Friday, June 6, 2014

SL used for Postgraduate Law Degree teaching @ UWA

A Second Life machinima has been custom made for the first time for one of the major units for a degree programme at UWA with the efforts of UWA Associate Professor Natalie Skead, former champion of the international UWA film challenges, Laurina Hawks from the town of Ulm, Germany, and UWA virtual worlds founder Jay Jay Jegathesan.

The brilliant short film (machinima) "Equity & Trusts: Estoppel Tutorial", was created by Laurina based on a script written by Professor Skead for the LAWS5103 unit, Equity & Trusts, which is a 2nd Year compulsory postgraduate unit for the Juris Doctor (law degree). It was shown to students during tutorials that were a trigger for discussions on the Estoppel principle of law.

Associate Professor Natalie Skead
Student evaluation of the film was undertaken at the end of the tutorials by way of a simple questionnaire asking:
1. Did you enjoy this exercise? If so why? If not, why not?
2. Did you find this exercise worthwhile? If so, why? If not, why not?
3. Would you suggest I use second-life videos to present fact scenarios in the other problem-solving tutorials in this unit?

The student responses to the questions were unanimously ‘yes’. 

Reasons given for students enjoying the exercise and finding it useful included:

  • It showed how many small aspects of situations are important
  • Facts were gradually exposed over time
  • Couldn’t refer back to fact sheet – more challenging
  • I’m a fan. It was something different, excellent to be able to examine the circumstances and allow for further ‘client interview questions’
  • The interpretation of statement and the hunt for facts
  • It allowed me to assess the situation more fully – nuanced!
  • Taught me to listen exactly to what is being said

Commenting on the experience, Professor Skead observed, "From my perspective as a teacher presenting the facts visually in a movie resulted in a far more rigorous and detailed assessment of the facts. What is wonderful is that it included all the  non verbal aspects of communication while seeing the actions and hearing the words. Laurina did a brilliant job allowing for nuances in the film, even capturing things like stammering and facial expressions important in conveying the story."

Professor Skead observed that the discussion that resulted was far more sophisticated and detailed as compared to previous exercises conducted using more conventional methods, as 'Second Life' was a very valuable tool for connecting students to 'real life' experiences.

Founder and lead of UWA 3D virtual projects, Jay Jay Jegathesan, manager of the School of Physics at UWA explained, "We are absolutely thrilled at how successful this has been, and hope to continue supporting more and more areas in the targeted use of Second Life where it adds value. We have the far have had various activities and outcomes across the School of Business, School of Education, School of Physiology, Anatomy and Human Biology aside from this newest venture with the School of Law. This is an exciting development, and institutions across the globe are looking to UWA's leadership in this area, the most recent being the Digital Educaion Show Asia in Kuala Lumpur in May 2014 where a number of presentations were delivered on how UWA has used virtual worlds to support teaching, research, architecture, international community development, art & film."

Presentation at UWA eLearning Expo (Friday 6th June 2014)


1 comment:

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