Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Reviewing Outlines

One of the toughest challenges when reviewing and giving feedback on student work is commenting on outlines.  I require students on academic probation to turn in copies of their outlines to me on a rolling basis.  One question I hear every year, but don't have a complete answer to, is "How can you 'correct' an outline when every outline should reflect the individual's learning style and you don't correct for content?"  It's not a question I have a precise answer to because the student is correct; outlines should look very different depending on the student, and their teacher. I try to reframe the question; I don't really "correct" outlines; I give feedback designed to help the student make the most of the outlining experience.  One of the  reasons I require outlines is to impose external discipline on the student. They have to complete the outline because it is due, and that itself is helpful for students who have a hard time completing work on time. Another purpose of outlining is to see if the student is getting the big picture of the course.  This is a challenge for me because I don't have the time to sit in on each class more than a couple of times a semester, so I am not conversant in the methods of each professor.  However, I can tell when a student is getting lost in the details.  Amy's post on Friday was a great way to conceptualize cases for a student who gets lost in the details of cases.  And although I don't correct for content, I can tell when a student is going off the rails. If a student has only two prongs for the Lemon test in a Con Law outline, they need some serious help substantively. If I see they are having major issues with content  when I review their outline, I can direct them to see their professor before it is too late in the semester.  (RCF)

Advice | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Reviewing Outlines:


Post a comment