Learning in law school is essentially self-directed. Most of your learning will happen outside of the classroom and independently of myself or any other professor. In fact, many professors, (myself included) will test you on significantly more than can ever be covered in class. My role is to structure my course in such a way as to facilitate your self-directed learning. I do that through the following: detailed syllabus, assigned readings and discussion questions and classroom discussion.
A. Detailed Syllabus
The syllabus for this course consist of this webpage and connected webpages. The syllabus is an important study tool. It provides you with specific guidelines as to my expectations regarding what you should learn, what skills and understanding I value and how I organize the content of the course. However, the syllabus is not a contract and I retain the right to modify it at my discretion.
Assignments consist of both readings and videos. The assigned reading provides you with the opportunity not only to obtain rule and process information. The assigned readings serve as a basis for discussion. It is my expectation that you will be thoroughly familiar with the assignment and completely prepared for class participation.
Many of the assignments will be on the internet. Please do not panic if the course web site and/or conferencing site are not working. This happens occasionally and, in almost all instances, is only a temporary situation. The best advice is just to wait and try again later. TIP: DO NOT WAIT TILL THE LAST MINUTE TO PREPARE FOR CLASS.
C. Guided Discussion
Guided Discussion is a non-hierarchical verbal interaction among a group of persons on a specified topic with a purpose. There are several benefits to the discussion method as a technique in this course.
First, good discussion can provide an active learning role. Research shows that students learn more and retain learned information longer when their role in the learning process is active.
Second, good discussion encourages students to listen to and learn from each other. Discussion encourages cooperative learning rather than competitive learning.
Third, discussion involves high level thinking, critical thinking skills.
Fourth, discussion exposes students to viewpoints other than their own.
Fifth, discussion helps to develop oral advocacy and other skills.
Sixth, discussion provides an opportunity for students to bring their opinions and feelings to the study of law.