CDETG Conference

October 16, 2007

The fall meeting of CDETG was held last Tuesday at Albany College for Pharmacy. The theme for the conference was Active Learning: Inside and Outside the Classroom and about 45 educators from colleges and universities in the Albany area attended.

I decided to do a presentation on “Clickers in the Law School Classroom” and invited Professor Dan Moriarty to share the stage with me since the talk was about his classroom.


If you believe in coincidences, the evening before our presentation, Dan read a post in a criminal law blog about a positive experience that professor had using clickers:

I had a particularly interesting experience that I doubt I would have had without the clickers. My criminal law class is covering the law of rape, and we were talking about State v. Alston, a controversial 1984 North Carolina case involving the question of how much evidence of force is needed to prove rape. We discussed the facts (as reported in the appellate decision) in considerable detail, and discussed the court’s legal ruling. But I then asked the students to imagine themselves as jurors, and to answer whether — given the facts — they would have found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of forcible rape (as the jury in Alston did, though the appellate court reversed). I also asked women and men to give separate answers (women A and B for proven beyond a reasonable doubt / not proven, men C and D for proven / not proven); and note that the answers are all anonymous…My sense is that this was an important pedagogical tool, chiefly because it helped show people how people of their own age, sex, and social class can disagree on such matters (whether or not they conclude that such disagreement is indeed warranted). As importantly, I doubt that I’d have gotten nearly as much response, or as candid a reaction, if I’d just asked for a show of hands instead of an anonymous clicker vote. And even if I had gotten candid responses, I doubt that students would have had confidence in that candor. So I was very pleased with how the clickers worked here.

Besides mine, there were speaker presentations on Second Life and on Dyknow, vendor talks by Gateway and by Adobe and lots of networking.

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