• 2014–2015 Provost's Initiatives

    "Torts," Professor Laura Hermer, School of Law

  • Course Description:

    "When the School of Law consolidated Torts I and Torts II into one, four-credit course, it posed a problem for the weekend JD students. Normally, a class that would be taught in two or three class meetings per week in the Weekday JD program is taught in one, multi-hour sitting in the Weekend JD program. A four-credit course, however, would require a class session of four hours on the weekend, or perhaps a two-hour block on both Saturday and Sunday, in addition to their other classes. Pedagogically, neither of these options was appealing. Rather than requiring the students, most of whom have full-time, weekday jobs, to attend four hours of in-person class time during the weekend, the project allowed students to meet for only three hours per in-person class session, and do one hour of class asynchronously online during the week. Using this format, the students studied the material in modular form, with one or two modules taught asynchronously online, and the remaining ones taught in class. From the course evaluations, students appreciated the mix between in-person and asynchronous, online pedagogical methods. They also appreciated the opportunity to do the extra hour on their own time, rather than having it scheduled. They liked being able to stop videos to review concepts, and use quizzes to gauge their knowledge of the material. Overall final grades in the weekend Torts class were on par, if not slightly superior, to overall final grades in the weekday Torts class.

    "Weekend Torts should continue to be taught in modular form, with one to two modules taught asynchronously online each week and the remainder taught in class. While, in the initial weeks, students were sometimes asked to participate in an online discussion forum, the students ultimately decided that quizzes were more useful to them in determining how well they understood the material. Future iterations of the course should rely more on quizzes and less on discussion forums for review and formative evaluation of the covered information."

    -Professor Laura Hermer