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Joseph Tomain
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Thank you to all for your comments! The more I think about it, I do some of the techniques suggested here. In Media Law, I provide the list of defamation elements at the beginning of that unit. Then, over a couple of weeks, we work through sets of cases and notes on each element. In Contracts, this approach works for some topics, such as the elements of a promissory estoppel claim. But, thus far, I have found that the variation among state laws combined with common law developments makes it difficult to start with a "rule" for many areas. I like having the students show me what they know or understand before I provide the comfort of a "right" answer because it helps me gauge whether the students are learning the material. I also focus on repetition and review. At the beginning of each class, I do a 5-12 minute review of key themes from the prior class. While I do not expect to make dramatic changes to my methodology on this point, I plan on making a conscious effort to try this out on some units or rules. I focus a lot on repetition and review. I can improve my framing of the topic at the beginning of a unit or rule. Enjoy the day!
Toggle Commented May 25, 2012 on Teaching Methodology Question at The Faculty Lounge
That helps, Orin. Thank you. I will try this out next semester.
Toggle Commented May 24, 2012 on Teaching Methodology Question at The Faculty Lounge
Thank you for feedback, Erik and Orin. Perhaps in the Fall, I will experiment with this approach on some units. I believe I provide some framework for each unit by emphasizing chapter and sub-chapter titles as a way to understand what we are covering, but am sure I could expand on this step to provide a deeper framework. As far as a rules-first approach, do you go so far as stating the holding of a case before asking the students to contribute to the discussion? Cheers, Joe
Toggle Commented May 24, 2012 on Teaching Methodology Question at The Faculty Lounge
Thank you for the updated information, oldgulph!
Great post. I've used similar approaches for both in-class and take home exams. I believe they were successful, and know, at the very least, they were not disasters. In a Cyberlaw course of approximately 18 students, I administered an in-class, closed book essay exam. I provided the exam questions more than 24 hours before the exam, but cannot recall exactly how much time. I did not place any limitations on whom they could consult, reasoning that the closed-book nature meant that whatever they wrote down came from their head (regardless of how it got there). In a Media Law course with over 60 students, I had a two-part exam: (1) 50 multiple choice questions in class on the scheduled exam day, closed book; and (2) a take-home essay question on net neutrality. They had approximately two weeks to do the take-home exam. They had to bring a hard copy of their take-home answer to the in-class portion of the exam. The take-home portion was anonymous (i.e. exam ID number on the paper). They were allowed to talk to anyone. The only rules were that they could not share their written product with anyone; and they could not receive unpublished written information (such as an email or comments on a draft). They could receive a published work (e.g. here's a law review article that might help you). A key control on both the in-class and take-home techniques was that a good answer must necessarily draw on required course readings and class discourse. I told the Media Law students: "Even if you write the most brilliant net neutrality essay ever, if it does not incorporate required readings or information from class discussions, it will not be the best paper for this exam." I am always tweaking exam techniques and open to new ideas, but here is my current thinking on why I provide more than 24 hours: A student cannot complain that they did not have enough time because the day before they had another exam or a flat tire or whatever. In short, I take away any reasonable complaint that they did not have enough time to think about it. Final point: I agree with your view on transparency with students. The more I am transparent with them, the better for everyone.
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Apr 27, 2012