An Active Learning Approach to Teaching Tough Topics: Personal Jurisdiction as an Example

65 Journal of Legal Education 772, 2016, Forthcoming

45 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2016  

Cynthia M. Ho

Loyola University of Chicago School of Law

Angela Upchurch

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale - School of Law

Susan M. Gilles

Capital University - Law School

Date Written: June 9, 2016

Abstract

This article illustrates how an active-learning approach to teaching and learning tough topics is beneficial for students and teachers alike. Personal jurisdiction is used as an illustrative tough topic, although the recommended strategies can be adapted for use in any course. The article focuses on how the authors have effectively enhanced student learning of personal jurisdiction at three different schools by providing context to personal jurisdiction and adopting active-learning exercises before, during and after class. Context is provided with guided reading of key cases, as well as videos. Active-learning exercises involve a variety of methods, including interactive questions and explanations before, during and after class; these include “clicker” questions as well as questions that can be done as part of a quiz on TWEN. The article provides specific steps for implementation that can be used by faculty teaching with any casebook at little to no cost and with varying degrees of technical intervention. The article also provides practical strategies drawn from the authors’ experience teaching personal jurisdiction, as well as challenging topics in other courses.

Samples of some of the materials used by the authors are included in the Appendix.

Keywords: teaching, active learning, personal jurisdiction, PJ, assessment, feedback, pretesting, formative assessment, multiple assessment, multiple choice, MCQ

JEL Classification: I20, I29, K10, K19, K30, K39, K40, K41, K49

Suggested Citation

Ho, Cynthia M. and Upchurch, Angela and Gilles, Susan M., An Active Learning Approach to Teaching Tough Topics: Personal Jurisdiction as an Example (June 9, 2016). 65 Journal of Legal Education 772, 2016, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2792660

Cynthia M. Ho (Contact Author)

Loyola University of Chicago School of Law ( email )

25 E. Pearson
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Angela Upchurch

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale - School of Law ( email )

1150 Douglas Drive
Carbondale, IL 62901-6804
United States

Susan M. Gilles

Capital University - Law School ( email )

303 E. Broad St.
Columbus, OH 43215-3200
United States

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