The University of Groningen (UG) and VU University Amsterdam have joined forces in an innovative teaching project designed to improve law students’ skills in addressing the court. Using Virtual Reality (VR), students from the two institutions will face each other across a virtual courtroom. They will be given real-time feedback by fellow students in this authentic but virtual setting through a specially developed app. The project will bring academic law teaching better into line with professional practice. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science awarded the universities funding for the PleitVRij project as part of the incentive programme for open and online education.
The main aim of the PleitVRij project is to allow students to practise their skills in an authentic setting. In the past, students could only practise in the classroom, which did not fully equip them for the practical situation. PleitVRij has changed this. Students can now practise making pleas in different roles and familiarize themselves with the court setting. An app is being developed for direct feedback so that students can respond to each other directly while putting forward their virtual arguments.
The Judiciary and the Netherlands Bar Association have been consulted about specific aspects to ensure that the project corresponds as closely as possible with professional practice. The skills that these students develop will be more in line with what is expected of them in a real courtroom.
The teaching method and virtual setting are based on information provided by a sounding board comprising the Netherlands Bar Association, the Judiciary and various institutes of higher education. The results of the project will be made available for other teaching institutions through the SURFsharekit.
Hedwig van Rossum explains about the project
here in 2 minutes. The project concept was developed by Sylvia Moes (Innovation Manager of Education at VU University Library ), Gert-Jan Verheij (Educational technologist at the UG), Frans van Hoesel (VR expert Reality Center UG), Hedwig van Rossum (Moot Court coordinator at VU University Amsterdam), Bart Beijer (education & quality assurance at the UG), Adriaan Wierenga (communication training Student Moot Court at the UG) and Prof. Wilbert Kolkman (coordinator Student Moot Court at the UG).
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