Presentation on theme: "Creating a Course Outline"— Presentation transcript:
1 Creating a Course Outline Jeffrey MinnetiAssociate Professor of Legal Skills and Director of Academic SuccessStetson University College of Law
2 Presentation Objectives Explain the purpose of a course outlineDiscuss the content of a course outlineSuggest a process for creating a course outlineSuggest forms for course outlines
3 Course Outline Purposes Learning theory perspectiveBuilding schemaCreating a tool to facilitate problem solvingPragmatic perspectiveStructure major premise of syllogismConsolidate information in one placeCapture the structure of the lawMacro levelMicro levelTemplate for memorization of law
4 Course Outline Content VocabularyConceptsRulesPolicyExamples and non examples of law in factual contexts
5 Course Outline Content VocabularyLatin phrasesStare decisisIn remMens ReaLanguage of the lawRemandAppelleeCause of actionService of process
6 Course Outline Content ConceptsIdeasContract formationTerms of artMeeting of the mindsOfferAcceptanceConsiderationPromissory Estoppel
9 Course Outline Content If, then ruleIf you capture or mortally wound a wild animal on public lands, you have a property right in the wild animal.If you engage in an act, knowing with substantial certainty the consequences of the act, for the purpose of tort liability, you have acted with intent.
10 Content of Course Outline ElementsLaw broken into discrete unitseach has its own test or definitioneach must be proven for the rule to applyExampleAn actor batters another when he intends to cause harmful or offensive contact with the person of another and such contact actually occursIntentCausationHarm or offenseAnother personActual contact
12 Course Outline Content Disjunctive rulesBattery includes harmful OR offensive contactDamages for breach of contract may include money damages OR specific performanceDelivery of a gift can be actual OR constructive
13 Course Outline Content FactorsPersonal jurisdiction analysisSeveral layers to the testMinimum contactsPurposefully direct actions to forum?Product placed in stream of commerce?Business relationship with forum state business?If internet contact, how interactive is the web business with the forum state?ReasonablenessBurden on the defendantBurden on the plaintiffInterest of the forum state
14 Course Outline Content General Rule + ExceptionsMurder is the unlawful killing of another human being with malice aforethought, unless, the actor acted in self defense
17 Course Outline Content PolicyThe ideas that animate the law, give it purpose, guide its evolutionJudicial processFirm v. flexible rulesSlippery slopeFlood of litigationNormativeFreedom of contractIndividual v. AltruismEconomicCost-benefit analysis
18 Example of PolicyAdverse possession forces real property owners to pay attention to uses of their property and benefits those who put real property to productive use.
19 Course Outline Content Examples and non-examples of rules in factual contextCases (including note cases)HoldingRule + dispositive factsHypotheticals that professors present in class
20 Course Outline Process Starting pointUtilize your case book’s table of contents and/or course syllabus as templates for the major topics covered during the classNext StepFor each topic, pool together pre-class notes, during class notes, post class notes, and readings from supplemental sourcesFinal StepFor each topic, synthesize rule structures
21 Starting Point: Table of Contents and/or Syllabus If your professor proceeds sequentially through the case book, utilize the case book’s table of contents to structure your outlineIf your professor “jumps around” sections of the case book, utilize the professor’s syllabus to structure your outline
22 Next step: Pool information For each topic, pre-class, gather information from assigned and supplemental reading relevant to the topic you are studyingFor each topic, during class, edit and add to the information you gathered pre-classFor each topic, post class, review the information gathered pre and during class:Identify patterns and structures in the informationIdentify gaps in the informationList questions about the information and create a plan for addressing them
23 Final Step: Synthesize Rule Structures Generally legal synthesis requires inductive thoughtDiscern rule structures from a number of sources, each of which individually reveals only a portion of the rule’s structureInductive thinking derives general principles from specific cases and materials covered in case book and in class
24 Course Outline Process Suggestions to improve your inductive thinking about casesKnow the purpose for reading the caseReduce the case to 1-2 sentences that explain the law of the case in light of the facts and the purposeGather the 1-2 sentences from the cases together and make a cumulative list of the legal principles and policies related to the purpose for which you read the caseDiscern form, structure, hierarchy among the principles and policies
25 Final Step: Synthesize Rule Structures On occasion, information is delivered in a structured formNeed only record the structure of the rules, noting their development from general idea to more specific
26 Course Outline Forms Traditional outline Concept map Timeline Comparison chartComparison diagramFlow chart
27 Review Presentation Objectives Explain the purpose of a course outlineDiscuss the content of a course outlineSuggest a process for creating a course outlineSuggest forms for course outlines
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