Centre for Legal Education

Helen Taylor, a Senior Lecturer at Nottingham Law School, shares her thoughts on learning design in the face of a global pandemic.

Writing a new module at any time is hard. Alignment of the module outcomes to the teaching materials and the assessment is vital but seems to take me a lot of time. Perhaps, on reflection, I am over analytical in making sure that every T is crossed and every I is dotted.

What is more challenging is altering/adapting that new module in a global pandemic in order to meet student/tutor need and blended learning methods. Let me put this in context, I am currently working on the production of a 3rd year undergraduate skills based module entitled Path to Professional Practice. The module, whilst bearing the same name as previous iteration of the same, is vastly different to its predecessor in several ways. The module is designed from a practical viewpoint – what professional skills have our students developed during their studies at NLS, how can we enhance those skills in order for students to become professionals in any field.

Many of the tasks to teach/enhance existing skills were originally designed to take place in small groups of students (5/6 per small group) on a face to face basis. However, as the pandemic continued, the practicality of teaching in this way was certainly not possible. In brief, I, like so many other legal education teachers, have adapted my teaching practices and methods of engaging students in a skills based module. In my next blog post, I will share some examples of how the teaching methods have been adapted so far (and reflect on the efficacy of the methods from my perspective). In the meantime, I’d like to share this link to an insightful article on Supporting law students’ skills development online by Anne Hewitt and Matthew Stubbs:

Supporting law students’ skills development online – a strategy to improve skills and reduce student stress?

If anyone would like to share similar experiences or discuss the challenges of developing modules in the midst of a pandemic, then please comment below.