Curriculum renewal in legal education

Kift, Sally M., Butler, Desmond A., Field, Rachael M., McNamara, Judith, & Brown, Catherine (2013) Curriculum renewal in legal education. Office for Learning and Teaching, Australian Government, Sydney NSW.

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Abstract

This project investigated ways in which the learning experience for students in Australian law schools could be enhanced by renewing final year legal curriculum through the design of effective capstone experiences to close the loop on tertiary legal studies and better prepare students for a smooth transition into the world of work and professional practice. Key project outcomes are a set of final year curriculum design principles and a transferable model for an effective final year program – a final year Toolkit comprising a range of templates, models and specific capstone examples for adoption or adaptation by legal educators. The project found that the efficacy of capstone experiences is affected by the curriculum context within which they are offered. For this reason, a number of ‘favourable conditions’, which promote the effectiveness of capstone experiences, have also been identified. The project’s final year principles and Toolkit promote program coherence and integration, should increase student satisfaction and levels of engagement with their experience of legal education and make a valuable contribution to assurance of learning in the new Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) environment. From the point of view of the student experience, the final year principles and models address the current fragmented approach to final year legal curricula design and delivery. The knowledge and research base acquired under the auspices of this project is of both discipline and national importance as the project’s outcomes are transferable and have the potential to significantly influence the quality and coherence of the program experience of final year students in other tertiary disciplines, both within Australia and beyond. Project outcomes and deliverables are available on both the project’s website http://wiki.qut.edu.au/display/capstone/Home and on the Law Capstone Experience Forum website http://www.lawcapstoneexperience.com/.

In the course of developing its deliverables, the project found that the design of capstone experiences varies significantly within and across disciplines; different frameworks may be used (for example, a disciplinary or inter-disciplinary focus, or to satisfy professional accreditation requirements), rationales and objectives may differ, and a variety of models utilised (for example, an integrated final year program, a single subject, a suite of subjects, or modules within several subjects). Broadly however, capstone experiences should provide final year students with an opportunity both to look back over their academic learning, in an effort to make sense of what they have accomplished, and to look forward to their professional and personal futures that build on that foundational learning.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 64249
Item Type: Report
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Legal Education, Capstone , Final year, LJHERN, HERN
ISBN: 9781921916687
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified (130299)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > OTHER LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (189900) > Law and Legal Studies not elsewhere classified (189999)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Research Centres > Higher Education Research Network
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2013 The Author(s) & Office for Learning and Teaching, Australian Government
Deposited On: 12 Nov 2013 23:08
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2014 03:11

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