Transforming Legal Education

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Presentation to CPLS Think Tank at Ross Priory, May 2008

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  • Transforming Legal Education

    1. 1. Transforming legal education Professor Paul Maharg Glasgow Graduate School of Law
    2. 2. four key themes
    3. 3. John Dewey E.L. Thorndike 1. Philosopher & educationalist Educational psychologist 2. Theoretician and practical implementer Theoretician & experimentalist 3. Interested in the arc between experience & the world Explored the dyadic relationship between mind & the world 4. Pragmatist approach to learning: prior experience, ways of contextual knowing Adopted as precursor of a behaviourist approach to learning: assessment-led; laws of effect, recency, repetition 5. Emphasised learning ecologies Emphasised teaching strategies 6. Followed by: Bruner, Kilpatrick, standards movement, Constructivist tradition Followed by: Watson, Skinner, Gagné, outcomes movement,
    4. 4. <ul><li>The SIMPLE Project </li></ul><ul><li>(SIMulated Professional Learning Environment) </li></ul>practical implementations?
    5. 5. why simulations? <ul><li>Are close to the world of practice , but safe from the (possible) realities of malpractice and negligent representation. </li></ul><ul><li>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 </li></ul><ul><li>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 </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage collaborative learning . The guilds and groups of hunters in multi-player online games can be replicated for very different purposes in legal education. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>
    6. 6. general aim of the SIMPLE platform <ul><li>Enable staff and students to manage the educational and organizational issues that arise from the implementation of this environment, in particular those of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>personalized learning in a professional environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>social presence and collaborative learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>use of simulation spaces in programmes of study, and the relation between simulation spaces and other learning spaces on a programme, including paper-based and online resources, face-to-face classes, and administration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>use of rich media in online simulations – video, graphics, text, comms., etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>authenticity in the design of simulation tasks, and effective assessment of professional learning </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. what will the SIMPLE project do? <ul><li>Provide academic staff in UK Universities with software tools to design and build simulations and collate all of the resources required. </li></ul><ul><li>Develop teaching, learning and assessment templates, including curriculum guidelines </li></ul><ul><li>Provide tools to create a map and directory for a virtual town </li></ul><ul><li>Enable communication between students and simulated characters/staff. </li></ul><ul><li>Offer monitoring and mentoring functions </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate student and staff experiences in using the simulation environment </li></ul>
    8. 8. large-scale implementation in disciplines Discipline Degree programme Institution Architecture BSc (Hons) / March, year 3 Strathclyde Social Work MA (Hons), year 2/3 Strathclyde Law LLB Glamorgan Law LLB Glasgow & Stirling Law LLB Warwick Law LLB West of England Law Diploma in Legal Practice, p/g Strathclyde
    9. 9. client scenarios Discipline Institution Story Architecture Strathclyde Running a Company Board Social Work Strathclyde Elder care / CPO Law Glamorgan Tort – PI Law Glasgow CJS – Victim / Offender Law Warwick University disciplinary hearing Law Stirling Fox hunting Law West of England Divorce Law Strathclyde PI, Civil action, Private Client, Conveyancing, Practice Man.
    10. 10. process model… <ul><li>Development - Partners exploring transformation process </li></ul><ul><li>Idea -> initial scenario -> computer simulation </li></ul><ul><li>Refined complex and powerful process for modeling </li></ul><ul><li>Implemented process as software tool </li></ul><ul><li>Enables academic member to build simulation blueprint and collate all of the resources required </li></ul><ul><li>Process and tool allow for highly structured, closed boundary simulations as well as loosely-structured, open-field simulations </li></ul><ul><li>Provides potential for simulation import / export </li></ul><ul><li>Tool itself has development potential </li></ul>
    11. 11. <ul><li>We need: </li></ul><ul><li>Clear research evidence sim environments will enable successful alternative approaches to knowledge, collaboration, professionalism, ethics... at reasonable cost. </li></ul><ul><li>Career-long assessment environments </li></ul><ul><li>To address our successes and concerns directly those to those with financial & decision-making powers, eg: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>institutional management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>regulatory bodies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>policy-makers </li></ul></ul>SIMPLE: evidence-based alternative
    12. 12. SIMPLE: community of practice <ul><li>Aims – </li></ul><ul><li>Be collaborative: staff, students, different institutions, different professions </li></ul><ul><li>Be international – in our increasingly globalized jurisdictions we need to enable our students to work with others </li></ul><ul><li>Liaise with institutions & students in developing countries </li></ul><ul><li>Integrate with other forms of simulation, eg standardized clients </li></ul><ul><li>SIMPLE will be a Foundation, in every sense… </li></ul>
    13. 13. <ul><li>No. Not on its own. Among much else we need to... </li></ul><ul><li>improve how technology is used to support learning – create a ‘narrative that sustains twenty-first century learning’ </li></ul><ul><li>change the signature pedagogies of legal education </li></ul>will all this work to transform legal (or any other) education...?
    14. 14. signature pedagogies are composed of… Sullivan, W.M., Colby, A., Wegner, J.W., Bond, L., Shulman, L.S. (2007) Educating Lawyers. Preparation for the Profession of Law, Jossey-Bass, p. 24
    15. 15. the four key themes of Transforming are…
    16. 16. transforming the signature pedagogy...
    17. 17. a final example: legal writing <ul><li>Writing as a social activity software, which emphasises: </li></ul><ul><li>networks of meaning </li></ul><ul><li>Distributed learning across the internet and other forms of knowledge representation </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative learning at all levels </li></ul>
    18. 18. intermediate online education, 2006+ <ul><li>Still focused on: </li></ul><ul><li>Organisations , ie LMSs, silos of knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Products , ie handbooks, CDs, closely-guarded downloads </li></ul><ul><li>Content , ie modules, lock-step instruction </li></ul><ul><li>Snapshot assessment of taught substantive content </li></ul>
    19. 19. social learning > 2010+ <ul><li>Focus shifts to: </li></ul><ul><li>Organisation has weak boundaries, strong presence through resource-based, integrated learning networks, with open access, eg MIT & OU open courseware </li></ul><ul><li>Focus not on static content but on web-based, aggregated content </li></ul><ul><li>E-learning as understanding & conversation, just-in-time learning </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment of situated learning </li></ul>
    20. 20. ALIAS... ALIAS – A rdcalloch L egal I nformation & A dvice S ervice
    21. 21. ... now being developed as a professional collaborative writing environment <ul><li>Simulation of professional writing contexts </li></ul><ul><li>Creation of wikis within ALIAS – Ardcalloch Legal Information and Advice Service </li></ul><ul><li>Students will: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>see each other’s drafts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>amend drafts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Staff will: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>see student drafts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>comment on drafts </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Staff will include professional legal writers as well as GGSL staff </li></ul>
    22. 22. future possibilities…? <ul><li>Inter-professional sims </li></ul><ul><li>Inter-jurisdictional sims </li></ul><ul><li>… over to you… </li></ul>
    23. 23. contact details <ul><li>Email: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Blog: http://zeugma.typepad.com </li></ul><ul><li>Book: www.transforming.org.uk </li></ul><ul><li>These slides at: www.slideshare.net/paulmaharg </li></ul><ul><li>Address: Glasgow Graduate School of Law </li></ul><ul><li>Lord Hope Building </li></ul><ul><li>University of Strathclyde </li></ul><ul><li>141 St James’ Road </li></ul><ul><li>Glasgow G4 0LU </li></ul>

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