Developing online Legal Communities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop and evaluate the use of a closed community for first year law students. The purpose of the closed community, which could be a wiki or a discussion board, is twofold. The first purpose is to assist new undergraduates in making the transition to University. Research tells us that socialising is an important part of this transition. A second purpose is to encourage students to learn from each other but to understand when the line is crossed and plagiarism results. The use of social networks for learning is an interesting subject for study both for its potential pedagogic value and as a means of developing “employability”, particularly for those considering a career as in-house counsel. Design/methodology/approach – This paper will evaluate three projects which aimed at establishing closed online communities. Findings – From the authors’ project results there seems to be a direct correlation between student interaction, student learning and assessment. It seems clear that student learning will not, of itself, be facilitated through the use of an online community. The learning is interlinked with student perceptions of a tangible benefit, usually in the form of an assessment item. Originality/value – This paper will be of interest to those considering new methods of encouraging use of virtual networks to promote student learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-164
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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