Enhancing opportunities to feed forward ; developing problem solving skills using web based scenarios

Backstrom, Michelle (2012) Enhancing opportunities to feed forward ; developing problem solving skills using web based scenarios. In Association of Law Teachers conference, April 2012, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Universities often struggle to satisfy students’ need for feedback. This is an area where student satisfaction with courses of study can be low. Yet it is clear that one of the properties of good teaching is giving the highest quality feedback on student work. The term ‘feedback’ though is most commonly associated with summative assessment given by a teacher after work is completed. The student can often be a passive participant in the process. This paper looks at the implementation of a web based interactive scenario completed by students prior to summative assessment. It requires students to participate actively to develop and improve their legal problem solving skills.

Traditional delivery of legal education focuses on print and an instructor who conveys the meaning of the written word to students. Today, mixed modes of teaching are often preferred and they can provide enhanced opportunities for feeding forward with greater emphasis on what students do. Web based activities allow for flexible delivery; they are accessible off campus, at a time that suits the student and may be completed by students at their own pace.

This paper reports on an online interactive activity which provides valuable formative feedback necessary to allow for successful completion of a final problem solving assignment. It focuses on how the online activity feeds forward and contributes to the development of legal problem solving skills.

Introduction to Law is a unit designed and introduced for completion by undergraduate students from faculties other than law but is focused most particularly on students enrolled in the Bachelor of Entertainment Industries degree, a joint initiative of the faculties of Creative Industries, Business and Law at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia. The final (and major) assessment for the unit is an assignment requiring students to explain the legal consequences of particular scenarios. A number of cost effective web based interactive scenarios have been developed to support the unit’s classroom activities. The tool commences with instruction on problem solving method. Students then view the stimulus which is a narrative produced in the form of a music video clip. A series of questions are posed which guide students through the process and they can compare their responses with sample answers provided. The activity clarifies the problem solving method and expectations for the summative assessment and allows students to practise the skill.

The paper reports on the approach to teaching and learning taken in the unit including the design process and implementation of the activity. It includes an evaluation of the activity with respect to its effectiveness as a tool to feed forward and reflects on the implications for the teaching of law in higher education.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 55735
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Refereed: No
Additional Information: The abstract submitted was refereed by 2 referees.
Keywords: law for non-lawyers, legal education, blended learning, legal problem solving, legal reasoning
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Deposited On: 14 Mar 2013 01:34
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2013 01:34

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