By: Joy Kanwar and Kim D. Ricardo
This is the final installment in our three-part series on avatars in the classroom. In Part I, we introduced the avatar framework. In Part II, we encouraged faculty to use avatars early in the semester to create an inclusive classroom culture, and to eventually help students build toward professional identity. Here, we provide specific details for when and how to create avatars for these purposes.
Law School Avatarification
Although our ideas are new in a law school context, scholars in other disciplines have found it useful to consider the avatar as an extension or an agent of the individual in virtual spaces. One study coined “avatarification” in the undergraduate classroom as the “utilization of virtual self-representations within a mediated environment in order to facilitate interactions in that environment.” Avatars can assist in making the online classroom a space where students can express multiple, overlapping identities (or intersectional identities) and form part of a community. As discussed in Part II, avatars allow for students to not only express the qualities of their current selves, but also as their aspirational or evolving lawyer-advocate selves. Continue reading “Self-Made: Introducing Avatars in the Online Law Classroom (Part Three)”
By: Professor Lynn Su and Professor Anne Goldstein
The first few weeks of law school can be both thrilling and terrifying—an avalanche of reading, Latin lawyer lingo, and exacting methodology for thinking and writing about the law. This world of intellectual challenges takes place in an unfamiliar setting. Not only are students meeting new people and getting accustomed to a rigorous academic schedule, but many have also left behind the comforts of home, relocating to a new city, state, or even country to embark on the study of law. Forging into the unknown is fraught with great possibility and a bit of trepidation.
Because they are on the frontline of teaching first-year law students fundamental lawyering skills, Legal Writing professors can work to capture students’ imaginations and demystify the law school experience. Legal Writing is likely to be the course with the lowest professor to student ratio in the first year of law school and typically continues for two semesters. Teaching small groups of first-year students for a full year, Legal Writing professors are uniquely well positioned to ease students’ transition. Continue reading “Getting Them at Hello: Creative Teaching Techniques and Exercises to Engage New Law Students”