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Innovation in the Classroom

Prof. Joanna Sax

“I believe so strongly in this form of teaching and interaction.”

California Western’s E. Donald Shapiro Professor of Law Joanna Sax sums up the principal motivation behind her work in authoring an innovative and interactive study guide for her Contracts course, recently published as part of the ChartaCourse Study Guides.

Created by law professors for law students, ChartaCourse’s mission is to make legal education better for law students by providing better materials at a lower price. The company began by publishing charts that covered the basic core law school subjects and are now offering online study guides that students can use as supplements.

Sax originally wrote one of these charts on Contracts, which she uses with her 1L class.

“The 1L students really love the format,” says Sax. “They love the interactive nature of it, they like how easy it is to use, they don’t have to carry a textbook, and it’s much less expensive than traditional textbooks. They like it both in substance and form.”

ChartaCourse subsequently returned to Sax to author a study guide on Contracts.

“The study guide is useful for a large law school audience,” says Sax. “It's helpful for 1Ls who want additional explanations of concepts, extra practice questions, and examples of case briefs. It is also geared toward upper-division students who have already taken Contracts in their 1L year and need a very good review, particularly as it relates to taking the bar exam.”

The interactive format allows students to test themselves with multiple choice questions, for example, where they can submit their answer and then click on an explanation of the solution. The study guides also enable students to highlight and take notes directly in the chart—as well as the flexibility to download and print as much content as needed.

“Visually, it is set up like a table of contents,” explains Sax. “You simply click on a topic to stay within that subject area.”

Sax believes that this interactive format exemplifies how California Western’s faculty are engaged in innovative teaching methodologies and are always pressing forward to make sure that information is presented to students in the most effective and successful way.

“I really do think that's the culture around here,” says Sax. “We are very student-oriented, very student-friendly, and our teaching innovations are not just in our clinics, but also in our doctrinal courses.”

Read more on ChartaCourse Study Guides here.