WESTERN STATE UNIVERSITY
COLLEGE OF LAW
CLASS POLICIES AND ASSIGNMENTS
COURSE: Expert Learning for Law Students (ELLS), Spring 2007
REQUIRED: Michael Hunter Schwartz, Expert Learning for Law Students (2005) (text
Michael Hunter Schwartz, “Cases and Materials Packet for ELLS-I”
(2005) (e-mailed to students prior to course start date)
Any Law Dictionary
PROFESSOR: Jennifer Weissburg, Assistant Director of S.T.E.L.L.A.R.
Course Goals: Expert Learning for Law Students (ELLS) is a 9-hour, pass-fail course. The
course has one main goal: to teach students the learning skills, knowledge and mental
approaches they need to excel in law school, on the bar examination, and in practice. By
teaching students how to be expert law students, the course seeks to help students learn more,
learn faster, and learn better while the students are in law school, while they are studying for
the bar examination, and once they begin practicing law.
Course Methodology: This course has been designed as a radical departure from traditional
law school teaching methods. The methods developed for this course are based on the best
practices developed in the emerging fields of instructional design and self-regulated learning.
The techniques include those practices deemed best for teaching each of the skills that are the
subject of the instruction; in every case, the goal is for students to develop mastery level
skills and understanding.
Class Participation: Legal education is a cooperative venture, and lawyers who practice law
must be able to orally communicate their ideas. Class participation therefore is a mandatory
part of this course. Moreover, a student deemed unprepared will be treated as absent for that
day, and a student deemed unprepared on two (2) occasions automatically will be withdrawn
from the course. We expect you to stay sufficiently ahead of the class in your preparation to
insure your readiness to participate for each class.
Course Grading: As noted above, the class is a pass-fail class. We will assign you “shadow”
grades so you have a feel for how well you have mastered these crucial materials. We will be
assigning your grade and determining whether you have passed or failed based on four
components: (1) your work on the class preparation assignments as described below (20%); (2)
your work on the course journaling requirement (20%); and (3) your performance on the final
Class Preparation Assignments: As will be true in your other law school classes, this
course requires extensive class preparation. Your class preparation obligations include:
Preparing answers to exercises directed at helping you learn the material you need to
learn and helping you practice the skills you need to master to succeed in law school;
Completing the time management/self-monitoring log in Appendix A to Expert
Learning for Law Students and providing written feedback to a fellow student about
her or his efforts in completing the log.
Because the goals of all of these assignments include giving you practice and feedback,
you will not be graded on the accuracy of your answers. You will, however, be graded on
the extent to which your efforts demonstrate a good faith effort to do the assignments. To
receive a passing grade, you must prepare an answer to each question or exercise and that
answer must reflect a genuine effort to accurately answer that question or exercise.
Journaling Requirement: Even before the course starts and throughout it, you are
required to keep a journal in which you will be responding to sets of questions designed
to cause you to reflect on what you are learning and how you will use what you are
learning in law school, in studying for the bar exam, and when you are practicing law.
You will be graded on the extent to which your journal entries reflect a good faith effort
to think about and respond to the questions asked. Each Journaling Assignment (labeled
“JA #1”, “JA #2”, etc.) consists of a set of questions (“Reflection Questions”) to which
you are expected to respond, and journal entries should be no less than 500 words and no
more than 750 words per assignment. You MUST e-mail your responses to JA #1 to
Professor Weissburg two weeks before the first day of class. All other journaling
assignments are due two calendar days after the end of the class.
Final: The final examination will be on the last day of class.
Class Attendance: We will pass around the attendance sheet at the beginning of each
session. If you arrive late, leave during class time or depart early (without prior permission),
we will mark you absent for that session. IF YOU MISS MORE THAN TWO CLASS
SESSIONS, WE WILL WITHDRAW YOU FROM THE CLASS.
Seating Chart: We will distribute a seating chart at the beginning of the first classroom
session. Please print the name you wish to be called in the space reflecting the seat you have
chosen for the semester. We will drop from the class all students whose names do not appear
on the chart.
Assignments: Your assignments for the course are attached. These assignments are subject
Appointments and E-mail: Students may make appointments with Professor Weissburg to
address concerns and confusion regarding any of the course material or for other guidance.
Course Web Page: The course will have its own course web page; you will be trained on
how to access the webpage.
ASSIGNMENTS AND ACTIVITIES
Day Subjects Activities
Two Weeks Legal Civics 1. Read Expert Learning for Law Students (entire text).
Prior to First Introduction to Expert 2. Read all the information at this link:
Class Session Learning http://www.scselfservice.org/home/overview.htm..
How Humans Learn 3. Journaling Assignment (“JA”) #1: Respond in writing to three
The Self-Regulated “Reflection Questions” at the end of Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4 (only a total
Learning (SRL) Cycle of three questions out of all four chapters) in Expert Learning for Law
How Law Is Taught Students (e-mail your answers to Professor Weissburg and retain a
copy of your responses as part of the journal you will be handing in at
the end of this course).
1. Introduction to Course: 1. Review this syllabus.
MONDAY Expert Learning in Law 2. Re-read Expert Learning for Law Students, Chapters 5,6,7, and “Pre-
School and Beyond Reading Cases” in Chapter 9.
1/8/07 Online Basics 3. Take the online personality test at
The Forethought Phase http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes1.htm and the online
of the SRL Cycle learning styles inventory at: http://www.vark-learn.com (you will
Pre-reading Law School need to click through to the questionnaire referenced on this webpage).
Texts 4. Do Exercises 5-1 through 5-4 in Expert Learning for Law Students:
5. Re-read Expert Learning for Law Students, Chapter 10 and “Peer Help”
in Chapter 11.
6. Read pages 1-4 in “Cases and Materials Packet for ELLS-I”
7. Bring all texts and course syllabi to class
1. Discussion and demonstration of the law school, bar exam and practice
benefits of SRL (30 min.)
2. Discussion of course policies and course webpage (30 min.)
3. Demonstration: Forethought Phase for Sherwood v. Walker and Wood
v. Boynton (30 min.)
4. Demonstration: Performance phase and Pre-Reading Sherwood v.
Walker and Wood v. Boynton (30 min.)
5. Initial Cooperative Learning Group Meeting (intros, discuss Exercise 5-
2 and prepare study plan for all classes.) (50 min.)
6. Meeting with peer time management consultant (intros) (10 min.)
7. Take notes in class using techniques explained in Expert Learning for
Law Students, Chapter 10.
1. Evaluate the extent to which you have mastered legal civics, the
forethought phase, how law is taught, learning styles, cooperative
learning and how humans learn.
2. Respond in writing to one of the “Reflection Questions” at the end of
Chapter 6 in Expert Learning for Law Students.
3. Respond in writing to two “Reflection Questions” at the end of Chapter
7 in Expert Learning for Law Students.
Day Subjects Activities
2. The Performance 1. Complete the “Time Management/Self-Monitoring Log” in Appendix A to
WEDNESDAY Phase of the SRL Expert learning for Law Students for the assignments below.
Cycle 2. Re-read Expert Learning for Law Students, Chapter 9.
1/10/07 Reading and 3. Read Sherwood v. Walker and Wood v. Boynton
briefing court 4. Using the format outlined in Chapter 9 of Expert Learning for Law Students
opinions and exercise 9-3 in the workbook, prepare a case brief of Sherwood v. Walker.
Time 1. Class discussion of case reading of Sherwood v. Walker (30 min.)
management 2. Practice reading Wood v. Boynton (30 min.)
Self-Monitoring 3. Class discussion of briefing court opinions for Sherwood v. Walker (30 min.)
4. Practice briefing Wood v. Boynton (45 min.)
5. Organizational strategies exercise (40 min.)
6. Exchange time management/self-monitoring log with your peer time
management consultant (5 min.)
7. Take notes in class using techniques explained in Expert Learning for Law
Students, Chapter 10.
1. Evaluate the extent to which you have mastered the performance phase,
pre-reading court opinions, reading court opinions, briefing court
opinions, time management/self-monitoring, and classroom note-taking.
2. Respond in writing to two “Reflection Questions” at the end of Chapter 8
in Expert Learning for Law Students.
3. After you brief Monarch Marking System Co. v. Reed’s Photo Mart, Inc.,
reflect on the accuracy of your evaluation of your learning.
4. Pre-read, read, and brief Monarch Marking System Co. v. Reed’s Photo
Mart and email your brief and time management/self-monitoring log for
the assignment to Professor Weissburg by 3 PM on Friday, January 5,
3. FRIDAY Rule 1. Complete the “Time Management/Self-Monitoring Log” for the assignments
Deconstruction below and bring your log to class to give to your peer time management
1/12/07 Reflection Phase consultant.
of the SRL Cycle 2. Re-read Expert Learning for Law Students, Chapters 8, 12, 14, 15 and 16.
Stress 3. De-construct rules in Rule Deconstruction Assignment, exercise 12-1.
management 1. Class discussion on Rule Deconstruction (20 min.)
Self-Monitoring 2. Practice Rule Deconstruction in groups (30 min.)
3. Class discussion of Practice Exams and Feedback (20 min.)
4. Class discussion of Time Management (20 min.)
5. Class discussion of Stress Management (10 min.)
6. Final Examination (1 hour, 20 min.)
Your entire journal must be emailed by Monday, January 15, 2007 at 6:00 PM.