Monday, 11 March 2013

A5: Engaging legal minds: Providing the digital tools students need

Emily Allbon
City University, UK

In 2002 City University quietly launched a website for its law students aimed at improving their access to resources: Lawbore. Eleven years later that site has grown into the community portal for the City Law School and popular destination for law students nationwide. These words from an undergraduate student in 2012 via email sum up its popularity:

"I attended the National Law Student Forum in Nottingham Trent University and when the students knew I was representing City University they couldn't stop talking about Lawbore. Words can't describe how happy I was to see students outside our university talk about it and use it. I couldn't but explain to you how thankful I am of you, and all that effort we see you put-in, pays off."

This session will introduce the resource and its various components: videos, talking slideshows, twitter, student-generated content and skills tutorials alongside study and careers advice. The ten-year anniversary prompted a site re-design, iPad compatibility work and development of an iPad app (ongoing).

Creation of the law librarian, Lawbore has been custom-built from Day One and it was time to gain some insights into whether the technology incorporated in the resource is fit for purpose. This paper will report back on research carried out via focus groups aiming to gain insight into which embedded tools students find most useful to their studies within this web resource. The study also probed into how far the tools enhance or enable their individual learning and gathered data on learner pathways via recorded exercises in the interaction lab.

The paper seeks to inform on the use of social media and learning objects and the extent to which these make a difference to student motivation and engagement. The values placed on different types of content available via Lawbore will also be covered.

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