Legal Writing and Research Library Workshop Modules: Teaching Legal Bibliography Using Instructional Technology in Innovative Ways

Audience: Anyone
Technical Level: Low

Each year, the Legal Writing and Research faculty at Wayne State University Law School, a staff of five, introduce 200-250 students to the process of legal research and writing. The law librarians at the Arthur Neef Law Library work closely with the Legal Writing and Research (LWR) faculty to plan and present supplementary workshops that expose students to the materials they are expected to use to complete research assignments made in the first semester as well as an Appellate Brief in the second semester. Unfortunately, these workshops do not allow students the hands-on introduction or the one-on-one attention from librarians that students desire and librarians would prefer to make available.

To provide more active learning in the use of library resources at WSU, the Director of the Legal Writing and Research Program, two law librarians and the library?s Applications? Specialist sought and were awarded an Innovative Instructional Technology Grant by the Office of the Provost in Fall, 2005 to create Legal Writing and Research Library Workshop Modules (LWR-LW Modules). The project allows law librarians to provide bibliographic instruction in a manner that responds to student requests for individualized assistance using technology already available on campus. The Applications Specialist, an instructional designer, worked with the law librarians to assess user needs and to develop and deliver materials online made up of screen and document snapshots with voice over lectures to assist students in completing LWR assignments. Use of the Modules is also extended to the hundreds of non-law students on campus who take courses where legal research is necessary including Business, Education and Social Work policy courses as well as reference courses in the Library and Information Science Program.

Interactive Modules were created under the grant on the following topics:

Print Secondary Resources Computerized Indexes Federal Statutes Federal Cases Updating resources: Shepard?s and Key Cite State Statutes and Cases Free Online Legal Research

In this session, Librarian, Lauren Collins, who wrote the grant proposal and spearheaded the resulting program, will discuss the grant process, chronicle the development of the Modules, and provide a demonstration of the finished product.

MP3: CollinsLR1Th100.mp3

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Watch the presentation.

Lauren Michelle Collins
Public Service Librarian/Instruction
Wayne State University Law School

About Elmer Masters

Elmer R. Masters is the Director of Technology at the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction ( where he works on interesting projects involving technology and legal education like eLangdell, Classcaster, Lawbooks, QuizWright, and the CALI website. He has nearly 25 years of experience building tech tools for legal education and systems for accessing law and legal materials on the Internet. He is the admin of the Teknoids mailing list ( and has been blogging about legal education, law, and technology for over 15 years ( He has a JD from Syracuse University College of Law and was employed by Syracuse, Cornell Law School, and Emory University School of Law before joining CALI in 2003. Elmer has presented at the CALI Conference for Law School Computing (where he organizes the program), the AALL and AALS Annual Meetings, Law Via The Internet, and other conferences, symposia, and workshops on topics ranging from IT management in law schools to building open access court reporting systems to information architecture design and implementation in law.
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