 4. Who is the invisible librarian?
  • 5. Who is the invisible librarian? Jackie Hanes Liaison Librarian University of Leicester @JackieHanes jh484@le.ac.uk
  • 6. 1 librarian & 450 UG law students Me Law
  • 7. And 7 other departments! Archaeology & Ancient History English Law Me History History of Art & Film Museum Studies Criminology
  • 8. My teaching • 1 hour lecture as part of the law module • Delivered in early October (Week 2) • Part presentation, part demonstration • Focus on finding items on a reading list
  • 9. Lecture outline • About the library • 15 minutes • Find books & journals • 10 minutes • Starting research • 5 minutes • Find leg & case law • 10 minutes • Legal databases • 10 minutes • Total • 50 minutes + 10 minutes in and out of the lecture theatre
  • 10. Support materials • Library user guide • Law subject pages • Online legal research tutorials
  • 11. What’s good? • New - no library lecture two years ago! • All students receive a library induction • It‟s the only time I meet all law students – I return to being the invisible librarian
  • 12. What’s bad? • No engagement with students • No practical experience • No assessment of learning • No reflection on learning • No feedback from librarian
  • 13. My dream session … • 2 hour practical in IT classroom • Students learn legal research skills by doing – In class activities to assess and feedback • Aim higher: advanced legal research skills – Go beyond the reading list – Independent legal research skills • Opportunity for questions and answers
  • 14. The maths • Largest IT classroom = 50 students • 450 undergraduate law students • 450/9 = 9 teaching sessions • 9 x 2 hours = 18 hours teaching
  • 15. Is it practical? • Is there capacity in the student timetable? • Are there enough IT classrooms on campus? • Is there capacity in the librarian‟s workload? – 56 hours teaching in October 2013 – Can I add another 18 hours in 2014?
  • 16. Invisible librarian • Does the librarian have to teach legal research? • Can the librarian write the teaching materials – to be delivered by academics from law school? • Can we use existing tutorials differently? – Now: voluntary IT surgery in week 3 – Future: compulsory legal research practical?
  • 17. eLearning • Can we use elearning to teach legal research? • Develop a legal research elearning module? – Make better use of existing online tutorials? – Create new online lectures and tutorials? – Use elearning for assessment and feedbaack?
  • 18. Future • Continue to be the invisible librarian • Work more closely with the law school to develop the curriculum
  • 19. And now for something completely different…
  • 20. The creative case study • Read James Boyd White‟s „Introduction to the Student‟, from The Legal Imagination (University of Chicago Press, 1985) • and • D. Watkins, „The Role of Narratives in Legal Education‟ (2011) 32 (2) Liverpool Law Review 113
  • 21. Write a fictional narrative account of one of these cases • Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company [1892] EWCA Civ 1 • Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] UKHL 100; R v • Dudley and Stephens (1884) 14 QBD 273 DC
  • 22. Students’ response - generally Seminar 2: Creative case study and presentation skills Very Good Good Statisfactory Poor Very Poor 1 2 3 4 5 35 19% 52 29% 51 28% 25 14% 18 10%
  • 23. Specific responses.. “very refreshing to learn about this and inspiring…thank you” “The Creative case study was completely useless…”
  • 24. A much less controversial innovation
  • 25. Assessing Research Skills: Some Practical Issues • Creating assessment for students who arrive with a diverse range of research skills. • Creating an assessment that is (appears to be?) sufficiently rigorous. • Agreeing as a team what the core skills are. • The practicalities of marking in compulsory UG modules… • Our technical knowledge when it comes to online methods of assessment.
  • 26. The Problem of Abstraction… • Assessment is abstracted from the substantive modules‟ content. • Assessment is abstracted from the librarian‟s contribution.