As part of our strategy to continually develop and design high quality and educationally sound courses the Undergraduate Laws Programmes (ULP) are always keen to take an opportunity to consider how we can innovate and provide more effective delivery methods.
As we noted in a previous post we have been involved in creating a Massive Open Online Course- otherwise known as a MOOC. The course, English Common Law: Structure and Principles, which launches on Sunday 23rd June, will be on the Coursera platform and is the first of its kind from an English University. We have two instructors from University of London Colleges: Professor Dame Hazel Genn (UCL) and Dr Adam Gearey (Birkbeck) who have been recording lectures and preparing resources for this free online course. Any student can enrol for this course, though it doesn’t confer, or count for any credit towards any undergraduate laws programme.
The course is designed as an introduction to English Common Law and will give students a broad understanding of the characteristics and functions of the English Legal System. It will run for six weeks and include a range of themes which are presented each week: Introduction to Sources of Law; The Hierarchy of the Courts and Common Law and Equity; Legislation and Parliamentary Sovereignty; Judicial Precedent and the role of Judges; Statutory Interpretation; European Union and Human Rights.
Learning will be through video lectures delivered by the instructors supported by activities, links and other reading resources. Students will be able to communicate with one another through the Discussion Forums and there will be opportunities to interact with the academics during the course. We will also be introducing a Twitterchat each week to allow students to discuss concepts introduced on the course. Assessment will be in the form of multiple choice questions and students who complete the course successfully will receive a Statement of Accomplishment (which, in line with courses of this nature, doesn’t confer any credit).
There are challenges with developing a course of this nature- not least the fact that currently there are 40,000 students signed up to start. In the longer term we acknowledge that creative use of technology is the way forward for our Laws programmes but we understand that this has to be part of a managed process. We’re keen to understand what students find useful and will be seeking feedback on the innovative aspects of the course which will help us to develop new methodologies for our own Undergraduate Laws programmes. Through testing emerging educational tools in the MOOC we will inform our development of the Laws programme at University of London and ensure we embed good educational practice to further enhance the student experience. More information on the course and details of how to register can be found on the introductory page.
If you’ve signed up on the course you may be interested in our social media accounts and pages