The focus of the paper is innovation in teaching and learning practice showing how a first-year core law module was wholly redesigned for online delivery using the Horton (2011) ‘absorb, do, connect’ approach to large scale lectures and smaller tutorial groups. Didactic lectures were redesigned as shorter 15 minute pre-recorded ‘knowledge nuggets’ to introduce students to legal principles in tort law and enable them to absorb the key cases. Synchronous lectures were co-taught by two members of staff using a variety of discovery activities which improved social interaction and student engagement and made the principles easier to understand, recollect and apply. The activities included role play ‘client’ videos, MCQs, media clips, music and technology (predominantly Padlet, PollEverywhere and the chat function on the Virtual Learning Environment, Blackboard Collaborate) for students to apply their knowledge by enabling them to ‘do’ something with their knowledge. Evaluation suggests that students engaged well with our ‘scaffolding’ approach (Hammond & Gibbons 2005) as indicated by feedback to the student module evaluation survey. Further analysis of student feedback across other first-year core modules indicates similar findings thereby reinforcing the evidence of the success of this innovative approach. It has also resulted in better student attendance and improved outcomes for the module. At this point, results indicate almost 100% increase in first class marks and over a third reduction in the failure rate. Learner analytics provide additional data showing student engagement. These realignments in our module delivery will inform our future teaching practice incorporating the most successful features of the approach.
Pamela Abrams LLB, MA, PGCHE, SFHEA – Pamela is a Senior Lecturer at Westminster Law School. She teaches on undergraduate, postgraduate and professional courses. She is a qualified as a barrister and solicitor. Pamela joined Westminster in 1996. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Pamela’s extensive teaching experience covering, Law of Tort, Legal Skills and Civil Procedure reflecting her experience of legal practice. Pamela’s research experience is in the field of social policy including funding litigation.
Avis Whyte LLB, LLM, PGCHE, PGDipHE, FHEA – Avis joined the University of Westminster Law School in 1995 having completed a master’s degree in European and International Trade Law at the University of Leicester. She works at Westminster as a Senior Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer on the Law of Tort, the English Legal System and Research Methods. Avis is also Assistant LLB Course Leader as well as Module Leader for an online only course (the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL) Legal Foundations Course). Avis has extensive experience in several research fields but primarily that of the legal profession, from students seeking to enter the profession, to lawyers being struck-off due to breaches of professionalism. Avis is a member of Westminster Law School’s Centre on the Legal Profession.