2020 RIPS-SIS Instructional Design For Law Librarians

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 presented by the Research Instruction & Patron Services SIS (RIPS-SIS) was held on July 28, 2020 through July 30, 2020. It was a chance to hear from law librarians who actively integrate cognitive theory, accessibility best practices, and instructional design in their teaching.

Change Your Syllabus, Change Your Life

Date: July 28, 2020
Moderator: Mari Cheney, Lewis and Clark Law School
Speaker: Elizabeth Sherowski, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law

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University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Professor Elizabeth Sherowski lead a hands-on discussion on how to make the move from a rule-focused syllabus to a learner-focused syllabus. Professor Sherowski illustrated 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.

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Instructional Design: Empowering Foreign LLM Students to Learn and Thrive

Date: July 28, 2020
Moderator: Mari Cheney, Lewis and Clark Law School
Speaker: Jennifer Allison, Harvard Law School Library

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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 were discussed. The instructor, an American academic law librarian who holds both a U.S. J.D. and an LL.M. in German law, drew on her own experience as a foreign LL.M. student to guide the discussion.

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Book Club Discussion: Small Teaching Online

Date: July 29, 2020
Moderator: Mari Cheney, Lewis and Clark Law School
Speaker: Rebecca Fordon, UCLA Law Library

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Backward Design

Date: July 29, 2020
Moderator: Mari Cheney, Lewis and Clark Law School
Speaker: Heather Joy, Fowler School of Law, Chapman University; AJ Blechner, Harvard Law School Library

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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.

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Accessibility & Instructional Design

Date: July 30, 2020
Moderator: Mari Cheney, Lewis and Clark Law School
Speaker: Rena Seidler, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law; Franklin Runge, Washington & Lee University School of Law Library; Mari Cheney, Lewis and Clark Law School

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In this session, panelists discussed 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 also discusse inclusionary practices for the classroom.

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An Introduction to Evidence-Based Instruction: Using Cognitive Theory to Improve Your Teaching

Date: July 30, 2020
Moderator: Mari Cheney, Lewis and Clark Law School
Speaker: Alyson Drake, Texas Tech University School of Law Library

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In this session, Alyson Drake gave a quick overview of cognitive overload and working memory, and then gave 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 brought a syllabus or teaching outline for a single instructional session so they could participate in a hands-on session to incorporate some of these strategies into their classes.

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