Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Teaching Inspiration

I have been absent from the blog for a bit as I moved to UConn. It's been a very busy time;  I am planning for a brand-new 2L ASP course at the law school for the fall, as well as planning an undergraduate course for entering freshman in the Honors Program introducing the fundamentals of law. I have not taught to undergrads in many years, and it took some brainstorming to come up with a "hook" that would get them excited about the course and about law.  I decided on "Controversial Issues at the Intersection of Sports and Law." I am not a sports fanatic, by any means, but I am at a sports-crazy school, and I know that is a way that students from across disciplines to see the applicability of the law in their lives.  As I was searching for ways teach the course, I settled on a case study approach.  Further brainstorming, and significant research, led me to topics that spanned most first-year law courses; home run baseballs and Property, Constitutional Law, double jeopardy, dual sovereignty and Michael Vick, beyond a reasonable doubt as a criminal standard, preponderance of the evidence as a civil standard and OJ Simpson. 

What does this have to do with ASP? UConn has given me considerable latitude when planning my ASP course for 2L's, so I have also been brainstorming about different methods to teach that course.  Using doctrinal material to teach ASP is the way to go, but it is sometimes hard to find an area that covers enough areas of law to be useful to students. Remedies (thank you, Mike Schwartz), like Sports Law, is a great way to cover multiple areas of law. Case studies are a great way to reach students who may be turned off by their experience in law school. It can remind them that law is about real people and real problems. It can remind some of them why they are in law school.

I also want to say thank you to the ASPer who wrote me last year about the case study method. I would like to give her a personal thank you for the idea, but I have lost the email (it was on the VLS account).  It really is a wonderful method of teaching law in a creative way; thank you for the suggestion! (RCF)

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