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Overview - University of Wollongong Teaching & Learning Journal

Abstract

Since 1994 the author has been designing a template, applicable across the curriculum, for delivering student centred, interactive learning in a self-directed, self-managing team format. The educational basis and management strategies underpinning such an approach were developed with the support of a University ofWollongong Strategic Development Grant, and the model was successfully trialed this year in the Faculty of Law core compulsory subject of Torts, meeting or exceeding objectives in terms of student learning outcomes on both substantive and process criteria. The pilot consisted of seventy six students, all at least in their second year of Law, organised for the semester into seventeen teams ranging in number from three to six individuals. Teamwork was compulsory, and each team member received the same mark for assignments prepared jointly. Assessment related both to substantive (legal) and process (teamwork) tasks. Normal seminar classes were held for two of the four timetabled hours per week, and teams were expected to meet as necessary outside class, not less than one other two hour period weekly. Many of these team meetings were conducted under formal observation, either by teaching staff and/or other student teams, the observation reportS forming part of the final assessment. Readings were prescribed each week for both law and teamwork, and the legal material was organised around a series of weekly modules consisting of ten to fifteen questions, problems, hypotheticals, etc. Various specific team tasks, not all directly assessable, were set. An introductory, one-day workshop was held which included outdoor and indoor exercises and activities related to teamwork. Findings from the pilot will be incorporated into the design of an extended trial over three subjects, planned for 1997, presently the subject of a CAUT grant application for two year funding. Implications for student learning, Faculty resources, and academic staff development will be considered.

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