Second Life machinima used in postgraduate law degree course

The University of Western Australia (UWA) in Second Life blog of how a Second Life machinima has, for the first time, been used in one of the major units for a degree programme at the university.

The film, Equity & Trusts: Estoppel Tutorial has been used within the LAWS5103 unit, Equity & Trusts, a 2nd Year compulsory postgraduate unit for the Juris Doctor (law degree), taught at the University of Western Australia. It is a collaborative effort between Metaworlds, based in Ulm, Germany, and the UWA, directed and edited by Laurina Hawks of Metaworlds and featuring a script by Professor Natalie Skead, Associate Professor – Faculty of Law at UWA.

Estoppel is a series of legal doctrines which preclude a person asserting something contrary to what has been expressed or implied by a previous statement or action by that person, or by a previous relevant judicial determination.

Professor Skead and students discuss the unfolding situation in the Equity & Trusts: Estoppel Tutorial movie (image courtesy of the UWA in SL blog

The film charts a situation which develops between a young student and her uncle, who initially offers to finance her tuition fees as she goes to university to study law – at his suggestion – before later withdrawing the offer.

At just under 8 minutes in length, the movie has been shown to students during tutorials designed to trigger  discussions on the Estoppel principle of law. Following the discussions, students were asked to evaluate the effectiveness of the film, and the overwhelming response was positive.

Commenting on the outcome of the presentations, Professor Skead indicated the use of the video resulted in far more rigorous and detailed assessment of the facts as presented in the movie. She added that she felt the discussion on the topic which followed the film was far more sophisticated and detailed when compared to previous exercises conducted using more conventional methods, thus marking Second Life as a valuable tool for connecting students to real life experiences.

Commenting on the approach, / said, “We are absolutely thrilled at how successful this has been, and hope to continue supporting more and more areas in the targeted use of Second Life where it adds value. We have the far have had various activities and outcomes across the School of Business, School of Education, School of Physiology, Anatomy and Human Biology aside from this newest venture with the School of Law.”

As well as this work, the UWA has also recently made a series of presentations on how they use  Virtual worlds to support teaching, research, architecture, international community development, art & film at the Digital Education Show Asia, which took place in May 2014 in Kuala Lumpur.




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