Irene Larooy and Simon Tans about Awards to stimulate and to test

Irene Larooy en Simon Tans rechtsgeleerdheid
Students can save awards in their ePortfolio in Brightspace, so that they can share their skills, for example with future employers
Irene Larooy en Simon Tans
Current role
Dr. Larooy is study advisor at the Faculty of Law Education Office and member of the Representative Council. Mr. dr. Tans is Assistant Professor international and European Law.

For students of Law it is incredibly important that during their studies they do not solely acquire knowledge on law. Skills like giving feedback, working together, interviewing and presenting is something every law student should have. However, drawing up and testing end goals for these kinds of personal skills is difficult. Irene Larooy and Simon Tans found the solution in the use of Awards. They have integrated these awards within the extracurricular talent program Law in Action of the Faculty of Law.

Students that participate in Law in Action talent program work with real cases from the legal field. Lecturers guide the students in recognising so-called ‘key moments’. These are situations that a student can learn from, like a conflict situation within a group, or an interview at a law firm. Students then write a reflection report on the key moment. In order to receive an award, students must demonstrate during the reflection that they can think critically about their role. At the end of the programme, each student must have achieved 15 awards of their choice.

Awards is an integrated function in Brightspace. As a lecturer, you set up a matrix of skills to which you link Awards. This way students can see which awards they can achieve. If students have received an award, they can save it in their ePortfolio in Brightspace. This way they have an overview with which they can share their skills, for example with future employers.

Role of the lecturer

When it comes to obtaining awards, the role of the lecturers is mainly coaching. Tans: ‘We can't predict what a student will come up with. It’s possible that someone earns an award for working together three times, through three different key moments. It’s also not determined beforehand when students will achieve an award, but of course there aren’t fifteen key moments in the last month of the programme. We will therefore also occasionally indicate when a suitable moment for linking an award arises. We have also linked the first award to a first assignment. This way, students immediately receive the first award and they see that it really isn't that difficult.’

Simon has observed the following about the effect of awards: ‘Students are given the freedom and encouraged to take their own responsibility. This freedom is very difficult for many students in the beginning. That is why it is important to make it very clear in advance what you expect. To help students, for example, we have written examples in advance about what such a reflection could look like.’

Tips from Simon and Irene

‘It is important to realize that working with awards is really new for students. You really have to make it clear to students what is expected of them and give examples.’

In addition, it is important to leave the options open to students. ‘Don't determine all the awards yet. Make sure that students have room to choose which skills they want to work on.’

Getting Started?

Use the tutorials about Awards. Want to know more and/or need help with Awards? Contact the Teaching Information Point of your faculty.