“If no mistake have you made, yet losing you are … a different game you should play” ~ Yoda

“Decide you must, how to serve them best.” (Yoda again).  You’ve got a great learning plan and an excellent platform.  You’ve even got a stellar delivery mode.  But some of your students are still failing to succeed in one of your capstone assignments.  It’s not that you haven’t spent a lot of time in class on it that is the problem … or maybe it is.

I have the opportunity, in upcoming semesters, to offer the same rigorous class (Legal Writing) with its most intellectually challenging assignment (Legal Research Memorandum) in several different delivery modes over the next several semesters (fully online, blended with class meetings every other week, blended with shortened class meetings every week, and blended with a “lecture” each week followed by a “lab” that same week).  In addition, our program has implemented a weekly Paralegal “open lab,” which is held in a classroom and facilitated by two of our instructors.  Students are encouraged to come to the lab with any questions they may have about their Paralegal classes, or just to sit and do homework, knowing they will have immediate answers to questions that come up.  The students really like these labs because they are smaller, more informal, and don’t have the “stigma” the writing lab might have (as in, the writing lab is for people who can’t write well, if at all — a misnomer this is, but believe it they do).

My plan is to gather data from each class and compare student success based on numerous factors — class attendance, class engagement and participation, questions asked in class and outside of class, open lab attendance relating to the memo assignment, and grades — how many of each grade, what was the grade “spread” (from highest number of points to lowest).  I’ll also track resubmits on this assignment to see if students take greater advantage of this opportunity in one delivery mode or another.  Basically, I want to see if one delivery mode has a greater impact on student success than another.

Stay tuned for updates on how this is going; As Yoda tells us, “Always pass on what you have learned.”

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