A mobile app for public legal education: a case study of co-designing with students

  • Hugh McFaul Law School, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  • Elizabeth FitzGerald Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  • David Byrne Computer Science, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  • Francine Ryan Law School, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
Keywords: mobile app, public legal education, bricolage, co-design, law tech, employability

Abstract

The sharp decline in levels of state-funded legal support has highlighted the importance of publicly available sources of legal information for facilitating access to justice. Mobile apps present an opportunity to provide legal information that can be targeted at particular audiences. University law schools, sometimes in partnership with civil society organisations, are beginning to engage their students in cross-disciplinary projects to create mobile apps, which can provide free legal information and guidance to the public.

The aim of this case study was to evaluate one such project which involved the co-design of a mobile app for the purpose of disseminating information on employment law. Law, education and computing academics worked with undergraduate law students over a period of 3 months and the prototype app was reviewed by legal advice charities. The findings have implications for how universities can work across disciplines and in partnership with civil society to provide opportunities for their students to use technology to apply their disciplinary knowledge to enhance the public good.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References


Bloch, F. S. (2010) The Global Clinical Movement: Educating Lawyers for Social Justice, Oxford University Press, Oxford.


Byrne, D. (2019) Digital Justice Project: IT Aspects, Technical report [online] Available at: http://ojapp.org.uk/docs/DJ2019_Technical_Note.pdf


Campbell, J. L.et al. (2013) ‘Coding in-depth semi-structured interviews: problems of unitization and intercoder reliability and agreement’, Sociological Methods & Research, vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 294–320. doi: 10.1177/0049124113500475.


Davis, M. F. (2015) ‘Institutionalizing legal innovation: the (re)emergence of the law lab’, Journal of Legal Education, vol. 65(1), p. 190. https://jle.aals.org/home/vol65/iss1/9/


Giddings, J. M. (2013) Promoting Justice through Clinical Legal Education, Justice Press, Melbourne.


Jones, E., Mcfaul, H. & Ryan, F. (2017) ‘Clinical legal education in the United Kingdom: origins, growth and the technological innovations and challenges of its future’, German Journal of Legal Education, vol. 4, pp. 107–136. http://b-s-r-b.de/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/GJLE-2017-Vol.-4.pdf.


Kolb, D. A. (1984) Experiential learning : experience as the source of learning and development, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.


Long, L. K. & Meglich, P. A. (2013) ‘Preparing students to collaborate in the virtual work world’, Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 6–16. doi: 10.1108/20423891311294948.


Maharg, P. (2016) Transforming Legal Education: Learning and Teaching the Law in the Early Twenty-First Century, Routledge, London.


McFaul, H. & FitzGerald, E. (2020) ‘A realist evaluation of student use of a virtual reality smartphone application in undergraduate legal education’, British Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 51, pp. 572–589 doi: 10.1111/bjet.12850.


Pleasence, P. & Balmer, N. J. (2014) How People Resolve ‘Legal’ Problems, Legal Services Board, London.


Ryan, F. (2019) ‘A virtual law clinic: a realist evaluation of what works for whom, why, how and in what circumstances?’, The Law Teacher, vol. 54, no. 2, pp. 1–12. doi: 10.1080/03069400.2019.1651550.


Ryan, F. & McFaul, H. (2020) ‘Innovative technologies in UK legal education’, inKey Directions in Legal Education National and International Perspectives, eds. E. Jones & F. Cownie, Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 67–79.


Saldaña, J. (2009) The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA.


Scanlon, E.et al. (2013) Beyond Prototypes: Enabling Innovation in Technology-Enhanced Learning, The Open University, Milton Keynes.


Sharples, M.et al. (2014) Innovating Pedagogy 2014: Open University Innovation Report 3, The Open University, Milton Keynes.


Shirley, M. & Cockburn, T. (2009) ‘Enabling authentic collaborative education in an online environment – the QUT virtual law placement’, in 16th World Association for Cooperative Education (WACE), Vancouver, June 19–26, 2009, pp. 1–7 [online] Available at: http://www.waceinc.org/papers/vancouver/Australia/Shirley,%20Cockburn.pdf
Published
2020-09-11
How to Cite
McFaulH., FitzGeraldE., ByrneD., & RyanF. (2020). A mobile app for public legal education: a case study of co-designing with students. Research in Learning Technology, 28. https://doi.org/10.25304/rlt.v28.2434
Section
Original Research Articles