ALT Conference, Edinburgh

by Paul Maharg on 22/03/2005

To Edinburgh again, this time for the ALT Conference.  Met old friends again from down south – odd to see them in a Scottish context.  As always precious few Scottish faces, and those that were there were from the west.  What is it about Scottish legal education – why is there this inability to get round a table and talk about what we’re doing? 

Had to miss all yesterday’s sessions but today attended a session by Edwina Higgins, Laura Tatham & Nicola Wakefield, from Manchester Met U. on why do I need the law library if I’ve got Google?  The dissertation student who uses the net and Google, but not books or articles – why has this happened?  The lack of curricular embedding, amongst other things.  Their online tutorials looked like useful introductions to the use of online databases, and they used the tracking facility of BLIS (Basic Legal Information System).  Embedding meant locating the resources within units, links to PDP, reinforcement.  Interesting stuff.  In the Computing & Comms module we wrote in the Strathclyde Law School we have developed an embedding strategy that takes an essay assessment in a first year module as the focus of embedding, and teaching in the Comms section of the module is structured around this. 

I find that I’m increasingly chafing against the 20 min paper limit both as presenter & audience, if only because  practical demonstration and the development of the conceptual structures of ideas are almost impossible to construct coherently for an audience in this slot.  One way around this is to book a block of sessions and get people along to give papers that comment on each other in one way or another, and this is what I’ll try to do in the SLS ICT sessions. 

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