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Radboud University – Criminal Procedural

Bringing law to life


Radboud University takes an innovative approach to blended learning by simulating real-world legal cases

At a glance

Client: Radboud University – Criminal Procedural
Learners: 20,000+
Industry: Higher Education
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Platform/Features

  • D2L’s Brightspace platform
  • ePortfolio
  • Student awards
  • Release conditions

Interviewee

  • Bjorn Eggen, Criminal Procedural Law Lecturer

Highlights

  • Provides a dynamic course that reflects the latest developments in law and enables students to apply their knowledge through simulated scenarios.
  • Gives students access to information in a range of formats, using release conditions to enable custom learning paths.
  • Encourages knowledge-sharing to ensure staff get the most out of the learning platform’s features.
Radboud University – Criminal Procedural Logo

Institution

Radboud University is using the Brightspace learning management system to give law students deeper insight into legal procedure, providing interactive learning experiences that simulate how a criminal case develops over time and help students understand the process from multiple legal perspectives.

"…students who seemed to struggle at first with more abstract and larger theoretical questions became more involved because of the practical approach of the course. We also realized that this is an entirely new way of teaching."

Bjorn Eggen, Criminal Procedural Law Lecturer, Radboud University

Challenge

Innovation through interactivity

Radboud University in the Netherlands offers a range of bachelor’s and master’s degrees to its 20,000+ students. As a student-oriented university, when the contract for its learning management system (LMS) was set to expire, Radboud assessed the needs of users before embarking on a tendering process.

D2L’s Brightspace was the outright winner of the tender. By February 2018, pilot use-cases of the system were in place, and lecturers were trained in May of the same year. By September 2019, the implementation was complete and over 20,000 students and 5,000 lecturers were using Brightspace.

One faculty that has excelled in its innovative use of the platform is the Faculty of Law. The university’s Criminal Procedural Law course uses a role-playing fictional case assignment to give students the opportunity to test their knowledge in a simulated real-world scenario. It’s a highly interactive and collaborative approach that brings case situations to life, enabling students not only to increase their knowledge of criminal procedure, but also to test their understanding.

Radboud University building

Solution

Brightspace in action

Bjorn Eggen, Criminal Procedural Law Lecturer at Radboud, has capitalized on the features and functionality of Brightspace to deliver the scenario-based course.

“In preparation for a seminar, students watch knowledge clips in which the lecturers explain the central themes of that week’s material. Every week, more information is added to the case: in the first week, the suspect is arrested, in the second week the investigation methods are revealed. Every week, students hand in a short paper via Brightspace so that tutors can see what they understand and where they could improve.” – Bjorn Eggen, Criminal Procedural Law Lecturer, Radboud University

The versatile nature of the learning platform to share videos and drip-feed information to students at the right time means knowledge exchange is no longer restricted to the classroom. “We wanted to motivate the students to not only study the required materials, but to expand on them,” adds Bjorn Eggen.

Release conditions in Brightspace enable the creation of custom learning paths. Students can experience all the different perspectives on the case by taking on the roles of defense counsel, prosecutor and judge. Information is released to students only when they meet appropriate criteria, so the ‘prosecutors’ see different material to the ‘defense counsel’, for example. This gives the scenario the dynamic feel of a real case: information builds up over time, and this interactivity is central to students’ ability to progress.

"What we wanted to achieve was to motivate the students to not only study the required materials, but to expand on them and to really get involved in the course. That’s really useful for us as tutors and for students, it helps bring the course to. life."

Bjorn Eggen, Criminal Procedural Law Lecturer, Radboud University

Results

Creating a new way of teaching

Through Brightspace, students have been able to consume content in a variety of ways, including video. They use this content to build knowledge and then demonstrate their understanding through practical application. Lecturers have the freedom to share information in a range of ways and students are encouraged to explore topics fully, rather than relying solely on classroom-based information exchange. The result is a stimulating and engaging environment, with motivated students keen to learn how well they’re performing.

Bjorn Eggen says: “What we noticed is that students who seemed to struggle at first with more abstract and larger theoretical questions became more involved because of the practical approach of the course. We also realized that this is an entirely new way of teaching.”

The faculty is embracing the blended learning model, which combines classroom time with facilitated e-Learning, and keeps courses up to date by adding relevant content. “It’s much easier to add information,” explains Bjorn Eggen. “Every time I see something on the news that’s interesting, I just add it to the Brightspace page. That’s really useful.”

Radboud University’s adoption of Brightspace has been so successful, and the Criminal Procedural Law course so innovative, that D2L nominated it for an excellence award. Going forward, the university is working on templates to facilitate the creation of future courses and continues to share knowledge across the faculty.

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