Journal of Academic Language and Learning, Vol 5, No 2 (2011)

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Sitting on the same bench: complementing law learning outcomes

Patricia Hughes, Kay Tucker, Caroline Knaggs

Abstract


Academic skills are now an integral element of the Monash University Library’s educational program, joining the more established library-taught skill of research. Librarians and learning skills advisers work to present combined classes, and jointly develop programs to deepen the educational experience of students, both through and alongside the curriculum (co-curricula). The Law Library team are fortunate in having a close association with the Monash Faculty of Law, thereby strengthening integration through the provision of shared classes in compulsory law units. Librarians and learning skills advisers have largely complementary skills. Good academic writing is based on solid research, and academic argument and its expression are limited by inadequate research.

On request from the Law Faculty, the Law Library team teach into a compulsory first-year unit which aims to improve students’ research and writing skills. The learning skills adviser and the librarians planned, prepared and delivered classes jointly; starting with analysing the question, establishing a framework for the research, and ending with drafting the legal advice that utilises the research.

Moreover the recent educational drive to extend curricula and develop graduate attribute statements has consolidated the methodological foundation of the educational programs. In response to the 2011 curriculum review carried out by the Monash Law Faculty, the Law Library team drew on the draft Threshold Learning Outcomes for Law (Australian Learning and Teaching Council, 2010) combining these with the Research Skill Development Framework (Willison and O’Regan, 2006) to map the classes currently offered and suggest further directions.

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