Developing an Animal Law Case Book: Knowledge Transfer and Service Learning from Student-Generated Materials

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Journal Article
Legal Education Review, 2015, 25 (No 1 & 2), pp. 251 - 270
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This article discusses the development of an animal law case book, as part of an elective subject, “Animal Law and Policy in Australia”, taught at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). The Animal Law Case Book Project (the CB Project) provides an example of an innovation in learning and teaching, demonstrating how practice-oriented learning in an emerging area of legal scholarship can also make a valuable contribution to the field of study. The CB Project was initially funded in 2013 by a Vice-Chancellor’s Learning Grant at UTS and then extended by a Voiceless Grant in 2015. The project had three aims: first, to provide students with a meaningful learning experience that was consistent with the UTS Model of Learning (UTS Model), as well as Learning 2014 (now Learning. Futures) and the graduate attributes established by the Faculty of Law; second, to make a specific contribution to animal law in Australia; and third, to enable students to make a contribution to the community of practice in animal protection. The practice-oriented approach to learning emphasised by the UTS Model readily lends itself to learning that also encompasses community service. Although the scope of activities that come under the umbrella of service learning and community service is vast, at their core is the aim ‘to demonstrate social responsibility and a commitment to the common good’, something that is also consistent with graduate attributes that incorporate public service and social justice issues. It is also important to bear in mind that elements of public service and a commitment to the common good do not take the place of student learning; rather, they inform it by placing students at the centre of knowledge creation that answers both a societal and pedagogical need. The CB Project fulfilled these aims by focussing on student-prepared learning materials that could be used beyond the class room to contribute in a meaningful way to the animal protection community.
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