Kobe, Session 3, Supporting Student Collaboration
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Kobe, Session 3, Supporting Student Collaboration

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  • Transactional learning is active learning, not passive. In that sense, we want students to be involved in activities within legal actions, rather than standing back from the actions and merely learning about them. transactional learning goes beyond learning about legal actions to learning from legal actions we aim to give them experience of legal transactions. Transactional learning involves thinking about transactions. It includes the ability to rise above detail, and "helicopter" above a transaction; or the ability to disengage oneself from potentially damaging views of the group process, and re-construct that view Students are valuable resources for each other. Collaborative learning breaks down the isolation and alienation of what might be regarded as isolated or cellular learning. There is of course a place for individual learning, silent study, and the like. But students can help each other enormously to understand legal concepts and procedures by discussing issues, reviewing actions in a group, giving peer feedback on work undertaken in the group, and so on. And perhaps what is even more important is that they begin to trust each other to carry out work that is important. In other words, students begin to learn how to leverage knowledge amongst themselves, and to trust each other’s developing professionality (learning about know-who, know-why, as well as know-what within the firm). Often, we have found, if there are firms that are not producing good work or keeping to deadlines, it is because they do not know how to work together effectively; and this often arises from a lack of trust. Transactional learning ought to be based on a more holistic approach. Allowing students to experience the whole transaction- and all the different parts- not just the actual procedure but how this may affect the client and how you may have to report this to the client. Transactional learning of necessity draws upon ethical learning and professional standards. There are many examples of how students have had to face ethical situations within the environment – some are ones where we have created a situation with an ethical issue- others have arisen unexpectedly. E.g mandate example ( if time) 7 & 8: Students are taking part in a sophisticated process that involves taking on the role of a professional lawyer within the confines of the virtual town and firm. In order to enhance the learning experience they must be immersed in the role play- and to do that they must be undertaking authentic tasks. Research suggests that when students are involved with online environment similar to the virtual village- that these authentic settings have the capability to motivate and encourage learner participation by facilitating students ‘willing suspension of disbelief’. This allows them to become immersed in the setting.
  • Major personality clashes from outset Polarisation; warring factions Resistance to change; inability to adapt Me first; firm nowhere Fixed attitudes; no self awareness Blame culture; victimisation Relationship focussed: ‘them’ (differences) No confidence in other members Independence: lose-lose
  • Recognition of strengths and weaknesses Mutually supportive & sense of personal value Inclusive culture; decisions by consensus Good communications; self diagnostic Shared responsibility & respect Flexible, organic development of working practices Ability to learn from mistakes: adaptable, resilient Ground rules: everyone ‘plays fair’ Interdependence: win-win Task focussed: ‘our way’

Transcript

  • 1. SIMPLE and collaborative learning Professor Paul Maharg Glasgow Graduate School of Law
  • 2.
    • Key issues:
    • Plagiarism and freeloading
    • Analysis of student working in our simulated environment
    • Practice Management as an envelope for transactional learning.
    presentation
  • 3. s imulations…
    • Are close to the world of practice , but safe from the (possible) realities of malpractice and negligent representation.
    • Enable students to practise legal transactions , discuss the transactions with other tutors, students, and use a variety of instruments or tools, online or textual, to help them understand the nature and consequences of their actions
    • Facilitate a wide variety of assessment , from high-stakes assignments with automatic fail points, to coursework that can double as a learning zone and an assessment assignment
    • Encourage collaborative learning . The guilds and groups of hunters/players in multi-player online games can be replicated for very different purposes in FE & HE.
    • Students begin to see the potential for the C in ICT ; and that technology is not merely a matter of word-processed essays & quizzes, but a form of learning that changes quite fundamentally what and how they learn .
  • 4. authenticity as transactional learning…
    • Transactional learning:
    • active learning
    • through performance in authentic transactions
    • involving reflection in & on learning,
    • deep collaborative learning , and
    • holistic or process learning,
    • with relevant professional assessment
    • that includes ethical standards
  • 5. correspondence workspace
  • 6. PI project: what students would have done differently…
    • ‘ At the beginning we thought we perhaps lost sight of the fact that we had a client whom we had a duty to advise and inform. On reflection we should have issued terms of engagement and advised the client better in monetary terms what the likely outcome was going to be.’
    • ‘ […] unlike other group projects I was involved in at undergraduate level I feel that I derived genuine benefit from this exercise in several ways:
      • 1. reinforcing letter-writing, negotiation, time-management and IT skills
      • 2. conducting legal research into issues of quantum
      • working effectively in a group as a group - not delegating tasks at the first meeting and then putting together pieces of work at the second meeting.’
  • 7. PI project: tempo & complexity
  • 8.
    • p lagiarism & freeloading
    t wo key issues …
  • 9.
    • Plagiarism is not just about students being selfish, or narcissistic behaviour, or academic cheating or a syndrome or lack of integrity or anything else
    • We create fertile conditions for it to flourish by our teaching & assessment designs:
      • lack of apprenticeship models
      • insufficient situated learning & assessment
      • poor academic literacy support within disciplines
    • We need to re-design the ecology of learning, eg :
      • trading zones, for students > students, staff > staff, students > staff
      • teach rhetorical models via games, sims, debriefs, PBL, etc.
      • transactional learning
    • One attempt to change practice: SIMPLE
    my argument…
  • 10.
    • See Peter Galison’s groundbreaking study of the material culture of modern experimental micro-physics –
      • Galison, P. (1997) Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics (Chicago, University of Chicago Press).
    • A place where theorists, writers, experimenters, instrument designers, policy-makers, politicians and others meet, share knowledge and do collaborative research
    • Parties traded content and method; they imposed constraints on each other; disciplines & practices coordinated but without homogenising; they communicated in pidgins and creoles to express and absorb each other’s essential concepts.
    1. trading zone…?
  • 11.
    • Students co-opted to community-police plagiarism
    • Students carry out authentic client-based work, not artificial, assessment-led tasks
    • ICT is used to create multiple versions of tasks via document variables + support for tasks: feed forward
    • Students take responsibility for their transactional learning, their files, their clients, their firm, ie assessment:
      • encourages ownership, not submission
      • enhances collaboration, not plagiarism
    • Staff take responsibility for designing transactional learning
    • Staff insist on professionalism as fundamental to the programme
    summary of the SIMPLE effect on plagiarism…
  • 12.  
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  • 23. development of matrix Trust Dysfunctional Learning Community Friendly Society Legal Eagles Learning Barton & Westwood, 2006
  • 24. development of learning matrix Learning Trust 12% 27% 20% 41% Barton & Westwood, 2006
  • 25. low trust and low learning
    • Culture
      • Suspicious, blame, independence, me first
    • Task
      • Not task focussed; low engagement
    • Relationships
      • Victimisation, polarised, abrasive, secrets
    • Approach
      • Inflexible, superficial, dictatorial, rigid
    Trust Learning Barton & Westwood, 2006
  • 26. low trust and low learning “ not my place to act as social worker to my team members.” “ Teamwork jarring is insoluble – some people are just destined not to work together.” “ Basically I would say that our firm was a success although we would have been better as a group of three.” “… this was done for selfish reasons as at the time I had no desire to work with L as tensions between us from the outset were high” “… childlike tantrums…turned into a nightmare” Trust Learning Barton & Westwood, 2006
  • 27. low trust and low learning
    • ‘ Personal conflict or basic incompatibilities over interpersonal styles can poison a group.’ (Leonard and Swap 1999 p42)
    • ‘ Without trust it may literally be true that it is not safe to talk about particular issues. Over time the relationships will not survive if it is not possible to talk through issues before they do damage.’ (Ward & Smith 2003 p14)
    • ‘… distrust creates destructive conflict among members.’ (Johnson & Johnson1997 p133)
    Trust Learning Barton & Westwood, 2006
  • 28. high trust and high learning
    • Culture
      • Inclusive, fair, interdependence, team first
    • Task
      • Task focussed: our way; high engagement
    • Relationships
      • Open, valued, supportive, honest
    • Approach
      • Flexible, organic, consensus, responsive
    Learning Trust Barton & Westwood, 2006
  • 29. high trust and high learning “ the great thing about the firm was that I felt that we all picked up on these weaknesses early on without any conflicts arising” “ that doesn’t mean our differences have to separate us…that is precisely what makes us work much better together as a team” “ Greater than the sum of the parts springs to mind.” “ People were flexible about the work they took on and were willing to try new things.” “… responsibility was shared and that support would be given if someone had a problem.” “ The other 2 members of the firm turned up on the negotiation day to lend moral support and share in the outcome” Learning Trust
  • 30. high trust and high learning
    • ‘… it is through the medium of the group that a student can immerse himself in the world of the practicum ….learning new habits of thought and action’ (Schon 1987 p38)
    • ‘ successful collaborators create patterns of communication appropriate to their relationship and task’ (Schrage 1995 p158)
    • ‘ To be part of a group is to share values with the others to some extent. This sharing of values allows certain things to be said which otherwise cannot be said.’ (Ward & Smith 2003 p96)
    Learning Trust
  • 31.
    • Barton, K & Westwood F. (2006) From student to trainee practitioner – a study of team working as a learning experience, Web Journal of Current Legal Issues,
    • http://webjcli.ncl.ac.uk/2006/issue3/barton-westwood3.html
  • 32. portrait of the teacher as designer
    • Shift in traditional role of staff as centre of the knowledge web
    • Knowledge and skills are distributed across webs
    • Staff spend more time designing online learning with tutors, postgrad assistants, trainees, student monitors, ie design work using…
      • resources
      • simulations
      • just-in-time learning
      • salon & masterclass models of group learning
    • … over whole programmes of study.
    • Within and between disciplines
    • Within and between institutions internationally
  • 33. a final example: legal writing
    • We regard writing as a social activity software, which emphasises:
    • networks of meaning
    • Distributed learning across the internet and other forms of knowledge representation
    • Collaborative learning at all levels
  • 34. intermediate online education, 2006+
    • Still focused on:
    • Organisations , ie LMSs, silos of knowledge
    • Products , ie handbooks, CDs, closely-guarded downloads
    • Content , ie modules, lock-step instruction
    • Snapshot assessment of taught substantive content
  • 35. social learning > 2010+
    • Focus shifts to:
    • Organisation has weak boundaries, strong presence through resource-based, integrated learning networks, with open access, eg MIT & OU open courseware
    • Focus not on static content but on web-based, aggregated content
    • E-learning as understanding & conversation, just-in-time learning
    • Assessment of situated learning
  • 36. ALIAS... ALIAS – A rdcalloch L egal I nformation & A dvice S ervice
  • 37. ... now being developed as a professional collaborative writing environment
    • Simulation of professional writing contexts
    • Creation of wikis within ALIAS – Ardcalloch Legal Information and Advice Service
    • Students will:
      • see each other’s drafts (collaborative learning)
      • amend firm’s drafts (collaborative working)
      • Be responsible for individual articles (ownership…)
    • Staff will:
      • see student drafts (observe collab. learning + working)
      • comment on drafts (feedback on individual work)
    • Staff will include professional legal writers as well as GGSL staff, and use previous student work & previous students as mentors
  • 38. Practice Management
    • Key support for student collaboration
    • Subject deals with issues such as
      • Risk management
      • Time management
      • Client care
      • Secure and effective work practices
    • and deals with these issues within the SIMPLE transactions
    • Practice manager is therefore a coach rather than a tutor
  • 39. key issues
    • Tracking: keep contact with firms, especially near the start
    • Provide information about the approach : about what makes student firms and real firms successful to both students and tutors
    • Transparent structures : think about introducing a formal Partnership Agreement, and Self and Peer Assessment forms
    • Coaching : train tutors as Practice Managers, to manage all types of characteristics and enhance learning and trust
    • Mediation : offer formal mediation to resolve particular difficulties in team working and professionalism.
  • 40. contact details
    • SIMPLE: http://simplecommunity.org
    • These slides & resources at: ht t p://
    • Email addresses: paul.maharg@strath.ac.uk