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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Contemporary Issues in Medical Jurisprudence (LAWS11329)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is designed to engage students with current live issues arising in the field of medical jurisprudence, being a disciplines which sits at the cross-roads between law, medicine and ethics and is concerned primarily with legal and social responses to advanced in medicine, heathcare and related technologies.

The course is deliberately designed to be open and responsive to issues that are current at the time of delivery in any given year. Accordingly, only broad indications as to topics and subject matter can be given is a description such as this. Likely issues to be covered include:

(a) start and end of life
(b) human genetics and biotechnologies
(c) regulation of medical research
(d) human enhancement
(e) Avoiding Frankenstein futures

The core aims of the course are:

- To encourage critical awareness of current issues in a subject/discipline and one or more specialisms.
- To support students in planning and executing a significant project of research, investigation or development
- To foster originality or creativity in the application of knowledge, understanding and/ or practices
- To ensure that students apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to issues which are at the forefront of, or informed by, developments at the forefront of a subject/discipline
- To require students to communicate, using appropriate methods, to a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge/expertise
- To require students to communicate with peers, more senior colleagues and specialists
- To encourage students to take responsibility for own work and/or significant responsibility for the work of others.
Course description Indicative Teaching Programme

Given the deliberately open and responsive nature of this course, it would be inappropriate to attempt to give concrete topics. The topics will be chosen with the class in any given year under the oversight and direction of the course teachers. A broad indication of contemporary live topics will be introduced by the course teachers and it will be for students to decide amongst themselves which areas they would like to explore further. Suggestions and proposals will be invited from the students. Group interaction in this process will be encouraged and this will then be used as a means to take learning forward. Groups will be assisted to choose topics, develop materials, prepare to lead on seminar discussions, and to encourage mutual learning. The first few sessions will be led by staff as exemplars of the kinds of critical approaches and insights that can be explored. Skills development is central the course and will form an early part of the course interaction.

Thus, the overall outline of the course will have the following format:

Part 1 Skills development (weeks 1-4)
1. Introduction: the course, expectations, likely topics and possible groups
2. Final topics selection and group allocation confirmation (4 people x group)
3. Key skills development in critical thinking: live staff example
4. Submission of preliminary reading lists from all groups and running order of groups selected at random

Part 2 Exploring contemporary issues (weeks 5-10)

Expectations for each seminar include:

a. Student-led seminar based on student-prepared reading material to be distributed in advance (hence topic and group selection in Week 2 and reading material distributed in Week 4)
b. Clear written allocation of responsibility within the group for preparation and delivery of seminar (decided and managed by group)
c. Full participation in discussion by all encouraged through participation assessment via student blogs
d. Clear objectives and conclusions to be prepared by group

Please note that for the academic year 2015-16, both the PGT and the UG courses will be taught together. For this reason, the cap on this course for postgraduate students is 6.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  25
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The proposed assessment consists of three parts:

1. 75% take home essay released immediately following course delivery. This would be released on the last day of teaching in March and submission would be on a pre-agreed date in April.

2. 15% assessment of group presentation to be made up of: (i) content and structure of the seminar itself, including advance reading material distributed, (ii) clarity of division of labour and responsibility of tasks within group to be submitted in written form, and (iii) ability to distil clear objectives and conclusions from the experience.

3. 10% four individual blogs by students to be maintained throughout the course.

The reason for this split between assessments 2 and 3 is two-fold. First, it allows students to develop both group and individual insight skills. Second, the need to maintain a blog will help to ensure that students engage with the topics of all other groups. We want to avoid students concentrating only on their own group presentation at the expense of serious preparation and engagement throughout the course.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify issues of contemporary relevance and be able to demonstrate deep knowledge and understanding of their contemporary relevance, and in particular, the role of law in responding to them.
  2. Develop skills of independent and group-based research and preparation of materials to encourage engagement on the issues by peers and audiences beyond the Academy
  3. Develop skills of independent research and group working to present on topics of contemporary relevance and to encourage the same in peers
  4. Develop group working skills in the design, delivery and response to class topics, pursue topics in independent blogs and incorporate deep understanding in final assessments
  5. Manage personal and group dynamics, prepare to lead seminar and prepare to participate in others, both in class and via personal blog Legal research skills and technical skills in producing materials for classes and blog content
Reading List
The course organiser is co-author of a leading textbook in the area and this will provide foundational material for the students independent learning. He is also series co-editor of the Cambridge University Press Bioethics & Law monographs series and copies of all volumes are in library. These address contemporary issues in the field. The Library has e-journals for leading outlets including Medical Law Review, Medical Law International and Journal of Medical Ethics.

Given the focus on contemporary issues, much reliance will doubtless be made on web-based materials and students will be directed to credible sources including the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, the Council of Europe Bioethics site, the World Health Organization and many others.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr Edward Dove
Tel: (0131 6)50 6320
Course secretaryMr David Morris
Tel: (0131 6)50 2010
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