The second e-learning tool session started with Sarah King and Angela Kerry who presented their Virtual Solicitors' Office at Birmingham City University. Their emphasis is on the clients, their needs and reacting to the problem rather than solely concentrating on the legal issues and the 'right answer'. This means that the scenarios are never really out of date, even if the law changes this is only related to the responses the students give to the scenarios.
The project received input from practitioners to ensure both a high degree of realistic content and to ensure the 'look and feel' is right. Indeed the speakers indicated that the law practices are interested in the concept of the virtual office for CPD and ongoing training for solicitors working with clients. They also gave an amusing set of 'out-takes' from the cutting room floor as they themselves featured in some of the video'd scenarios as the solicitor!
The second speaker was Paul Maharg, who along with Karen Barton and Patricia McKellar gave an overview of open education resources (their JISC funded project) which will be followed by a workshop tomorrow afternoon.
Paul classified three types of OER initiatives:
- Institutional - for example Open University (OpenLearn) which is also a marketing tool as students see the value of what is publicly available and also interactive. Paul presented the stats for user access at MIT, the largest OER with no proprietary wall. 3.7 million iTunes / Youtube downloads suggests a huge audience!
- Disciplinary - where subject specific materials are reposited.
- Pedagogic - for particular approaches and methods for learning.
Karen and Patricia then gave an overview of the SimShare project, which will allow users to download simulations, change them if required for their own purposes, and then upload new additions back onto the site. Sustainabilty appears not to be the main issue, rather it is the Community of Practice (CoP) needed to get things started and creating content as a 'commons-based peer production'.
The speakers finished with a call for simulations (not necessarily SIMPLE-based, or particularly complex) and for academics to become involved, not just from law, but from other disciplines too.