Monday 6 April was a historic day in the continuing development and modernisation of solicitor training in Ireland, as the Law Society welcomed 450 trainee solicitors from around the country to the inaugural online Professional Practice Course 2.
Director of Education TP Kennedy explains: “Arising from the current crisis, PPC2 will be delivered through optimised teaching and learning online. These are uncertain times, and we are fully committed to providing excellent professional training to our future solicitors and now, more than ever, to protecting their personal health and wellbeing.”
“Our use of technology does more than simply mimic standard lecture delivery,” says Kennedy. “We have developed a programme that promotes engagement by enabling PPC2 trainees to have an active rather than a passive viewing experience.
“We are particularly focused on how to minimise the risks identified in taking an online course, which include isolation, unfamiliarity with technology, and disengagement due to ineffective e-resources and instruction.”
The online PPC2 emphasises usability, mobile friendliness, and peer-to-peer engagement. Trainees will see additional educational elements, including pre-recorded e-lectures, which are available to watch online and on demand for the duration of the course, allowing trainees to consume lecture content at their own time and pace.
E-lectures incorporate a series of embedded interactive features, including:
- Personalised viewing options, allowing the participants to see both the lecturer and their presentation slides simultaneously,
- A function to allow searches for any word spoken or shown on screen,
- Navigational controls to move directly to specific sections of the video,
- A podcast download feature to allow offline review of audio content,
- A note-taking facility to add synchronised comments, and
- Visual bookmarks within the lecture window.
“The PPC2 is a full-time course, but we have designed the programme to empower trainees and to provide access to lectures and course materials remotely, at a time and in a place that best suits their own study needs.
“Our e-lectures are captured using Panopto, which enables our staff and associate faculty to record and share flipped classroom videos from anywhere, using any laptop, tablet, or smartphone,” says Kennedy, adding: “We are particularly mindful of the potentially isolating impact of this period of closure and separation.”
During the online PPC2, e-lectures will be supported by Zoom live tutorials, providing all the benefits of traditional face-to-face tuition and a sense of connected learning within the Zoom classroom. These tutorials allow for interaction between course tutors and smaller groups of trainees, providing a ‘hands-on’ approach to reinforce their learning.
Free time-concentrated therapy sessions, which support trainees in achieving positive mental wellbeing, are also available for the duration of the course. The dedicated Psychological Services team will provide counselling through confidential Zoom sessions, while ‘Shrink Me Online’ provides a safe and positive platform for trainees to unlock their wellbeing through shared thoughts, ideas and engagement with the Law School community.
The Law School has always been innovative in the use of technology for educational programmes. Last year, it was awarded the accreditation of ‘Apple Distinguished School 2019-2021’, which is given to outstanding schools and programmes worldwide that are regarded as centres of innovation, leadership and educational excellence.
Trainees can receive regular Law School updates through: