To accommodate this demand, the institution has commissioned the development of a web-based virtual law clinic. This resource should provide opportunities for many more students to gain invaluable experience through working and networking with students, academics and professional pro bono lawyers in the virtual law clinic. Users can work synchronously or asynchronously contributing to discussion within the virtual law clinic’s integrated social network in a safe, supportive and supervised environment.
The pedagogical approach to this project is inspired by the notion that social interaction and collaborative working significantly enhance the quality of learning (Downes, 2010). The asynchronous nature of the project provides the student with the opportunity to reflect on the feedback from other collaborators to promote deep learning. (Laurillard, 2012)
The virtual law clinic project has also been an opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration as it is being designed and built by a team of volunteer computing students in collaboration with the Department of Law. The computing students, who are supervised by a professional project leader, are in turn getting genuine experience developing a real and meaningful project from scratch.
The project is now in development with the aim to have a working prototype by the end of April and a functional system that can be piloted at the start of the 2015/2016 academic year.
The presentation will provide an overview of the Virtual Law Clinic and the key features of it that facilitate collaborative and connectivist learning but the primary focus will be the opportunities and challenges afforder by adopting an interdisciplary approach to this project. The presentation will include contributions from some of the academics and students who are working on this project.
Downes, S. 2010. Learning networks and connective knowledge. In: Yang, H and Yuen, S, Collective Intelligence and e-learning 2.0. Hersey, PA: IGI Global
Laurillard, D. 2012. Teaching as a Design Science: Building Pedagogical Patterns for Learning and Technology, New York: Routledge.