Educating the Next Generation of Lawyers by Transforming the Traditional Law Lecture

Educating the Next Generation of Lawyers by Transforming the Traditional Law Lecture

Technology is changing law. While firms still want students with strong academic backgrounds and exceptional analytical skills, the need for adaptability, client skills, and the ability to innovate is progressively growing. “Law is changing. Access to big data, artificial intelligence and cloud-based computing are affecting firms. They’re also going to change our role and the services we offer. And, in some of these areas, Queen’s Law is leading the way,” said Bill Flanagan, Dean of Law at Queen’s University. The ultimate challenge for educating the next generation’s lawyers is to make sure their education incorporates evolving technology, while also introducing more soft skills – group collaboration, social learning, and experiential learning.

Prior to working with Echo360, Flanagan describes his lectures as the traditional way of teaching law. “There was some Socratic dialogue back and forth with a few students – but largely it consisted of listening and note-taking, followed by a final exam worth 100 percent,” he said. “What Echo360 is doing is going to that next level… I’m really sold on the polling and classroom engagement features in addition to the on demand access to content.” Echo360 provides students with the ability to participate in discussion with peers, flag confusing content, answer polling questions and rewind their classroom lectures with reference slides and contextual notes. Students have the ability to re-experience the lecture, with the playback functionality that lecture capture provides. Moreover, the lecture capture serves as a digital footprint for the student’s experience in class and during their studies as well. A more developed and equipped learning environment is crucial – and Echo360 identifies those needs and provides a cultivated platform for students to learn on.

Flanagan discussed how the dynamics of classroom communications were enhanced by Echo360 – providing students with the ability and ease to ask questions online during the lecture. During the lecture, Flanagan asked his colleague Mary Jo Maur, Assistant Professor and Director, Introduction to Lawyering Skills, to monitor questions and feedback presented by the students. “This was a great way to engage students in asking questions, who might not have otherwise asked questions. The questions asked were generally more thoughtful than what you get when the students put up their hand,” said Flanagan. “It was great, in the lecture, because it broke up the lecture while I was talking and the other students could also see the questions being asked.”

Like many professors, Flanagan uses polling within his lectures to encourage participation and gauge student learning. With Echo360, polling is utilized with a clear and more identifiable purpose – analytics are produced and real learning outcomes can be determined. Flanagan asked his colleague Mary Jo to ask the students whether or not the polling was useful – and the answer was yes. The lecture capture functionality, incorporated with polling, allowed students to apply the knowledge as they were learning. Moreover, the Echo360 program also provides professors the ability to track attendance. Flanagan was impressed that these functionalities were available because they could be a great way for professors to assign a grade for class participation and provide an incentive to students to engage more often during the lecture.

“The great virtue of this is that it doesn’t require the professor to do anything differently,” said Flanagan. “You don’t have to change anything and you can engage in the system progressively as it interests you. And that’s great because the initial hurdle isn’t a large one. Once professors see that and experience it, then they’ll be more ready to engage with the technology and use it.”

Along with other professions, a career in law is ever changing and law students are evolving. “We are committed to investing in every avenue that can improve how we educate and prepare our students. Experiential learning, intelligent simulation, the blended classroom – all of these things are part of our mission to lead the way as educators,” said Flanagan. “We’re open to and exploring new technologies and new approaches, preparing our students to become lawyers who can not only practice, but also thrive in a changing profession.”

Echo360 makes it easy to get started and provides tools to make the education experience more beneficial than the traditional brick-and-mortar law lecture. Queen’s University plans on utilizing Echo360 for other courses throughout the university. The school has identified the value of measuring student engagement, through the analytics provided by the Echo360 technology. “This is a much deeper way to engage with our students. So far, we’ve only skimmed the surface of what Echo 360 can do, but there is also a lot of curiosity to go further,” said Flanagan.

Contact Echo360 for more information and to discover the opportunities that lecture capture provides.

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