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Collaborative, inquiry-based learning as the central feature of an undergraduate course: design, implementation and evaluation

Wednesday 3 July: Conference day one, 12:00pm – 12:30pm parallel session



Room 9 – 3030-G23 MLT1



Michael Lewis Paul Lower
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong


Background / context

The context is the undergraduate law degree. Traditional teaching and learning methods (lectures, tutorials and assessment by written examinations) are commonly used. Students work on tasks which may appear to them to have little intrinsic interest. The relationship of student learning to the knowledge production work of the university is unclear. Students work as individuals.


The initiative / practice

This showcase will present a new course, offered for the first-time in 2018–19, which departs from the model just outlined in significant respects:

  • ‘Lectures’ are only held for the first three weeks (to set up groups and explain the distinctive features of the course);
  • Students work for four weeks in small, collaborative groups to produce a group blog post and prepare a presentation (each on a research topic chosen by the students within the broad field of property law);
  • The groups are led and organised by the students themselves;
  • A facilitator (a research post-graduate student) is assigned to each group;
  • The students also work on an individual research project chosen by them (which can draw on the group project if they wish);
  • After the first three weeks, the teacher’s role is to be available to support the group and individual projects;
  • The students are encouraged to publish their group and individual work.


Methods of evaluative data collection and analysis

  • Teaching diary;
  • Students’ responses to survey questions;
  • Interviews with facilitators.


Evidence of effectiveness

This is an action research project and presents the teacher’s insider account of the lived experience of the course. This account will be supported by interviews with the research postgraduates who worked as facilitators and the responses to a survey distributed to the students.


Presentation topic

Students – Learning

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