Engaging Students in Large Public Law Lectures

PLPRU member Dr Matthew Stubbs has recently published a review of his use of mobile phone voting to engage students in large lectures for his first-year course Principles of Public Law.

The abstract of the paper is:

This article reports on an action-research project designed to investigate the effect of a technological intervention on the complex interactions between student engagement, participation, attendance and preparation in a large lecture delivered as part of a compulsory first-year law course, a discipline which has not been the focus of any previous study. The technology used was VotApedia, a form of mobile phone voting, and it was implemented in tandem with constructivist pedagogies such as explicit pre-reading and a prior context of interactive lecturing. Data were collected through observation, via mobile phone voting in class and by an online survey designed to specifically explore the relationship between attendance at VotApedia lectures and factors such as self-reported engagement, attendance and preparation. The findings indicated that student response systems (SRSs) are just as applicable to more Humanities-style disciplines which require divergent questioning, and supported complex interactions between engagement, attendance and preparation. Preliminary findings indicated that, although more work needs to be done, especially on the types of students who prefer to use these systems, there is a clear potential to increase student engagement in large law lectures through the use of SRSs.

Dr Stubbs can be seen discussing his work on video at

Dr Stubbs’ article ‘Mobile Phone Voting for Participation and Engagement in a Large Compulsory Law Course‘ was co-authored with Dr Chad Habel from the School of Education, and appears in volume 22 of the Journal Research in Learning Technology.

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