Instructional Design for Law Librarians (RIPS-SIS)

Tuesday, July 28 (11:30am) - Thursday, July 30, 2020 (2:30pm US/Central)

Most law librarians who teach have never taken an instructional design course and base their best practices on watching and learning from other law librarians. This three-day workshop series is a chance to hear from law librarians who actively integrate cognitive theory, accessibility best practices, and instructional design in their teaching. Join us to learn from others, and immediately apply your newfound knowledge to your own syllabi and course assignments. Sessions include panel discussions on accessibility and instructional design; designing research courses for LLM and international students; and more!

This three-day workshop is open to all AALL members at no charge. If you have any questions, please contact Mari Cheney at

Day 1 Schedule: July 28, 2020

Change Your Syllabus, Change Your Life, presented by Elizabeth Sherowski, moderated by Mari Cheney
11am-12:30pm CDT

University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Professor Elizabeth Sherowski will lead a hands-on discussion on how to make the move from a rule-focused syllabus to a learner-focused syllabus. Professor Sherowski will illustrate this transition through examples from the evolution of her own syllabi. By the end of the session, attendees should understand how and why the learner-focused syllabus is better for both students and their professors. There will be ample opportunity for participants to work on their own syllabi.

Instructional Design: Empowering Foreign LLM Students to Learn and Thrive, presented by Jennifer Allison, moderated by Mari Cheney
1pm-2:15pm CDT

We'll discuss how some of the unique skills and experiences that foreign LLM students bring to an instructional setting can be considered and leveraged to optimize the students' success in learning and conducting legal research. The instructor, an American academic law librarian who holds both a U.S. J.D. and an LL.M. in German law, will draw on her own experience as a foreign LL.M. student to guide the discussion.

Day 2 Schedule: July 29, 2020

Book Club Discussion: Small Teaching Online, led by Rebecca Fordon
11am-12:30pm CDT

Backward Design, presented by Heather Joy and AJ Blechner, moderated by Mari Cheney
1pm-2:15pm CDT

As we prepare for fall amidst the changes wrought by COVID-19, we have the unique opportunity to rethink our teaching methods and optimize our instruction for both online and in-person classes. Backward design is an established pedagogical framework for developing lessons that prioritize essential learning objectives and measure student understanding. Join us for an interactive workshop on adapting our teaching using backward design.

Day 3 Schedule: July 30, 2020

Accessibility & Instructional Design, presented by Rena Seidler, Franklin Runge, and Mari Cheney, moderated by Mari Cheney
11am-12:15pm CDT

In this session, panelists will discuss best practices for accessibility in instructional design, including captioning options for video and web conferencing, and document and web content creation for blind and low-vision patrons. The panelists will also discuss inclusionary practices for the classroom.

An Introduction to Evidence-Based Instruction: Using Cognitive Theory to Improve Your Teaching, presented by Alyson Drake, moderated by Mari Cheney
1pm-2:30pm CDT

In this session, Alyson Drake will give a quick overview of cognitive overload and working memory, and then give easy examples of ways to modify in-person and online instructional sessions to help increase students' long-term retention of information, transfer of knowledge, and more. Attendees should bring a syllabus or teaching outline for a single instructional session so they can participate in a hands-on session to incorporate some of these strategies into their classes.