Transforming legal education: learning and teaching the law in the early twenty-first century


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Presentation to ISAGA Conference, Nijmegen, Netherlands, July 2007.

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Transforming legal education: learning and teaching the law in the early twenty-first century

  1. 1. Transforming legal education: learning and teaching the law in the early twenty-first century Professor Paul Maharg Glasgow Graduate School of Law
  2. 2. <ul><li>Summary of book’s chapters & themes </li></ul><ul><li>Scope of simulation implementation </li></ul><ul><li>Professionalism, ethics, shifting identities & simulations </li></ul>
  3. 3. book outline <ul><li>Part 1: In(ter)disciplines </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Trading Zones </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Empty Quarter: Interdisciplinary Research and Practice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Part 1 Conclusion: Elasticity and Obstacle </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. book outline <ul><li>Part 2: Laminations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Road not Taken: Realists and the Curriculum </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ By the End of This Module …’: The Intimate Dimensions of Ethical Education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Codex to Codecs: The Medieval Web Redivivus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Part 2 Conclusion: Adjacencies </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. book outline <ul><li>Part 3: Metaverse </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Simulations and the Metaverse </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transactional Learning in Action </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relational Objects: Transactions, Professionalism, E-mergence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multimedia and the Docuverse of Law: Learning and the Representation of Knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Part 3 Conclusion: Simulation and Transformation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Afterword: Elective Affinities: Experience, Ethics, Technology, Collaboration </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. book themes <ul><li>Transformation </li></ul><ul><li>Transactional learning: Dewey, Stenhouse, Garrison, constructivists, situated learning, etc </li></ul><ul><li>Rhetoric and communications theory </li></ul><ul><li>Legal educational history: meditations on failure and difference </li></ul><ul><li>Technology as saturated learning environment </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>John Dewey </li></ul>E.L. Thorndike
  8. 8. simulations in legal learning… <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>
  9. 9. <ul><li>scope of the implementation </li></ul>
  10. 24. personal injury negotiation project <ul><li>Administration: </li></ul><ul><li>280 students, 70 firms, 7 anonymous information sources </li></ul><ul><li>70 document sets, 35 transactions </li></ul><ul><li>students have 12 weeks to achieve settlement </li></ul><ul><li>introductory & feedback lectures </li></ul><ul><li>discussion forums </li></ul><ul><li>FAQs & transaction guideline flowcharts </li></ul><ul><li>voluntary face-to-face surgeries with a PI solicitor </li></ul>
  11. 25. PI project: assessment criteria <ul><li>We require from each student firm a body of evidence consisting of: </li></ul><ul><li>fact-finding – from information sources in the virtual community) </li></ul><ul><li>professional legal research – using WestLaw + paperworld sources </li></ul><ul><li>formation of negotiation strategy – extending range of Foundation Course learning </li></ul><ul><li>performance of strategy – correspondence + optional f2f meeting, recorded </li></ul>
  12. 32. statistics
  13. 33. statistics
  14. 34. statistics
  15. 35. PI project: (some of) what students learned <ul><li>extended team working </li></ul><ul><li>real legal fact-finding </li></ul><ul><li>real legal research </li></ul><ul><li>process thinking in the project </li></ul><ul><li>setting out negotiation strategies in the context of (un)known information </li></ul><ul><li>writing to specific audiences </li></ul><ul><li>handling project alongside other work commitments </li></ul><ul><li>structuring the argument of a case from start to finish </li></ul><ul><li>keeping cool in face-to-face negotiations </li></ul><ul><li>more effective delegation </li></ul><ul><li>keeping files </li></ul><ul><li>taking notes on the process... </li></ul>
  16. 36. PI project: what students would have done differently… <ul><li>‘ In tackling this project I think that our group made two main mistakes. The first mistake we made was in approaching the task as law students as opposed to Lawyers. By this I mean we tried to find the answer and work our way back. Immediately we were thinking about claims and quantum and blame. I don't think we actually initiated a claim until a week before the final settlement. I think the phrase &quot;like a bull in a china shop&quot; would aptly describe the way we approached the problem. […] Our group knew what area of law and tests to apply yet we ended up often being ahead of ourselves and having to back-pedal </li></ul><ul><li>The second mistake we made was estimating how long it would take to gather information. We started our project quite late on and began to run out of time towards the end. None of us appreciated the length of time it would take to gather information and on top of this we would often have to write two or three letters to the same person as the initial letter would not ask the right question.’ </li></ul>
  17. 37. PI project: what students would have done differently… <ul><li>‘ 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.’ </li></ul><ul><li>‘ […] unlike other group projects I was involved in at undergraduate level I feel that I derived genuine benefit from this exercise in several ways: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1. reinforcing letter-writing, negotiation, time-management and IT skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. conducting legal research into issues of quantum </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>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.’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Student comment on the environment … </li></ul>
  18. 38. transactional learning: Private Client project <ul><li>General outline: </li></ul><ul><li>Students wind up the estate of a deceased client who dies intestate, via 4 assignments. Students drafted: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Initial Writ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Estate Valuation Correspondence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forms C1, IHT 200 & supplements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a will </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Resources: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>no lectures, no exams: instead, tutorials and coursework </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>50 scenarios </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>virtual collection of the client’s estate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>online assessment & submission of assignments </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>FAQ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>online tutor assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>on average, six outcomes per assessment </li></ul></ul>
  19. 41. <ul><li>design methodologies? </li></ul>
  20. 42. authenticity as transactional learning <ul><li>Five characteristics in our practice define transactional learning for us as: </li></ul><ul><li>active learning, </li></ul><ul><li>based on doing legal transactions, </li></ul><ul><li>involving reflection on learning, </li></ul><ul><li>deep collaborative learning, and </li></ul><ul><li>requiring holistic or process learning. </li></ul>
  21. 43. role of the simulation Emerging identity as student/practitioner Ardcalloch simulation Actual practice reality
  22. 44. role of the simulation Emerging identity as student/practitioner Ardcalloch simulation Actual practice reality
  23. 45. role of the simulation Diploma in Legal Practice Emerging identity as student/practitioner Ardcalloch simulation Actual practice reality
  24. 46. <ul><li>What is SIMPLE? </li></ul>
  25. 47. 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>
  26. 48. what does the SIMPLE platform help you to do? <ul><li>Simulate professional tasks within an authentic environment. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide academic staff with software tools to design and build simulation blueprint and collate all of the resources required. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide 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>
  27. 49. what will our SIMPLE project do? <ul><li>Develop teaching, learning and assessment templates, including curriculum guidelines </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a process and tools which allow for highly structured, closed boundary simulations as well as loosely-structured, open-field simulations </li></ul><ul><li>Develop and integrate other approaches to e-learning with the SIMPLE platform. </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate student and staff experiences in using the simulation environment </li></ul>
  28. 50. project Gantt chart 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 1 Project Management                                                 2 Transactional Project Specification Process     3 Technical Requirements Specification     4 Implementation of Systems Architecture and Hardware Requirements                       5 Development of Environment                 6 Test and Deployment       7 Maintenance and Bug Fixing                     8 Development of TLPs                           9 Educational Documentation                       10 TLE Project Implementations                   11 TLP and Project Evaluation                       12 Dissemination                                        
  29. 51. 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
  30. 52. <ul><li>Forthcoming projects in SIMPLE </li></ul>
  31. 53. the law projects <ul><li>5 Law Projects </li></ul><ul><li>Undergraduate modules </li></ul><ul><li>Structure: transferring an existing paper based project & </li></ul><ul><li>creating entirely new projects </li></ul><ul><li>Significant co-operation amongst individual departments </li></ul><ul><li>Projects include areas of contract, personal injury, criminal justice and legal skills and practice. </li></ul><ul><li>Various forms of assessment and experiential learning </li></ul>
  32. 54. <ul><li>How will we evaluate the project? </li></ul>
  33. 55. evaluation of student experience <ul><li>activity theory base </li></ul><ul><li>learner logs and staff logs </li></ul><ul><li>interviews with students and staff – academic & administrative </li></ul><ul><li>learner focus groups within each Dept course </li></ul><ul><li>use cases of learning within and across the participating Schools </li></ul><ul><li>comparison use-cases of student experience within SIMPLE and more traditional approaches to learning & assessment </li></ul>
  34. 56. other key evaluative measures <ul><li>What will SIMPLE enable us to do in assessment that we currently avoid doing? </li></ul><ul><li>How easy is it for staff to adopt & adapt SIMPLE methods? </li></ul><ul><li>To what extent can we develop an emergent model of innovative assessment based on simulation? </li></ul><ul><li>How do we drive institutional change from ground-up in learning, teaching & assessment practices? </li></ul>
  35. 57. <ul><li>What have we worked on to date? </li></ul>
  36. 58. project progress <ul><li>To date… </li></ul><ul><li>Assembled project team </li></ul><ul><li>Worked with participating depts to construct narrative event diagrams </li></ul><ul><li>Ahead of schedule on software build milestones </li></ul><ul><li>Functional specification for learning environment now complete </li></ul><ul><li>Beta version March 07 </li></ul><ul><li>Currently working with depts to create data to populate virtual town and support the simulated projects </li></ul><ul><li>Next steps… </li></ul><ul><li>Build upon the Beta platform (virtual town tools, etc) and application toolset (tools to create the transactions) </li></ul><ul><li>Form community of practice </li></ul>
  37. 63. future directions… 2D <ul><li>Liaison with international collaborators, eg Sieberdam: </li></ul>
  38. 64. ... and 3D converged learning environments <ul><li>An entire course can be built within a world, through use of applications such as PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Flickr, YouTube, MySpace, etc within simulation environments </li></ul><ul><li>Experiential learning </li></ul><ul><li>Resource- based learning </li></ul>
  39. 65. community of practice <ul><li>Collaborative, between staff and students at different institutions, in different professions </li></ul><ul><li>International – in our increasingly globalized jurisdictions we need to enable our students to work with others </li></ul><ul><li>Liaison with institutions & students in developing countries </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration with other forms of simulation, eg standardized clients </li></ul><ul><li>Formation of a Foundation </li></ul><ul><li>Will all this work to transform legal (or any other) education...? </li></ul>
  40. 66. <ul><li>Not on its own... 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>
  41. 67. <ul><li>SIMPLE toolset, Beta version.wmv </li></ul>
  42. 68. further details <ul><li>JISC site: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>SIMPLE site: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Email: </li></ul>