Live blogging LILAC: Parallel 1: Simulation and Criminal Law: Amy Musgrove, Vicky Thirlaway

by Paul Maharg on 29/01/2010

Live blogging at LILAC.  First session I attended was Amy Musgrove & Vicky Thirlaway, on a sim in Criminal Law.  They went through the initial process of how they arrived at simulation. Usual issues – retention, progression, traditional assessment, etc with a class of 400 students.  The new assessment regime was a double module.  In a pilot they introduced early assessment via MCQs, ie formative leading to summative assessment, worked well; and introduced this to a large cohort.  They also targeted non-participants.

The online project was effectively the sim in embryo.  Assessment?  Letter to client was thought too easy.  A memo to supervising solicitor was next up.  Team was sceptical: moving away from traditional assessment topics and forms was problematic for them.    Students were given tight deadlines for return of assessed work, and there were tight deadlines for staff in giving feedback on student work.

Vicky and Amy noted that it was the variety of media that was one of the drivers for them – the possibility of using realistic evidence, and giving feedback upon student work based on that evidence.  Also, the opportunity for students to construct the case and particularly the facts of the case was important.  Part of th 

Interesting point that students were compelled to work in groups and all had to adhere to the deadlines for submission of work.  Students also liked (as they always do) seeing their feedback in context of other students’; and of course collaborative working.  This was evidenced not just by the evaluation forms returned and their positive comments, but by the level of engagement on discussion forums. 

Good session.  Questions centre on the process of feedback, simulation learning.  One participant (sort of a devil's advocate question) queried the role of technology: what did it actually contribute to the process.  Amy answered that, basically, the sim couldn't be run without it, which is right.  But of course the role of technology is much more profound, certainly on communcations issues.  In our PI project for instance we allow students access to eight years of prior discussion forums — in other words we're using the distributed knowledge of prior student groups to support student learning in the present.  

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