Legal education in a changing world: Engaging the modern law student

  • Date: 8 May 2012
  • Start Time: 09:30 am
  • Location/venue: MMU School of Law, Sandra Burslem Building, Lower Ormond Street, MANCHESTER , M15 6HB

This workshop will examine a number of emerging issues with a focus on developing strategic responses to the changing nature of legal education. The event will include workshop sessions relating to engagement, retention, curriculum design and the use of technology.

Final Programme

09.30-10.00: Arrival

10.00- 11.00: Closing the loop – linking assessment criteria to feedback/feedforward for students. Alison Bone, University of Brighton

11.00-11.15: Break

11.15-12.15: “Think about it!”: Can structured experience and assessed reflection help law students adjust to university? Simon Brooman and Sue Darwent, Liverpool John Moores University

12.15-13.15: Lunch

13.15-14.00: Providing Electronic Feedback. Michael Bromby, HEA Law Discipline Lead

14.00-15.00: "It's what you do with it that counts". Embedding skills into the law curriculum. Becky Huxley-Binns, Nottingham Law School

15.00-15.30: Feedback from workshop sessions and plenary

Contact email

Post event information

Event Report from Catherine Easton

This event included workshops and discussions based upon the wider theme of engaging the modern law student.  Over 20 delegates attended the event and participated in activities which supported the sharing of good practice and the development of ideas for change.

The first workshop was facilitated by Alison Bone of the University of Brighton.  She examined how assessments can be designed to motivate students, while also fulfilling the requirements of professional bodies.  Strategies were discussed relating to how to promote student engagement with feedback and increase student understanding of the impact good feedback can have on future performance.  The debate surrounding the session covered issues such as the practicalities of providing timely, effective feedback and reinforcing the links between feedback and the original assessment aims.

Continuing with the theme of engagement, the next session was facilitated by Simon Brooman and Sue Darwent of Liverpool John Moores University.  It was based on the results of three research projects focusing upon engagement and reflection.  Before discussing the results and analysis, we were treated to feedback from the students themselves through a number of video clips.  A number of students eloquently evaluated their experiences of an exercise which took place during induction when they were given a group poster task, to be completed with support of student mentors, personal tutors, library staff and the module leader.  A very striking aspect of this research was that, through Sue’s academic background in psychology, they were able to develop a scale by which to evaluate the impact of the initiatives through cluster analysis.  This led to their discussion being grounded in empirical research, enabling data-supported conclusions to be drawn about the impact of their initiatives on the processes of induction and transition.  A further piece of work evaluated an exercise which aimed to support students’ engagement with reflection through the recommendation of teaching and learning articles which, while aimed at educators, discussed reflective practices used by students.  The final exercise explored issues surrounding student reflective diaries and the development of self-efficacy and learner autonomy.  Simon and Sue’s work demonstrated a strong commitment to innovation, grounded in empirical pedagogic research.  Their presentation sparked a lively debate and gave delegates ideas and inspiration to bring about change, particularly in relation to induction processes. 

After lunch and table three’s victory in the (vaguely) law-themed fact and picture quiz, the next workshop was facilitated by Rebecca Huxley-Binns of Nottingham Law School.  This built on the theme of engagement by examining how to embed skills into the legal curriculum.  In a very lively presentation, the debate surrounded how to fulfil core knowledge requirements by approaching them from a skills-focused perspective.  Practical examples were given of how mooting exercises can be strategically employed to cover and assess required legal skills.  This then led into a wider discussion among the delegates surrounding the nature of the legal curriculum and attitudes towards what we are trying to achieve in the education of “a law student”.

A plenary session was then led by MMU’s LLB Programme Director, Cath Little and one of MMU’s Programme Leaders, Nick Dearden.  This presented a practical overview of the strategic planning and core aims behind a recent wide-scale LLB curriculum review and redesign.  The overarching theme was the involvement of students in the process, with a key aim being increased engagement and greater student autonomy.  Finally, delegates were given the opportunity to write a note outlining ideas for change which will be posted to them at an unknown time in the future.  It is hoped that in this way the motivation and inspiration experienced at the end of the session will be remembered and acted upon in the future. 

Post-event related documents