Best Practices and Technology Use at Albany Law

The Best Practices blog recently posted about the value of having input from the Board of Trustees (see March 4, 2009 post) as a law school strives to improve its students’ learning experience.  The first such meeting at Albany Law School will take place this Thursday.

This motivated me to write a post that links to what I have gleaned from the two important publications on “best practices in legal education” and how technology is used here to support its theories.

From Carnegie Foundation’s Educating Lawyers:

“Formative assessments directed toward improved learning ought to be a primary form of assessment in legal education.”

  • Criminal Law professor use of of “clickers” at the beginning of class – discussion that following this assessment fosters better understanding of the concepts and clears up misunderstandings before end of the semester summative assessment (see June 3, 2007 October 16, 2007May 19, 2008,  February 26, 2009 posts)
  • Webcam recorded student simulations for client counseling and negociation classes – professor’s feedback supports students in learning and help students improve these legal skills.(see October 7, 2008,  November 21, 2008,  March 9, 2009 posts)
  • Contracts & Con Law professor’s use of a web-based form to solicit student analysis -professor’s selection of good or poor reasoning also enhance student learning. (see June 3, 2007  and February 28, 2008 posts)
  • Clinic professor’s use of an interactive game in PowerPoint helps the professor know whether his/her coverage of  important topics has been adequate or whether he/she needs to review or present the material again.
  • Contracts professor’s use of an Adobe Connect meeting room to allow students to ask questions (online) about concepts that they did not understand.  The review class is recorded and archived for students who could not attend. (see October 6, 2008 post)

 from Best Practices for Legal Education by Roy Stuckey et al.:

“We should not, however, overlook the value of helping students develop self assessment skills.”
  • The Clinic’s use of MediaNotes – student use tags to annotate their own simulation videos. (see September 25, 2008 post)
  • Negotiation students keep a copy of their recorded negotiation and write a reflection paper on their performance  in addition to the professor’s critique. (see November 21, 2008 post)
  • Teacher-created videos to illustrate lawyering skills – clinic professors assign these videos to groups of students in order to have their critique performances. (see November 23, 2008 post)

“…course web pages can be used to  disseminate instructional objectives; to encourage and reward refl ection on students’
learning processes…”

  • The majority of the professors use TWEN to post class materials, ppt slides, weblinks and to offer interactivity through discussion forums.
  • In fact, there are almost 70 sites this semester in TWEN- for classes, organizations, clinics, etc.

“PowerPoint can be a tool for responding to students’ diverse ways of learning by integrating visual movement and imagery.”

  • Powerpoint is used to enhance classroom learning especially in one professor’s Contracts class.(see January 8, 2007 post)

“Digital technology is making it possible to record and broadcast classroom instruction over the internet, “podcasting.”


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