The social mediation of multinational legal education: A case study of the University of London’s undergraduate laws programme for external/international students.
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This thesis examines the social mediation of a transnational educational programme, namely the University of London’s International (External) Undergraduate Laws Programme. The thesis explores the lived experiences of a variety of stakeholders – university academics, frontline teaching staff and students - in the context of historical legacy and current development. The University of London’s International (External) programmes is one of the oldest forms of distance education, and the Undergraduate Laws Programme is the second largest subscribed programme and represent the fundamental academic legal education for the legal profession in numerous countries. With the separation of teaching, assessment and award as the distinguishing feature consequential to the origins of the University of London its legacy results in multitude stakeholders with vested interests in each aspect. The thesis seeks to understand the motivations behind and implications resulting from the various stakeholders’ experiences through an analysis of their narratives gleaned from interviews and data recorded from observations. Is there a distinct identity and culture within each group of stakeholders which has developed through the evolution of the programme? Can a pattern or theory of teaching and learning unique to the programme be identified and if so, what kind of impact has that had on legal education? The possibility of identifying existing and/or emerging communities of practice within and across each group of stakeholders is a recurring theme discussed on the basis that the theory of situated learning within a community of practice is a form of active learning; an objective which the University of London has sought to actively achieve since 2005. By building an ethnography of the various stakeholders, the thesis explores a formerly under researched aspect of undergraduate legal education and acts as a prompt for future areas of research in the areas of legal and distance education.
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