School of Law communication
The purpose of this document is to outline our approach to teaching in September. Whether this is in person on campus or online or a combination, we are committed to ensuring that you continue to receive the high-quality educational experience that you have come to expect in the School of Law. Our approach is governed by the University's current level of operation (i.e. as of July 2020). We shall keep it under review and let you know as soon as possible of any changes that we may need to make. We want you to know that we put you, our students, at the heart of what we do. We are committed to ensuring that our teaching and learning is accessible and delivered in a coherent and effective manner. You are part of the Law School community and through our live delivery of face to face seminars and other opportunities to work and collaborate, you will have frequent contact with your module leaders, tutors and your peers to support you through your programme of study. While there may be some variation in approaches to the way in which we deliver our teaching and learning experience with some of our advanced taught postgraduate programmes, our underlying commitment to the quality and accessibility of the educational experience we offer remains the same, whatever programme of study you are undertaking with us.
• We will offer flexible digital education (sometimes referred to as blended learning) combining on campus and online delivery where possible, providing an enhanced educational experience.
• We have adopted three main principles in the design of our digital learning framework so that it will be:
• Our flexible digital education model runs alongside a structured programme of academic and pastoral support which will give you the opportunity to get feedback at each stage of your journey and to work with academics to identify goals and overcome challenges.
• The Keele Learning Environment (KLE/Blackboard) will be the main landing page for all activities. We will ensure that the content is easily navigable and consistently presented.
• We will provide structured programmes of study, supported by guides to help you make effective use of sources and materials, such as case law, textbook content, journal articles, podcasts and webinars. You should expect to benefit from interesting exercises to complete individually or by working collaboratively with others. For those on programmes with block-based modules, your programme of study will be structured around the timings of those blocks.
• As social distancing means that we won’t deliver large-group lectures/seminars on campus this year, we have devised new and innovative ways to deliver our teaching and help you engage with the course materials. Dependent upon your programme of study, these may include:
- micro ‘lectures’ sequenced and delivered electronically: segments of up to approximately 20 minutes long, accessible to you as and when suits you best;
- activities linked to these segments, to help you check and embed your knowledge and understanding before moving on.
- online group seminars and the use of smaller ‘break-out’ groups to discuss materials and case studies.
• Whether delivered on campus or live online, tutorials and seminars will build on what you have covered in micro lectures and related activities. You should expect to engage with a range of different tasks and collaborative exercises, bringing further opportunities to apply your knowledge and work with your peers.
• We expect to be able to provide dedicated, PC equipped spaces for student use which will be bookable in advance, to ensure you have somewhere quiet to study outside your home environment.
• We will provide enhanced personal tutor support for you.
• For certain postgraduate programmes, co-curricular activities, competitions and careers programmes will continue to run and incorporate alumni involvement.
• Regular opportunities for formative and summative feedback as signposted by the Law feedback icon.
We are introducing some exciting tools and resources to enhance delivery of our teaching. We realise that what we offer needs to be inclusive and accessible to all students and we are committed to supporting everyone to access course materials in a straightforward manner.
We will use a consistent format and overall style so that you can easily find the materials you need on the KLE. The KLE will continue to offer a space for module announcements, it will form the repository for module materials, including your module or programme handbook, and it will be where you submit your assessments (via Turnitin). The KLE will remain the place to access your individual and cohort-level assessment feedback.
Where possible, we will offer small group teaching ‘in-situ’ on campus. We will manage the size of your group and your timetable to ensure that staff and students may gather safely in the teaching space and leave observing social distancing.
Your live online classes and other collaborative activities will be delivered using Microsoft Teams. Teams is an easy to use Microsoft product that works well on all kinds of device, including mobiles, tablets and laptops.
Microsoft Teams has a number of advantages including functionality and accessibility (including an immersive screen reading function as well as text captioning). The technology is reliable and mainstream. Remote and collaborative working has become the new normal for many companies, many of which use Teams, so experience and knowledge of this technology will also contribute to your employability.
As we cannot guarantee that exams can be held on campus this year, we are reviewing our assessment strategy to provide you with suitable alternative assessments, where necessary.
• Programme Directors will introduce students to the structure of their learning and teaching delivery in their introductory sessions
• Different postgraduate programmes will offer the delivery of teaching and learning activities in a way that reflects the advanced nature of the subject and the requirements of the cohort, utilising many of our newly developed, innovative approaches to online teaching.
• Online delivery will include a range of lecture style materials, such as the use of ‘micro lecture’ sets, as well as seminar-style discussion and other student-interaction learning activities.
• Teaching staff will introduce, explain and examine the topics in accessible segments of no more than 20 minutes. These segments will be interspersed with a range of activities to enable you to fully understand a topic before moving on to the next presentation. Examples may include directly accessing statute, reading a case in detail and comparing judgments or reading an article.
• Each set of micro lectures will be available in advance so you can plan and work ahead with tasks and activities for tutorial preparation.
• You can access your lectures multiple times and, once released, they will remain available to you throughout the module. Your micro lectures may be used to clarify your understanding at any time during the module and will serve as a useful revision tool.
• Some of our taught postgraduate programmes will employ focussed tutorials as well as or instead of seminar formats.
• Delivered live online using Microsoft Teams or on campus, your tutorials will continue to provide a supportive environment for small groups of students to work together. Your tutor will promote collaboration and participation to create a truly interactive learning experience.
• Most tutorials will require some form of preparatory work which will be outlined in advance in the weekly or block-based learning plan.
• We will direct you to high quality digital learning resources, with accessible and focussed reading lists of online materials.
• We will produce materials to help consolidate learning, such as audio podcasts after each tutorial cycle to highlight any common areas of confusion or to provide general guidance from your tutors. These will be no longer than 5 minutes and will give you a snapshot of how you are doing.
• There will be helpful icebreaker activities within your new tutorial groups (including the tutor) so everyone gets to know each other;
• Attendance of tutorials is mandatory and we will maintain a register of attendance. If you miss a live class on campus class because you are shielding or self-isolating, we will provide you with a ‘catch-up’ opportunity.
• Every module will provide you with:
➢ An induction session, setting out a clear set of milestones and objectives
➢ a learning plan incorporating a schedule of teaching and topic areas, broken down into manageable pieces;
➢ a consistently presented electronic module or programme handbook, which will be easily navigable and include clear guidance on activities.
• We will continue to use the KLE to place module and whole cohort announcements which will also be emailed to you. It is therefore crucial that you check your student email on a daily basis.
• On your return to your studies, you will be provided with guidance on how to use and access new software and apps, in particular, Microsoft Teams.
• We intend to hold ‘Welcome Back’ sessions to help all our new and returning students understand how we will be teaching and how you access your learning materials.
• Every module leader will produce an introductory micro lecture demonstrating how to access module materials and work effectively on Teams.
• You will continue to have access to online electronic resources for Law including key journals and texts and databases such as Westlaw, LexisLibrary and Practical Law.
• You will still need to purchase the core texts (physically or electronically), as identified in each module handbook, as they are essential tools for your learning.
• We are revising our reading lists to prioritise digital library resources so that if you are unable to come to campus, you will not be disadvantaged.
• The Library has developed a three-stage plan to re-open the building as campus re-opens more generally. Arrangements will be communicated to you prior to your return.
• We expect that you will be able to pre-book some study spaces in selected study areas of the Law Library, maintaining social distancing
• We have made it a priority to completely redesign our approach to Personal Tutoring. We hope you will find it fresh and engaging, providing you with the knowledge and tools to develop your profile and make the most of your student experience. You will now benefit from improved opportunities to meet one-to-one with your Personal Tutor online through Teams, how and when you need to. You should see improved levels of pastoral, Careers and Learning Development support within this new School approach.
• In addition, you will be part of a ‘tutor group’ to allow you to meet and collaborate with others and connect with your Personal Tutor in a wider range of ways. In your tutor group, you can share experiences, raise questions and concerns, offer feedback and let your tutor know what you need to support you in your studies.
• This revised approach to Personal Tutoring will be distinctive to the Law School and it will offer you meaningful interaction with your Personal Tutor on a consistent basis.
• For the 2020/21 academic year, your 1-to-1 Personal Tutor meetings will take place online.
• How you can book an appointment: Your Personal Tutor will use youcanbook.me to signal their availability and allow you to book an appointment directly. The appointment will go straight into your diary and you will be updated if circumstances change. Your appointment will also be tailored to your preferences, offering you flexibility to choose video (e.g. Google Meet), online chat or phone call. We will also guarantee the availability of your tutor for appointments on at least two different days per working week.
• The Learning and Development materials available on the KLE will continue to be maintained and updated, as will the one to one support as previously offered by our specialist academic Student Learning and Development Fellow.
• There will be support for digital learning available.
• Learning and Development materials will continue to be embedded in modules and facilitated by tutors.
• You should continue to benefit from great online resources developed centrally such as Keele Careers online. This support is available now and we will be promoting the full range of careers support to all of our returning students.
• We will continue our comprehensive programme of guest speakers and training with Sarah Longwell and Catherine Edwards. We can deliver this effectively online and this added accessibility may increase
During the Covid-19 crisis, CLOCK has adapted its service to signpost the increasing community legal needs to the CLOCK partners for mediation, legal aid and charitable support.
• As we use an online case management system, we have been able to continue our clinic work during the pandemic.
• We have been taking instructions using Teams or Google-meet for client meetings.
• We have now advertised our application process to recruit student advisors for next year.
• The Keele Law Review will publish its first volume by September 2020 with a second to follow early in 2021. During the academic year 2020/21, students will continue contributing as normal to the successful running of the Law Review, as student-editors.
• You were invited earlier this year to apply to join the student-editorial-team and interviews will be held in September 2020. Toward the end of the second semester 2020/21, the KLR will advertise a call for applications for student-editors for 2021/22.
PLEASE NOTE: this communication represents our current thinking (as of July 2020). Depending on Government guidance and the local, regional and national situation, our approach to the delivery of your programme may need to be further refined. In this case, we will share further updates with you in a timely manner. If you have any concerns about the delivery of your programme for next year or would like to discuss alternative options, please get in touch with us. Contact for the School of Law: Sarah Lane - Senior School Manager.