LILAC 2009 – Using wikis in legal education; emotional intelligence in legal education

by Paul Maharg on 23/01/2009

I'm live-blogging the Learning in Law Annual Conference at Warwick.  First session in the parallel set was Clark Cunningham and Nigel Duncan on Ethics in the undergraduate curriculum: an international wiki community.  Very interesting and effective session…

Nigel and Clark took the work that Nigel has put up on the Transforming blog wiki (!) and turned it into a fascinating activity.  Participants, in groups, had the opportunity to do something along the lines of what Clark has his students do, namely comment upon solicitor/professional performance.  In the short session Clark and Nigel showed participants how to login to the wiki, edit it, and use the wiki as what it was designed to do, namely be a locus for theory and examples of transformative practice in legal education.  It was a big task to take us through the whole task in 45 mins, and I had my doubts in advance if Nigel & Clark could do it — but they did, and very well too.  Great stuff — I really enjoyed it, and as a result I'll be posting a lot more of my own material up on the site…

What this demonstrated to me once again was how powerful a tool a wiki is for sharing practice and theory.  LILAC has for the first time used a wiki for its conference site, and it's worked very well.  It will be interesting to see if the site is used post-conference — inevitably, some sites will continue more than others, I guess.   

Next up were Debbie Stringer and Odette Hutchinson (OU & Aston), Teaching with emotional intelligence: delivering ethical lawyers and humane social workers through the VLE.   To tackle resistance in social workers and others, they used reflective journals, values exchange, discussion groups and case studies.  Values exchange involves giving students scenarios, discussion, survey of opinion and discussion of results.  How did they use the VLE?  First, they had to define what professionalism and ethics were for students.  Using the VLE was helpful, they found, because it allows for more interaction with the student, allows the student time to reflect, allows the student to learn at own pace, and participation can be assessed.  They used Articulate, video case studies, discussion forums and quizzes.  Apart from Articulate, standard VLE practice, but well-organised, and well-embedded into curricular practice.  I liked the Better Business Game — useful sim activity. The Values Exchange concept is a fairly sophisticated tool for presenting moral and ethical dilemmas, and providing the environment in which surveys can be carried out and discussed online – in effect providing tools in which emotion and ethics can be discussed. 

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