CONALL and Darwin at the Annual Meeting

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by Jim Heller

We are pleased to announce a program at the 2002 AALL Annual Meeting we are calling "Legal Research Meets Darwin:  The Origin and Evolution of Research Courses at Two Law Schools." The program will take place on Sunday, July 21, 2002, from 11:45 am - 1:00 pm. The program is designed for the Conference of Newer Academic Law Librarians (CONALL), but anyone who teaches basic or advanced research courses is invited to attend.

Teaching and learning are dynamic processes: what you teach, how you teach, who you teach, and when you teach continually evolve over time. Law librarians at William & Mary and the University of Texas law schools will explain the development of our basic and advanced research courses working within our respective law school environments. Speakers from William & Mary include Jim Heller (coordinator and moderator), Chris Byrne, Fred Dingledy, and Jennifer Sekula. Kumar Percy and Beth Youngdale will speak about legal research instruction at Texas.

During the program the speakers will make brief presentations on the basic and advanced research courses at their schools. Then we will move to a roundtable discussion. Issues to be discussed include:

  • How we decide what, and what not, to teach in the respective courses
  • How we balance what we think law students need to know with institutional "limitations" such as available time, course credits, and grades v. pass-fail
  • How we motivate students in required and elective courses
  • How we schedule courses, including offering compact credit-bearing mini-courses
  • How we teach, including lectures, demos, and student assignments
  • How we assess whether our courses are successful
  • How we integrate newer law librarians into our teaching programs

At the conclusion of the program, we hope attendees appreciate that teaching research is a dynamic process - what you teach, how you teach, who you teach, and when you teach can -- and should -- change over time. Again, anyone who teaches research is invited to join us in Orlando.