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Sapere aude - dare to be wise
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Student/teacher panel on the quality of teaching in law school
Posted 6:02 PM by Luke
The first issue covered by the panel was the process of gauging students' performance and absorption of the material throughout the semester. The students on the panel were concerned that too few classes had midterms or other mechanisms to judge their learning progress. The general feeling amongst the students, which the professors seemed amenable to, was to have weekly or quarterly ungraded quizes, or at least ungraded midterms.

The second issue covered dealt with teacher evaluations. Students expressed frustration with the inconsistency with which tenured professors even handed out evaluation forms to their students. They, along with the professors, expressed frustration with the premade evaluation forms, which often contain inapplicable questions. The professors highly encouraged students to use the free-form comment fields on the back of the eval forms.

The third issue dealt with the socratic method. Student Reagan Gibson gave an eloquent defense of the socratic style of teaching. Nothing else of note on this issue.

The fourth issue dealt with course syllabi. Student Kelly Paulter mentioned a frustration common among many students: that professors' syllabi quickly stray from reality, causing students confusion over what material they are responsible for. She suggested a method that a couple of her professors have done: creating no syllabus and rather just giving the next class's assignment during the preceding class. Professor Rhutenburg quickly opposed this method, but with no support. Professor Moore, speaking from the audience, suggested using OnCourse to post the upcoming assignments.

The fifth issue dealt with LARC. Several complaints came out here, but to do it justice, I think I will reserve for it, its own post.

The final issue was the use of teaching tools. Nothing of note here either.

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