Social Media in the Legal Classroom
Paul Drury teaches EU law at Sunderland University in the UK, is writing a textbook on the subject, and publishes the Students’ Guide to #EU Law in Action on Paper.li. He uses it inside and outside the classroom as a way of keeping himself and his students up to date on European legal matters.
Tell us about your course and students
My teaching is to degree students on an English LLb (Honours) course at Sunderland University. For the students themselves, it is an interesting course that can lead to a career as a lawyer, or to work in other fields of business or public life. I like the students, and some of them are very good indeed. I teach to many nationalities: French, Greek, German, Finnish, and others. I have a postgraduate research degree in EU Environmental Law.
What areas of people’s lives are (most) affected by EU Law?
EU law is a topic that mainly affects the governments of the member states and their business communities. Businesses and citizens who move to work in different member states can take advantage of its rules on freedom of movement and non-discrimination. At the moment the hot topics in this field are many and varied. Two examples can be taken from current affairs: there is the long-running Eurozone crisis with its financial and legal measures that have been taken to save the Euro. There is also the possibility of Britain’s exit from the EU as Euro-scepticism has reached a high point in this country.
What is the purpose of your paper?
The main purpose is to help me to think. Quite a bit of the information is news too and so this helps me keep up to date, which is useful. If it helps me, it should also help others too.
Who are the readers and what feedback do you get?
I assume that most of the readers are my Twitter followers. From students in my classes, I have had good feedback about the support that it gives to them in understanding this subject. I use it to illustrate points during class and I can refer students to it for further reading. The archive feature is particularly useful in that respect, because some important articles are from earlier editions.
How are you using the Paper.li pro service?
The pro service was chosen because I did not like the advertising on the free version. The advantage of the Paper.li pro, to me, is that I can have a paper that looks the best it can be.
If I was to name a couple of features that I would like to see included they would be, firstly, a method of exporting the archived content for saving on my own computer. Secondly, I would like it if the topics used to organise the contents of the paper could be renamed.
How do you use Twitter?
Twitter is a very useful tool for bookmarking links that I am interested in, and these links often find their way into the Paper.li. Tagging using hashtags is a good approach to bookmarking, I have found. Over time, I have gained followers who share the same interest in the subject and this is positive. We can share thoughts, comments and links between one another.
Facebook is another platform I use in order to keep in touch with friends and some of my students, who seem to like it more than Twitter. I may look at other social media platforms in the future, but for my own purposes, Twitter seems to be the best.
Tell us a little about the book you’re working on
As I mentioned at the start, it’s textbook for a legal publisher, Pearson Publishing, in England. The book will be aimed primarily at undergraduate law students, but could be read by anyone who wants to gain an understanding of how the EU works.
Main photo: Eoghan OLionnain on flickr