Collaboration: Day 4 of the #BYOD4L MOOC

Collaboration

I’m going to use this blog post to reflect on some of the approaches I’ve used to promote student collaborative work, and give a couple of examples.

Firstly, I’m simply going to point back to yesterday’s post in which I blogged about curation, which also had a collaborative element, as students built a annotated bibliography together.

Less exciting (technically), but rather exciting as it has real life impact (or potential for impact) is a more recent use of a wiki tool on the institutional VLE. Yeah, yeah; wiki, wiki; seen that, been there, got the t-shirt etc. I hear you say.

Here’s the background: I had ‘some difficulty’ in fully engaging my postgraduate forensic psychology students with my law module. They did engage and I’m not making any criticism, but I found it somewhat hard to get the ‘law making process’ across with an appreciation of the role of their profession could play within this process.

Someone at a law conference inspired me to get students involved in the law making process – namely the consultation exercises undertaken by government, parliament, committees and other bodies setting out the plan or draft form of legislation. This sounded ideal, especially for non-law students to advise the law makers in respect of matters relating to their subject specialism. Cue the latest Scottish Government consultation, right on my doorstep in Scotland, on vulnerable victims of crime. Perfect for Scottish students, and well timed for a Semester-A activity. Future years required a bit of looking further afield to other English-speaking jurisdictions, but the world is quite literally your oyster for relevant live consultations.

In the first week of studying law-for-forensic-psychologists, I agree, it might seem a bit daunting that the class will write to and advise law makers. They, however, see the real life aspect and the purpose or value in professionals submitting their opinion when law makers do consult. They can help to shape the law, which makes for an interesting learning experience on many levels.

The working title of this little project is “Dear Alex…” (Salmond, if it left you wondering) and had run a few times now, always with a wiki – but the current 2013/14 cohort took me by surprise. They unilaterally disengaged with the wiki and, unbeknownst to me, set up a Facebook group/page in which to draft their thoughts and recommendations. I was pleased they had engaged with the task, but felt a little disappointed I didn’t have the data of who did what, when, and what earlier drafts looked like etc, to interrogate! Not exactly the biggest problem I suppose.

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About Michael Bromby
Reader in Law at Glasgow Caledonian University

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