Brightspace in action
Simon Tans, Assistant Professor, International and European Law, and Irene Larooy, Study Advisor, explain that through Brightspace, ‘Law in Action’ shifts the focus away from the traditional demonstration of knowledge and towards demonstrating mastery. The course places an emphasis on personal development and reflection, rather than reproducing knowledge.
Students upload assignments to their personal ePortfolios in the platform and when they have passed a module, they receive an award. There are 20 awards in total, which together cover a range of soft skills that students need to build, such as presentation skills and conflict mediation, as well as technical knowledge around substantive law.
For example, one award focuses on the description of a breakthrough in a juridical case. Students are able to practice their skills and reflect on their learning as they build up their ePortfolio. The ePortfolio provides an ongoing record of the student’s achievements, while the continuous pursuit of awards motivates them to progress.
“It’s an approach that makes the students curious and that’s what we want to achieve. It’s also about co-operation and learning soft skills. Students hand in papers and can earn awards that they receive through Brightspace.” – Irene Larooy, Study Advisor, Radboud University
The Brightspace platform also provides a convenient way for students to share documents, receive feedback and see how they are progressing. Simon Tans adds: “Our original idea was to have them interact, so if one party sends a juridical document then other parties can respond to it and perhaps exploit faults in the arguments—thus simulating reality. The added value of Brightspace is that students can submit their documents on a Saturday if it suits them. You’re no longer confined to everyone working at the same time.
“We also use a lot of quizzes and questionnaires. When students answer the questions, they get an email from us saying how they scored. That way, we can have various scenarios play out.”