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'Character in the Professions: Law' a pilot on-line course

Warwick Law School have been invited to join a pilot of an innovative on-line course in professional ethics developed by the Jubilee Centre for Character and Ethics at the University of Birmingham.

We would be part of a small group of universities pioneering this specialist, interdisciplinary area and we feel this would bring pedagogic rewards to our students and would enhance their employability as well as creating a specialism within the department which would enhance its reputation and its attractiveness to potential applicants.

The on-line course has three units: the first unit outlines virtue ethics; the second unit details the place of virtue ethics in the legal profession and the third unit gives space for students to reflect on what they have learnt. The course is undertaken remotely but active use of a discussion forum is strongly encouraged.

It is proposed that Warwick Law School pilots this project with other institutions in Autumn Term 2016/7 with a group of volunteer law students drawn from all year groups. The grant is requested to allow an academic from the Jubilee Centre at the University of Warwick to host a guest workshop for volunteers and staff to explain the project and the issue of professional ethics in the legal profession and to use role play to explore professional ethical dilemmas. Students would be invited to take the on-line course in their own time and to meet to discuss their thoughts afterwards.

The workshop and on-line course focus on issues of morality and ethics in the professions and would utilise performance based learning and electronic resources. This would give students an authentic learning experience and extend their education into the discipline of moral theory and philosophy. The project would be inclusive and diverse as it would gather together students from different year groups and staff to learn together. It would make use of technology in the delivery of the course which could be tested for its effectiveness and this data would feed into the Law School’s consideration of alternative forms of course delivery. This pilot would also allow the department to explore how best to include professional ethics as part of the standard curriculum.

Jane Bryan is Director of Student Experience (Law) and a senior teaching fellow within the Warwick Law School.