Engaging and Assessing Our Students
Session 7 Workshops

Friday, June 3, 2011 – 1:00-2:15 p.m. (includes lunch)

[A] The Greeks Go Back to Law School: A Guide to Integrating Collaborative Learning

Heather J. Garretson, Thomas M. Cooley Law School and Kelly Kinney, SUNY Binghamton

Dear Socrates, you don't have to go it alone. The Greeks modeled the teacher as intellectual adversary, using the Socratic method to test the mettle of students' argumentative skills. Our interactive workshop puts a twist on this model, demonstrating how teachers can be argumentative interrogators and collaborative coaches. Our presentation offers small group activities for large-lecture courses, mock questions for essay exams, and malleable grading criteria to help students self-assess their writing. Coupling the Socratic method with pedagogies associated with contemporary rhetoric and writing studies results in students learning skills that translate into any class and well into practice.


[B] Student-Centered Assessment: How to Include Student Voices in Shaping Pedagogical and Curricular Choices

Susan Brooks, Jennifer Knighton, and Emily Zimmerman, Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law

This workshop will be co-facilitated by an Associate Dean for Experiential Learning who oversees a significant part of the curriculum, a tenure-track professor whose research focuses on pedagogy, and a third-year student with experience in empirical methods. We will engage participants in an interactive discussion about ensuring that assessment — both at the micro-level of the classroom and the macro-level of the overall curriculum — is genuinely "student centered." The goal of this workshop is for participants to learn about different methods of student-centered assessment and share concrete ideas for implementing student-centered assessment in their individual classrooms and at a programmatic level.


[C] Using Outcomes Assessment to Develop and Measure Acquisition of Practical Lawyering Skills

Docia L. Rudley, Cassandra Hill and Tau Kadhi, Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law

What foundational skills do students need to become practice ready lawyers? How do we know if students are acquiring these skills? How can we effectively measure student progress? How can the practicing bar assist us? In this thought-provoking session, the presenters introduce us to an innovative pilot project that uses multiple levels of assessment to measure student progress in acquiring practice-oriented lawyering skills in a unified writing program. Presenters will discuss the project and engage with participants in activities that utilize assessment protocols from the initiative: developing learning outcomes, aligning outcomes with teaching and assessment, reflective learning, and group norming.


[D] Teaching Law with Online Role-Playing Simulations

Ira Nathenson, St. Thomas University School of Law

Live websites provide a dynamic "sandbox" for role-playing simulations that cast students as lawyers acting for fictional clients. Such simulations, initially crafted for a Cyberlaw class, can also be used in a wide variety of other courses. This provides a highly configurable platform for the immersive and holistic learning of knowledge, skills, and professional identity, including realistic fact-finding, advocacy, negotiation, ethical traps, and much more. The workshop will first provide background on relevant technology and methodology. We will then move to a mini role-playing exercise using the live Internet, followed by a discussion of the benefits and challenges of online simulations.


[E] Integrating Real Life Practice, Micro-Lawyering, and Simulations

Jason K. Cohen and Harriet N. Katz, Rutgers School of Law-Camden; and Alyssa DiRusso, Samford University Cumberland School of Law

Engaging students in simulations provides great predictability and control over what students learn, but removes students from the real-life implications of their work and their personal connection to the material and outcomes. Using simulations, micro-lawyering, and the middle ground between real experience and pure simulation can provide students and teachers with the best of both. Participants in this workshop will explore how to develop and implement these methods in the clinical setting, skills classes, and traditional doctrinal courses.