Communicating Law to first year students through podcasts and vodcasts
Accessing online resources: Student working independently on laptop in Building 6
(Photo by Anna Zhu)
Tracey Booth is introducing a ‘flipped learning’ approach to a first year subject, developing targeted online resources so students can then focus on exploring and testing their learning in the collaborative and practical class sessions.
What the project is about
Ms Booth and her team are developing online resources and learning activities to support the needs of the first year law student. The online resources provide interactive case analysis activities through podcasts, vodcasts (video podcasts) and demonstrations of particular legal skills to assist students in learning fundamental concepts and prepare for their on-campus class.
Why the project is being introduced
Several semesters’ worth of student feedback suggested that students would benefit from more structured learning support as well as practising particular skills prior to their face-to-face sessions. There were no dedicated lectures to provide detailed explanations, make explicit linkages between topics and demonstrate some of the more difficult technical legal skills. Much of the classroom time was often given over to ‘mini-lectures’ to fill this gap before embarking on practical learning activities.
How the project is being implemented
Class-time is being ‘flipped’ with a shift away from “mini-lectures” towards workshops where students practise legal skills and use legal concepts in practical ways.
The series of eight vodcasts are paired with an electronic copy of the hypothetical legal case and related questions are made available online. Currently, the vodcast and podcast format is that of a conversation between two experienced first-year lecturers discussing the subject case and an approach to the analysis.
The analysis will be broken down into a series of steps and each step will be the subject of a separate short podcast. The support materials will be designed to enable students to work on each step before listening to the next podcast.
The team has not made a final decision about how best to support this activity, however one possible strategy is using SPARKplus to interject the podcast with questions, making the students stop, think and engage with the content.
Challenges and considerations
The teaching team found it difficult, at first, to know how to design and film the vodcasts, as well as how best to reformat the classroom teaching to integrate them. They recommend spending a good amount of time to plan, saying that such preparation is key.
Educational Technology Network. Classroom Podcasting/Vodcasting: What is it and why you should use it.
Balleste, R., Rosenberg, J. & Smith-Butler, L. (2006). Podcasting, Vodcasting, and Law: How to understand the newest “it” technology and use it in your library. AALL Spectrum.