Monday, June 13, 2016
An Active Learning Approach to Teaching Tough Topics: Personal Jurisdiction as an Example by Cynthia M. Ho, Angela Upchurch, & Susan M. Gilles.
"This article illustrates how an active-learning approach to teaching and learning tough topics is beneficial for students and teachers alike. Personal jurisdiction is used as an illustrative tough topic, although the recommended strategies can be adapted for use in any course. The article focuses on how the authors have effectively enhanced student learning of personal jurisdiction at three different schools by providing context to personal jurisdiction and adopting active-learning exercises before, during and after class. Context is provided with guided reading of key cases, as well as videos. Active-learning exercises involve a variety of methods, including interactive questions and explanations before, during and after class; these include “clicker” questions as well as questions that can be done as part of a quiz on TWEN. The article provides specific steps for implementation that can be used by faculty teaching with any casebook at little to no cost and with varying degrees of technical intervention. The article also provides practical strategies drawn from the authors’ experience teaching personal jurisdiction, as well as challenging topics in other courses.
Samples of some of the materials used by the authors are included in the Appendix."
This is an excellent article, and its techniques can be applied to teaching many other topics. As the authors point out, this approach is a cost-effective way to bring active learning into the doctrinal classroom.