Friday, March 21, 2008

report from Rocky Mountain regional conference

Shawn_nevers The Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference began today in Salt Lake City at the University of Utah.

I started the afternoon with a session on "Getting Past Google:  Tips for Teaching Electronic Legal Research" by Shawn Nevers, from BYU.  He spoke about the difficulty of teaching e-research effectively.  He offered a telling comparison of the change in students' perception of their e-research skills versus the reality of their skill level:  ten years ago, their perception and reality were similar; today, their perception of their skill level far exceeds the reality of those same skills, resulting in overconfidence.

He offered some tips for teaching e-research:

First, get involved with teaching e-research; don't leave it to vendor reps.

Second, meet your students where they're at--connect with how they use the internet for research by comparing Google searching with legal research.

Third, teach them the weaknesses as well as the strengths of e-research--they may never have heard anything negative about e-research or about its limitations.

Finally, offer practice and feedback both inside and outside of class.  Lecture and examples are not enough; students need hands-on practice, preferably guided or with feedback.


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