College of Law scraps LPC lectures for online tutorials

The College of Law is replacing all LPC lectures with online tutorials, slashing the amount of time students spend face-to-face with lecturers.Lectures in a number of pervasive subjects, including accounts, insolvency, tax and the LPC skills of advocacy, interviewing and writing, have already been replaced with ’i-tutorials’.The college plans to roll out e-learning for all other subjects, both elective and compulsory, during the next two years.The college’s director of vocational programmes Scott Slorach said: “We’re saying the best learning takes place individually and in small groups and it’s something education has been saying for years.”The tutorials are available both online and on DVD and involve interactive exercises as well as lectures. Slorach argued that one of the main advantages of i-tutorials is that students are able to revisit the lectures at any stage. He added that this is particularly helpful when students are revising for exams.One source at another LPC provider slammed the radical move and argued that students prefer human contact. “I think e-learning may be appropriate for distance-learning. Our feedback showed that students enjoy the collegiate experience of lectures.”I don’t think it’s appropriate to substitute lectures with e-learning. They should be supplementary to lectures,” argued the source.The college has increased time spent in small seminar groups to two and a half hours to compensate for the reduction in contact with tutors.Slorach said the project had been warmly received by law firms, which liked the fact that the i-tutorials encouraged students to manage time. “There’s more commitment required in terms of work management,” he said. He added that no student had raised an issue over the availability of computers, but admitted that the change in culture away from timetabled lectures had been a difficult transition.The Linklaters partner with responsibility for trainees Simon Firth supports i-tutorials. He said: “I think [i-tutorials] are a good idea because lectures are a pretty inefficient way of communicating information. You can’t replay them.”The college has worked alongside the Glasgow Graduate School of Law to design the i-tutorials. Slorach said the innovative programme was a major investment for the college, but he declined to comment on the exact cost.