From:                              Christy Powers

Sent:                               Thursday, September 10, 2009 10:10 AM

To:                                   Janice Thiel

Subject:                          Form Submission (Critical Thinking Activities & Reusable Learning Objects (RLOs))

 

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Critical Thinking Activities & Reusable Learning Objects (RLOs)

Thank you for submitting your Critical Thinking Activity/RLO idea. Please forward this message and attach any supplemental files (e.g., Handouts, PowerPoints, etc.) to Thiel.Janice@SPCollege.edu

*1.

Title of Critical Thinking Activity/RLO:

Your Answer: Briefing a Case

*2.

Briefly describe or summarize the Activity/RLO:

Your Answer: For this activity/RLO, we are utilizing the Legal Brief of Cases (hereinafter referred to as "Brief"). This is not to be confused with a Court Filed Brief/Appellate Brief which is a written legal document that is presented to a court arguing why the party to the case should prevail. This brief is the short form version highlighting the main points of a case that has gone before a court for dispute (almost similar to an Abstract of an article). To help incorporate the SPC Mission of Critical Thinking, we are taking the ARC and creating supplemental questions to assure that critical thinking is being utilized to the fullest extent. The ARC rubric has been incorporated in addition to the standard Brief grading rubric. To be clear for all, the Brief is used for many purposes. The Brief has variances in the key points that are described in it. To simplify, after reading and re-reading a case, the student highlights the case name and court system of dispute; the procedural/appellate history; the pertinent facts; the issue(s); the holding(s); the source of law(s); the reasoning by the court; and any other concurring or dissenting opinions if available from other judges/justices. In law school, a student was taught on the first day "How to Brief a Case." Our Paralegal Students complete the exercise of the Brief in PLA 1003, Introduction to Paralegalism. There are additional legal writing classes which in corporate briefing as well. The problem we found is that our Paralegal Students were not completing the Brief every time they read a case. In fact, very few students assume that every case reading should have an accompanying Brief to assist in the clarity and points of the case. Performing what we would call a "blind reading of a case" (i.e., reading a case with no corresponding Brief) can be problematic if the trend continues. The Brief serves an important function of critical thinking by itself. After reading a case, the student must compartmentalize his/her findings in the above mentioned paragraph. Then the student usually compares the Briefs of many cases to the client's situation to see if the case law is applicable or not.

*3.

Subject Area(s) - Select all that apply:

Your Answer: Paralegal Studies

*4.

What is(are) the Major Learning Outcome(s) addressed by this Activity/RLO (from course outline)?

Your Answer: 1. The student will demonstrate an understanding of the proper format of a brief. 2. The student will demonstrate an understanding of the procedural history of the case(s). 3. The student will demonstrate an understanding of the facts of the case(s). 4. The student will demonstrate an understanding of the issue(s) & holding(s)of the case(s). 5. The student will demonstrate an understanding of the reasoning behind the court's decision in the case(s). 6. The student will demonstrate an understanding of any concurring or dissenting opinions that the case(s) may provide.

*5.

What is(are) the Course Objective(s) addressed by this Activity/RLO (stated in performance terms)?

Your Answer: 1. The student will demonstrate an understanding of the proper format of a brief by: a. identifying the title of the case listing the opposing sides. b. identifying and demonstrating the citation in order to properly locate the report of the case in the appropriate case reporter. c. placing the requisite headings of the brief to the corresponding sections in the appropriate order. 2. The student will demonstrate an understanding of the procedural history of the case(s) by: a. identifying the proper procedural holdings of the lower courts involved in the case(s). 3. The student will demonstrate an understanding of the facts of the case(s) by: a. providing and listing concise facts which summarize the main points of the case(s). b. listing only the essential facts that are needed to understand the holding and reasoning of the case(s). 4. The student will demonstrate an understanding of the issue(s) & holding(s) of the case(s) by: a. identifying the correct issue(s) of the case(s). b. identifying the correct holding(s) of the case(s). 5. The student will demonstrate an understanding of the reasoning behind the court's decision in the case(s) by: a. identifying what the law was before this case was decided. b. identifying how the law has possibly changed or remained consistent after this decision. c. identifying the major concepts and points of law the court used in making their decision. d. describing any policy changes or concepts that adhered to societal changes and/or norms. 6. The student will demonstrate an understanding of any concurring or dissenting opinions that the case(s) may provide by: a. properly identifying the pertinent concepts of a concurring opinion. b. properly identifying the pertinent concepts of a dissenting opinion.

*6.

Type of Activity/RLO - Select all that apply:

Your Answer: Individual, Small Group, Large Group

*7.

Time - How much time does it take to conduct this Activity/RLO?

Your Answer: Portion of One Class

*8.

List the materials that are necessary to conduct this Activity/RLO:

Your Answer: Case(s) or book with case(s) Paper or computer Pen or pencil

*9.

Instructions - Give detailed step-by-step instructions on how to conduct this Activity/RLO:

Your Answer: The following is an example of what the student would receive to complete the RLO Activity: TO: Paralegal Student FROM: SPC Paralegal Professor DATE: May 20, 2009 RE: Briefing Cases - Assignment Pursuant to our class discussion today on How to Brief a Case, please complete the following assignment for next week: Please read Vizcaino v. U.S.D.C. for the Western Dist. Of Washington, 173 F.3d 713 (1999) in full format and prepare a brief of the opinion, following the directions below. Bring one hard copy of this brief to class on 5/26/09 and place an e-version on ANGEL's dropbox under the "Briefing" folder. Be prepared to share your brief with a fellow student and the class. The brief should be approximately one page long and should follow the format described below. The additional questions asked on the second page are to be answered on a separate page(s). How to Brief a Case Instructions Case Title and Citation: The title of the case shows who is opposing whom. The citation tells how to locate the report of the case in the appropriate case reporter. Facts: Summarize the facts of the case. List only the essential facts that you need to understand the holding and reasoning of the case. Procedure: List what happened in the "lower court(s)." Do not go into too much detail. Just list what the lower court did or what the appellate court did if you are reading a higher court or Supreme Court case. If it is a case of first impression in the lowest court of the state or federal system, then you may not have any procedure as this is the first time a court is hearing the case. Remember that some "history" or procedure of the case may be in other proceedings that are not before a court of law. Issue(s): What is/are the question(s) facing the court? Form the issue questions in a way that they can be answered by yes or no. Holding: How did the court answer the issue question(s)? Reasoning: This is the most important section of your case brief. Here you want to list the reasoning of the majority in reaching its decision. You can actually be quite detailed in this section while keeping in mind this is to be a short form version of the important points of the decision. List what the law was before this case was decided and how the law has possibly changed or remained consistent after this decision. Concurring/dissenting opinions: The judges or justices in agreement might have more to add in a concurring opinion. In a dissenting opinion, the opposing judges usually have remarks that state why they disagree with the holding. CRITICAL THINKING INITIATIVE QUESTIONS In addition to the case brief provided above, please address the following items regarding the case. Consider your role in answering these items as if you were deciding the case. 1. Restate the issue(s) in your own words. 2. Compare & contrast the available solutions and the sources of law the court had to use in resolving the issue(s). 3. Select one of the available solutions and/or sources of law and defend it as your final solution as if you were deciding the case. 4. Identify the weaknesses of your final solution. (Are there potential loopholes in the law? Are you altering from past precedent as indicated in the opinion?) 5. Suggest ways to improve/strengthen your final solution (you may use information not contained within the scenario). **Keep in mind that although you cannot change the above listed facts of the case, you do have options to consider such as amending portions of the existing law. Or perhaps, suggesting the creation of a new law. 6. Reflect on your own thought process after completing the assignment. oWhat did you learn from this process of portraying the decision maker? oWhat would you do differently next time to improve? oAre there any changes to the law itself that would assist in future resolution of similar issues? oCan you propose a new standard by which these facts or similar facts could be adjudicated?

*10.

List Additional Resources, for example: Web address/URL, Handouts, PowerPoint, etc. Copy/Paste URLs here. Later, when you receive your confirmation message, forward any supplemental files to the QEP Director.

Your Answer: http://piercelaw.edu/assets/pdf/orientation-briefing-a-case-orientation-assignment.pdf

*11.

SPC established as its definition of critical thinking: The active and systemic process of communication, problem solving, evaluation, analysis, synthesis, and reflection, both individually and in community, to foster understanding, support sound decision-making, and guide action.

 

Which aspect(s) of critical thinking does this Activity/RLO address? - Select all that apply:

Your Answer: Communication, Problem-solving, Evaluation, Analysis, Synthesis, Reflection

*12.

How will this improve our students’ ability to think critically?

Your Answer: As stated above, brief a case (or cases) serves an important function of critical thinking by itself. After reading a case, the student must compartmentalize his/her findings. Then the student usually compares the Briefs of many cases to the client's situation to see if the case law is applicable or not.

*13.

Have you consulted the Activity/RLO Guidelines?

Your Answer: Yes

·         Email:powers.christy@spcollege.edu

If you have any questions or comments about this form, please contact Janice Thiel at Thiel.Janice@SPCollege.edu or call (727) 341-3110