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“Learning to be lawyerly”

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1 “Learning to be lawyerly”
Helen Barker, Emma Edwards, Jatinder Virdee University of Wolverhampton, School of Legal Studies

2 Effective Legal Study Background Outcomes
Level one, semester one module Almost 400 students LLB, CJ, Law Joint, Social Welfare Law A core team of four members of staff Outcomes Define what it means to be a student studying in legal subject areas in higher education To outline academic expectations and conventions for legal studies To address employability issues

3 Our approach Shorter lectures
Longer, more frequent, smaller group seminars held in computer labs Group discussion Subject-specific tasks Feedback and reflection

4 Why e-portfolio? e-portfolio is pivotal to the module
Introduced in week one Accessed and developed every week Used to make initial links with personal tutors Formative assessment - introduction of a blog in September 2009 Summative assessment - CVs submitted and online, personal feedback provided Tool to support students’ studies, not a bolt on!

5 Rationale Significant amount of work being produced on e-portfolios – case studies, best practice Online learning shifts focus “from teachers teaching to learners learning and from students as passive recipients to active creators of knowledge” (Condie and Livingstone, 2007, p.339) Do not assume all students are prepared / interested (Gibson, 2001) “Wear four hats” (Maor, 2003)

6 Rationale Continuing professional development
Implementation within the profession Research conducted with law firms – Higher Education Academy projects accessed 13 May 2009

7 How does it work? A webfolio template is created and students make a copy Gateways groups established Students submit to a gateway at the beginning of the module. All subsequent work is automatically uploaded. Link to example

8 The benefits Enables us to meet University’s blended learning targets!
Opportunity for formative feedback and early summative assessment Reflection encourages students to take responsibility for their studies (Morgan et al, 2006) Allows them to see how far they have come Plan ahead for the future Opportunities for ePDP Encouragement to maintain and refer back to for other modules

9 Issues Student / staff engagement requires attention
Marking workload “The assessment of portfolios adds significantly to teachers’ workloads” (Klenowski, 2002, p.86, cited in Scrivens, 2007) Large classes are more difficult to manage and require significant planning Monitoring / feedback is key Recognise the diversity of the group

10 Has it worked? Over 100 students completed an anonymous, online questionnaire 86% felt that the module was either very useful or of some use in developing their academic skills 64% felt the e-portfolio had either been very useful or of some use in supporting their studies Top three topics the students found most useful: Using Westlaw / Lexis – 43% Using the e-portfolio – 32% Referencing – 26%

11 Student comments – what did you find most useful?
“The skills that you learn because it can be applied to all sorts of modules and different backgrounds and not just the law sector.” “I enjoyed using the eportfolio and looking at employability..” “Learning and understanding how to use eportfolio as it means that there is somewhere were all of my experience and other activities done in uni can be stored” “Excellent introduction to studying law”

12 Student feedback – what was least useful?
“e-portoflio, because I do not think I will need it in the future.” “I didn't really find using the eportpolio useful because it hasnt been really explained to me and its purpose and use and how it fits into helping me pass my degree” “referencing- difficult, confusing, not enough time spent on it” “I cannot think what part i did not enjoy and find useful”

13 Moving forward Engagement early on in the course is vital
More detailed explanation of the rationale for using e-portfolio? Link to other modules?

14 Implementing the e-portfolio: lessons
Consider how it will be managed Train staff to ensure that they are engaged Invest time in training students Pilot and test! Take a proactive approach (Richards, 2006) Overall: Attendance improved Engagement increased Fewer problems with using the e-portfolio as increased contact time Increase in submission of assignments

15 Any questions?

16 References Barrett, H.C. (2005) White paper: researching electronic portfolios and learner engagement. The reflect initiative: Researching electronic portfolios: Learning, engagement, collaboration, through technology Condie, R. and Livingston, K. (2007) Blending online learning with traditional approaches: changing practices. British Journal of Educational Technology. 38 (2), pp.337 – 348 Gibson, I.W. (2001) At the intersection of technology and pedagogy: considering styles of learning and teaching. Journal of Information Technology for teacher education. 10 (1), pp.37 – 61 Klenowski, V., Askew, S. and Carnell, E. (2006) Portfolios for learning, assessment and professional development in higher education. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education. 31(3), pp

17 References Maor, D. (2003) The teacher’s role in developing interaction and reflection in an online learning community. Educational Media International 40 (1), pp.127 – 137 Morgan, J., Rawlinson, M. and Weaver, M. (2006) Facilitating online reflective learning for health and social care professionals. Open learning:The Journal of Open and Distance Learning. 21 (2), pp.167 – 176 Richards, C. (2006) Towards an integrated framework for designing effective ICT-supported learning environments: the challenge to better link technology and pedagogy. Technology, pedagogy and Education 15 (2), pp

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