LAW 335 Asylum and Immigration Law 3rd year optional module, available to students on the LLB Law programme Ran for first time in 2010-11, relatively rare option amongst comparator law schools Adopted a ‘new teaching model’ and innovative method of assessment
12 weekly seminars, 50 mins: prescriptive/directed reading set in advance; short tasks (e.g. questions for reflection, notes on a particular area) (i.e. no lectures) Five topics, each with a ‘knowledge and understanding seminar’ and a ‘skills seminar’ Assessment is via a ‘portfolio’ (MCQs, advice letter, traditional essay) to test, and reward, a range of legal skills
The nature of the subject: Rapidly changing Heavily statute based Characteristics of the student cohort: Experienced law students Existing interest in the area
The seminars felt very positive: Students seemed engaged and level of critical discussion was high Very enjoyable to teach Mid-session feedback was good: 48% were ‘very happy’ with the module; 39% were ‘fairly happy’ with the module In particular: opportunity for discussion, contemporary relevance of module, varied teaching methods, momentum generated by weekly seminars Results were excellent: I – 30%; 2:i – 49%; 2:ii – 20%; 3 – 1% Range: 49% - 81%
Students need more direction to offset the lack of lectures Topic summaries? Podcasts? More focused tasks? Sessions need to be longer Increase to 90mins in 2010/11 Content/skills split overly artificial
The importance of flexible teaching models to accommodate both the peculiarities of the subject and the strengths of the teacher Removal of ‘safety blanket’ provided by traditional teaching needs to be offset by clear expectations, organised teaching etc. Can modules be a victim of their own success?
Background: law modules are traditionally assessed through an exam or coursework, consisting of a combination of essay and problem questions LAW 335 Asylum and Immigration Law ‘assessment portfolio’: Multiple-choice test: 10% of module mark (threshold marking); 10 questions to be completed online over 90 minutes during Week 6 Advice letter: 40% of module mark; 1000 words, submitted at the end of Week 10 (beginning of Easter vacation) Essay question: 50% of module mark; 1500 words, submitted in Week 13 Each component marked separately, but final mark given to the portfolio as a whole