10 February 2014
University of London LLM Newsletter
From the Director
In this issue
elcome to the February 2014 edition of the University of London LLM Newsletter. In this issue we feature:
ews, Events and Reminders ... Page 3
M A A
dviser: The College of the Bahamas - we speak to Keithley Woolward and Lisa Benjamin about their plans to offer the LLM.
eet the Director ... Page 5
dviser: The College of the Bahamas ...
cademic profile: Professor Alastair Hudson ... Page 9
nterview with Diana Maniati, Inclusive Practice Manager ... Page 13
ights, Camera, Action! Interview with Bold Content Vidcasters ... Page 15
raduate: Savvas Ioannou ... Page 17
urrent Student: Soha Ragab ... Page 20
e interview Professor Alastair Hudson, author of no less than seven study guides who tells us how important podcasts and vidcasts are to his teaching.
e interview Diana Maniati, Inclusive Practice Manager at University of London International Programmes who tells us about the facilities offered to students studying in difficult circumstances.
e talk to Adam Neale of Bold Content Ltd. about the filmed vidcasts for the Programmeâ€™s you.tube channel.
ur Graduate this issue is Savvas Ioannou, who lives in Cyprus and tells us of his study experiences, and of the current financial problems in his country.
ur current student is Soha Ragab, a very busy young lady who lives in the United Arab Emirates. She shares with us her thoughts on the Programme and in particular, her admiration for the teachings of Professor Alastair Hudson.
University of London LLM Newsletter
News, Events and Reminders Scrutiny of terrorism laws: searchlight or veil? 24 February 2014, 18:00 - 19:00 Speaker: David Anderson QC, Brick Court Chambers and the Government’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Charles Clore House 17 Russell Square London WC1B 5DR This event is FREE but those wishing to attend should register in advance. To register: http://events.sas. ac.uk/events/view/15300 Organised by the Statute Law Society (www.statutelawsociety.org) and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.
Exam timetable – May 2014 Date
Monday 12 May
Tuesday 13 May
Section A examinations
Wednesday 14 May Section B examinations
Thursday 15 May Section C examinations
Friday 16 May
Section D examinations
Don’t forget to join our forums on the eCampus to chat with other students about your studies. Login to the eCampus by following the link: https://my.londonexternal.ac.uk/london/portal Page 3
University of London LLM Newsletter
Social & Legal Philosophy Colloquium Justice in Immigration Wednesday 5 February 2014, 4-7pm
Speaker: Prof. David Miller (University of Oxford) Venue: UCL Faculty of Laws Admission: Free of charge Accreditation: This event is not accredited for CPD
This paper starts from the assumption that (legitimate) states have a general right to control their borders and decide who to admit as future citizens. These decisions, however, should be guided by principles of justice. But which principles? To answer this we have to analyse the multifaceted relationships that may hold between states and prospective immigrants, distinguishing on the one hand between those who are either inside or outside the state’s territory, and on the other between refugees, economic migrants and ‘particularity claimants’. The claims of refugees, stemming from their human rights, are powerful though limited in scope: they hold against receiving states generally rather than the specific one to which they apply for asylum. Economic migrants cannot claim a right to be admitted as such, but only a right to have legitimate criteria of selection applied to them. In the case of particularity claimants, such as those seeking redress for harms inflicted on them or reward for the services they have rendered to the state, the main question is why awarding a right to enter should be the appropriate response to their claims. The paper concludes by asking how far principles of justice can be used to establish priorities between these different categories of migrants. Register:http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/social-legal-philosophy-colloquium-justice-in-immigration-tickets-9671590989?aff=lawsevents
Professor Malgosia Fitzmaurice, Professor of Public International Law at Queen Mary, and author of three study guides, International Environmental Law, Law of Treaties and International Natural Resources Law, is to be the Visiting Professor at Kobe University, Japan from April-June 2014. She will teach the International Cooperation Law course and will be one of the main speakers at a Conference on Whaling.
University of London LLM Newsletter Meet the Director Marian V. De Souza, President, and Maureen Armitage, Executive Director, of the Canadian Bar Association Alberta branch, met the Director of the Postgraduate Laws Programme and Lesley Hayman of the University of London International Programmes on 30 September 2013 in Calgary, Canada.
The Dean of the International Shipping Law of East China University of Politics and Law in Shanghai, met with the Director of the of Postgraduate Laws Programme in London to discuss how the two could work together.
The Postgraduate Laws Programme had a booth at the Hong Kong Law Fair on October 5, 2013, as it has for many years.
The Postgraduate Laws Programme had a stand at the University of London Postgraduate Open Day, November 13, 2013. Page 5
University of London LLM Newsletter
The Penang Bar Committee hosted the Director of the Postgraduate Laws Programme, for a seminar on the LLM on October 8, 2013
Catching up with old friends! The Director of the Postgraduate Laws Programme met up with Elena Kataeva and Aleksander Pashinskiy of the Russian Academy of Justice, Moscow, when they visited London on 4 December, 2013.
The Institute of Law of Jersey hosted the Director of the Postgraduate Laws Programme on 10 January, 2014 to discuss possible cooperation in St Helier, Jersey.
University of London LLM Newsletter The Director returned from his visit to sunny Nassau, impressed not only by the warm welcome he was given by all, but very enthusiastic about furthering the relationship with COB. Can you explain how you first heard about the Postgraduate Laws Programme?
Advisor Profile: College of the Bahamas
Established by an Act of Parliament in 1974, The College was created through the amalgamation of four institutions: The Bahamas Teachers’ College, San Salvador Teachers’ College, C. R. Walker Technical College and the sixth form programme of The Government High School. In June 1995, landmark legislation was passed granting The College full autonomy of its affairs and an expanded mandate, establishing a new era.
Lisa: “Professor Rebecca Wallace accompanied Dr James Busuttil to The Bahamas in 2009 when an initial meeting was held for expressions of interest in an LL.M in Maritime Law. Professor Wallace, author of three study guides for the Postgraduate Laws Programme, was involved in a joint research project on violence and restorative justice with The College. The meeting in 2009 was the beginning of fruitful relationships between The College and both Professor Wallace and Dr James Busuttil of the University of London.”
Why are you so keen to work with the LLM Programme in particular? What courses are your students particularly interested in studying and why?
Lisa: “As The College transitions to University status, it will be important to diversify the degrees that it offers, including the addition of more graduate programmes. At the moment, The College only offers an undergraduate LL.B degree. The University of London LL.M provides a tremendous amount of flexibility and choice of courses, and The Bahamas has a domestic examination centre for the LLM. The University of London has a first class reputation both domestically and internationally, and it offers a quality LLM at a competitive price. As a result, The College was very interested in entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of London to help diversify the graduate programmes in law that the College On July 9th 2013, the Director of the Programme, Dr James can offer. Busuttil, met with representatives of The College of the Bahamas in Nassau, to discuss how the COB could support the Programme locally, and ultimately utilise it as part of the transition to university status. On September 13th the “The meeting in 2009 was the beginning President of the College of the Bahamas, Dr Betsy V. Boze, of fruitful relationships between The and the Director of the Programme, symbolically signed College and both Professor Wallace and a Memorandum of Understanding at the College, and COB will start to offer support to students in The Bahamas Dr James Busuttil of the University of who wish to study for the Postgraduate Laws Programme. London.” In addition, the Programme will assist the College in its transition to University status. After more than thirty-five years of serving The Bahamas, first as a two-year institution, then as a four-year degreegranting College, with the introduction of baccalaureate degrees over a range of disciplines [the Bachelor in Business Administration degree (BBA), Bachelor in Education (BEd), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Nursing (BSN) Bachelor of Science in Electronics Technology (BSET) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees]; COB expects to become The University of the Bahamas by 2015.
We spoke to Keithley Woolward, Director of Graduate Programmes and Lisa Benjamin, Assistant Professor.
Students are mainly interested in financial services and
University of London LLM Newsletter maritime law, and a number of faculty members in the LLB programme completed the University of London LLM by distance, including myself! I began my LLM in 2008 and completed the degree in 2009, studying International Environmental Law, World Trade Law, International Economic Law and International and Comparative Competition Law. I now teach, research and publish in environmental and trade law, which have become my areas of expertise. The University of London LLM was instrumental in my developing this area of interest and I continue to act as a Student Ambassador for the University of London LLM.”
Keithley, as Director of Graduate Programmes can you tell us, with regard to plans to offer our Programme, what has been done so far?
“In June and July of this year, Graduate Programmes organized a number of meetings with stakeholders in the legal and business communities, government representatives and The College. We wanted to get a sense of what the needs were as far as graduate legal education was concerned.
prepare teaching notes highlighting what students should have gleaned from cases, statutes etc. Past exam questions would be covered using the examiners’ comments from UoL and students would be expected to submit written work to the tutors for assessment prior to the sessions. We will draw on the faculty teaching in the LLB programme and their expertise in Maritime Law in particular. The tutor service will utilize the resources of the COB Law library. This is an opportunity for us to build library capacity in the Maritime Law area. We will also be using our two-way Interactive classroom to deliver the tutor sessions to students at our Northern Bahamas campus.”
Finally, what do you each see as the main challenges for students studying at a distance, and what advice would you give them?
Lisa: “Studying law by distance requires both discipline and good time management skills. The University of London offers a tremendous amount of flexibility, while offering a wide range of options to choose from. My best advice would be to choose options which interest you, and in which you are willing to invest your time.”
As a follow-up to the June and July stakeholder meetings Graduate Programmes hosted two Information Sessions in September to publicise the LLM in Maritime Law. Both sessions were well advertised in the print media here and we also recorded a special session of the College’s radio programme ‘University Drive’ where we talked about the partnership with the University of London and the LLM in Maritime Law. We also have a number of information sessions for Graduate Programmes planned for the spring semester where we will again highlight the Maritime Law course as one we currently offer.”
Keithley: Any course of study at the graduate level will be very demanding and to echo Lisa, time management will be essential to success. I think the main challenges, particularly with a distance programme, will be good planning and maintaining motivation. Planning effectively around other life commitments to establish a study schedule will be the first major test for students. Effective planning will help to keep the end goal always in focus. By keeping the “why” at the forefront of what they do, students will be well on their way to finishing, and finishing well.”
What support will COB be offering to local students on the LLM Programme?
“Studying law by distance requires both discipline and good time management skills.”
Keithley: The main form of support will be via tutor sessions for each of the modules of the courses. There would be 4 tutoring sessions per course, of 9 hours each (Saturdays 9am-5.30pm with 1 hour for lunch) with a review session of up to 8 hours (2 hours per section of the course). This would lead to a total of 44 hours of tutoring per course. The tutoring services would revolve around the learning outcomes and selfassessment questions in the study packs. Tutors would Page 8
University of London LLM Newsletter Academic profile: Professor Alastair Hudson
Professor Alastair Hudson is the author of no less than 7 of the Programme’s study guides, giving us a broad Banking & Finance specialisation group. Alastair was voted UK Law Teacher of the Year in 2008. He was appointed a National Teaching Fellow in 2009 by the Higher Education Academy, and was elected a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is a Barrister, Lincoln’s Inn, and an Academic Member of the Chancery Bar Association, and was active in British politics, acting as a policy advisor to the British Labour Party on constitutional and legal affairs from 1992-97, and most recently acting as adviser to the Parliamentary Commission on Banking. He ran for Parliament in 1997 for Labour in a very safe Conservative seat (in which the incumbent had taken cash for questions), losing out to Dominic Grieve, the current Attorney-General, after a 29% swing towards Labour in that seat. Basically, he lost in a landslide. He considers this to have been the story of his life.
Alastair has close ties with the University of London. He was an undergraduate at King’s College London (1987-1990), a part-time postgraduate student at King’s (1991-93), and he did his doctoral research at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London (culminating in his PhD in 1999). He was for some years Professor of Equity & Law in the University of London, having taught first in 1993 at King’s College and then at Queen Mary. From September 2012 he has been Professor of Equity & Finance Law at the University of Southampton.
various aspects of law and legal theory which have established themselves as being authoritative in the UK and overseas. They have been cited in court and in court judgments in several jurisdictions.
Alastair has always been the most enthusiastic and approachable of the Programme’s authors and has also pioneered a range of podcast and vidcast methods of teaching on his website, www.alastairhudson.com to help students and practitioners alike, together with a wealth of essays which supplement his published books. He has pioneered making his lectures, ideas and research available free on the internet. We caught up with Alastair during his extremely busy work schedule and asked him:
Why did you choose to specialise in equity & finance law?
“I think the subject chose me. I went to university – particularly with my political beliefs – not knowing what to expect from a law degree, but nevertheless assuming that I would become interested in human rights law or industrial relations law. Instead, equity and trusts, property law, company law and tax law really caught my imagination. That was when I realised I was what barristers call “a chancery lawyer”.
My understanding of the subject has developed since I was a student, but I am extremely grateful to my tutors (especially the late Jeff Price (to whom I dedicated Understanding Equity & Trusts) and David Hayton for the fire they kindled in me). That was also when I realised that my vocation was to be a teacher. There is something beautiful about a university: thinking for thinking’s sake, pursuing ideas for their own sake, and working in such an enjoyable environment.”
Our students love your website, www.alastair. hudson.com (see our Student profile, page 20 on Soha Ragab who is your biggest fan)!
Alastair is the author of eighteen books on Page 9
University of London LLM Newsletter “It is really gratifying to know that something I funded myself and made myself in my study at home, is connecting with other people. I receive regular emails of thanks from students around the world thanking me for making all that material available. I also hear from practitioners who use my podcasts to learn about particular areas of law. There are also a number of academics who use those podcasts too, and then thank me quietly at conferences. I have always loved the idea of the original pioneers of the Internet: it should bring human beings from around the world together. I love the idea that I have knowledge which other people want and need, and I can simply give that away. It’s a beautiful thing.
I realised a long time ago that every student has their own way of learning. Some people are visual, others are auditory, others need repetition, others need structure, others need to hear information as aa story, and so on. So, when I stood up in front of a lecture group of 250 students, I realised that I might need 250 different ways of explaining the material. It seemed to me that the technology – podcasting in different ways, using video and different types of books – offered me and the students different ways of teaching and learning. That is why I started the website in 2003 (when the technology was still quite rudimentary for amateurs like me). I knew I could use it to reach out to more people more effectively.
I realised I wanted to be a teacher when I was quite young. I have two younger brothers, and I used to enjoy explaining their work to them when they had difficulties. It is very rewarding to help another human being to understand something, and to watch when the penny drops in their mind. The website, the books, and everything else are simply extensions of the moment when I realised that that was a really worthwhile thing to do.
There is a long way to go in the future. I am currently working on a different type of textbook which will combine text with embedded podcasts, videos and hyperlinks to relevant web pages. For a generation growing up with the Internet always around them, traditional book-learning which is not used at school will be difficult for them. My niece got an iPad from her uncle for her sixth birthday. A friend’s child is using one at age 3. The students of the future will need a different kind of textbook. Tablet computer technology means that books can be different in the future. So, I never stand still. I am always looking to connect with students in different ways and to build for the future.”
I am a restless teacher. I leave every class thinking about what I could do better in the next class, or when I do that topic next year. During classes there is a lot going on in my mind: who hasn’t talked yet and why? Where is everyone’s interest in this reading taking us, and what else must we cover before the end of the session? Knowing this group from previous sessions, how can I best tie the messages from this session into their individual interests? How can I shape this discussion so that they debate between themselves without needing me to referee the discussion.
“It is very rewarding to help another human being to understand something, and to watch when the penny drops in their mind.”
Our students do not receive any interactive teaching or mentoring. What study advice would you offer them, apart from recommending they make use of the various facilities that are provided?
University of London LLM Newsletter “The secret to studying law is to read the material, and work out what you think about it. That’s all. It is also a very difficult thing to do. If the material is dry or complex or whatever, then it is quite difficult to think of it as something about which you could have an opinion. But it is only by developing an opinion about it that you will really take it inside yourself.
With the finance law courses, it is easy to do this if it is connected back to the financial crisis. For example, you could ask yourself: if that is the legal rule, then how would that protect us against another financial crash? Who benefits from that rule? Once you have gone through the process of trying to put it into that sort of a framework for yourself, then you will always remember it because you will have processed it through your own worldview. It is for you to pick your own framework and develop your own worldview: any process of education should help you to do that for yourself. I am always suspicious of education which tries to tell a student what to think.
I began to feel I had made “trusts law” mine when I began to understand it as being part of “equity”, and when I read Aristotle’s Ethics which contains the idea that equity involves treating individual human beings as being intrinsically valuable such that they cannot simply be subjected unthinkingly to abstract legal rules. Then I began to think about what a “conscience” really is, not just in law but in psycho-analytic theory; and what subjectivity means in aesthetics. Then I went back and re-read all of the cases and statutes. Everything made sense to me in a different way depending on how they fitted into these ideas of equity and of conscience. The ideas became mine, and the books came after that.
I am acutely aware when writing study guides and examiners’ comments (and also when writing the textbooks) that the International Programme students could be studying in difficult surroundings in Kabul, or on a beach in Malaysia, or in a comfortable London flat; or that they could be studying late at night, or in a few snatched hours on a Sunday morning, or (like I did) by taking annual vacation from a full-time job to cram the reading in. So, I need to make the material clear, I need to try
to make it interesting, and I need to find different ways of connecting with those students. But what is important is that you, as a student, understand what it needs from you. You really do have to do all of the reading, and you have to think about it. Thinking about it is key. Stop just making notes. Put the book down when you have finished your reading, and think about what it means to you. In many of the exam papers, it is surprising how few students give the impression that they have read any of the assigned reading. Too many students simply repeat parts of some of the ideas from the Study Guide. What matters is that you have thought about it. In a thirty page article in the assigned reading, there is likely to be more in that article than the single sentence that some students use to summarise it. That is also a shame because their education becomes quite thin if they are simply reducing those ideas to a single sentence.”
The Programme’s authors/academics, apart from setting and marking exam papers, are asked to provide exam reports after each exam session. With 7 courses, writing these must be a chore!
“Exam reports are a very important part of the process. Without seminars to discuss the material as we go along, providing International Programme students with some idea of what students have done right and wrong in previous exam sessions is vitally important to helping them to understand the Programme’s objectives.
I do not think of them as a chore. I think of them as part of the teaching process. It is an essential part of what teachers do on a distance-learning degree programme.
So, yes, they are work, but I set aside a good block of time with no other distractions and do them all, one after the other. I make it a fun period of time: music on, comfortable chair, no email to distract me. I hope my comments have improved in usefulness over the years: certainly students seem to be performing better and lapsing into fewer basic errors than was the case years ago. So, I think students are reading those comments closely. The comments only need to be short sometimes because there are often just a few
University of London LLM Newsletter key messages which will help students to excel rather than merely just passing.
What helps me when writing them is to think of someone sitting in their bedroom in Bangalore, their sitting room in Singapore, or their studio in Surbiton, and I write the report as if I am writing a letter to them directly: advising them what to do and warning them what not to do.”
“In a thirty page article in the assigned reading, there is likely to be more in that article than the single sentence that some students use to summarise it.”
I divide my time between writing textbooks for students, writing treatises for practitioners, and writing scholarly articles. While it is unfashionable, I think that writing textbooks is very important, and that the new technology means that different ways of writing textbooks are not only possible but necessary. For example, when I write a new edition of a textbook, the Internet usually means that I have access to the two hundred new cases in that field which I must read and sift before deciding what goes into the book. Fifteen years ago, only the five or six new cases reported in the hard copy law reports needed to be mentioned. Furthermore, many of those two hundred new cases show that the doctrine of precedent is ignored by many judges! (I have huge sympathy for judges: they are so miserably busy, and there is so much law around them.) So, there is a real question as to how we establish what the law actually is in the modern world. Textbook writers have a hugely important job to do in synthesising all of that material to help the system to keep functioning.
Finally Alastair, when you are not writing Recent Developments, providing exam questions, marks and exam reports for 7 courses – as well as teaching at the University of Southampton, is there time for anything else?
“Sad but true: in my spare time I write books, read books, and go for long walks in the countryside to think about writing books. I am planning a book on the financial crisis and its aftermath from a legal perspective. I advised some of the commissioners on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards throughout that process in the UK in 2012-13: there were too few links drawn between the defects in the current law and regulation, and the horror stories which unfolded in front of us. The Commission’s report was a real failure of courage and intellect. It was a real opportunity missed, but the evidence lodged with the Commission has provided us all with a vast treasury of information to analyse in the future. There is also a Text, Cases and Materials book on Equity & Trusts in the pipeline. To be honest, I have the next five years planned out.
“What is great about the International Programme is that it brings education to people who want it but who cannot access in person it for a variety of reasons. It is genuinely exciting and a little humbling to be helping people to access that education. It is a very democratic thing to be spreading knowledge around the world, and to be helping you, dear student, to become the person you want to be.”
University of London LLM Newsletter Interview with Diana Maniati, Inclusive Practice Manager, on the assistance available to those studying in difficult or unusual circumstances
The previous two paragraphs are from the University of London International Programmes’ Inclusive Practice policy. We talk to Diana Maniati, the Inclusive Practice Manager, about her role and the facilities available to students studying in difficult circumstances.
What is your employment background Diana and what lead you to your present role of Inclusive Practice Manager?
It isn’t easy studying by distance, especially with no interactive tutoring or mentoring and often it takes students a few months to settle into the routine and acquire the discipline they need to study unsupervised, with just their study materials, access to the VLE, online library etc. Imagine how much more difficult it must be for students who are disabled, in the armed forces, in prison or working away from home.
In the context of the University of London International Programmes’ strategic vision of life-changing, high quality university education for those who will benefit, and its access mission, the International Programmes welcomes applications from those with specific access requirements. Our aim is to develop a proactive approach to ensure that services are accessible for all, that we respect individual choice and that we create an inclusive environment which recognises the diversity of individuals within a flexible and supportive educational framework.
The International Programmes has many students who choose to study with us because their needs cannot be met elsewhere. Often these needs are related to when and how the applicant is able to study rather than a disability or other special circumstances. Examples include workers on board ships, those bases on oil platforms and rigs, and students whose work demands that they travel extensively or who are unable to travel and thus access education through conventional attendance. The International Programmes also has a small population of students who are prisoners, for whom study may be part of an effort to reform, and others, interned for political reasons, who place a high value on academia.
“I have an employment background in the areas of student disability support and equality and diversity. I have worked in higher and further education institutions as a disability advisor, supporting disabled students to achieve their goals, and advising the institutions regarding equality issues, ensuring they meet the legal requirements. I was also involved in a HEFCE project “Supporting Disabled students in HE”. The project aimed to increase awareness and provide guidance and support to HE institutions in order to successfully support disabled students.”
Is there a special Committee which meets to deal with Inclusive Practice?
“The University of London International Programmes has an Inclusive Practice Panel (previously known as the Inclusive Practice Sub-committee). The Panel consists of external and internal members, and includes disability experts and two student representatives. The Panel helps to monitor, review and recommend amendments to University of London International Programmes policies and procedures that relate to potential or current students with disabilities and/or specific access requirements.
It also recommends changes to policies and procedures in order to ensure that students with disabilities and/ or specific access requirements are not disadvantaged. It supports the University of London International Programmes in implementing aspects of the Equality Act 2010 as this relate to its disabled students.”
University of London LLM Newsletter How does the University assist students who are disabled, such as those who are blind or partially sighted deaf, dyslexic or have mobility impairment?
“We provide distance learning and students can study at their own pace in their country. This flexibility can be an advantage to a disabled student as he will not have to face the challenges that an on campus student may have.
Exams must be especially difficult for all students with specific access requirements.
“Depending on the disability and the individuals’ needs, special examination arrangements can be made. Facilities include the use of an amanuensis, exam papers in large print or Braille for visually impaired students, extra time or use of a computer for dyslexic students, special seating, rest breaks for students with a medical condition, and accessible exam venues for students with mobility difficulties. Each case is considered individually and appropriate exam arrangements can be approved. The University communicates any approved special exam arrangements to exam centres and we have always found our examination centres to be more than willing to make any necessary arrangements.”
Every student is an individual, has his own individual needs and is considered as an individual case. There is a panel which considers special arrangements requests. In general, it is possible to provide materials in different formats e.g. electronically. This format is particularly helpful to visually impaired students and to students with learning difficulties such as dyslexia and the electronic material can be read using special software to meet the needs of the individual. It can Lastly how do students request assistance? also be manipulated (changing font size, background colour etc.). Special examination arrangements can also be made for students with a disability. “Students have the opportunity to disclose a disability or any other special circumstances and request special arrangements at any time during the student lifecycle. And what assistance does the University offer to stu- This can be done during the admission, enrolment dents serving with the armed forces, or on oil-rigs, and exam entry online processes. Students can also etc.? contact directly the Inclusive practice Office to discuss their circumstances and request special arrangements “It can be possible to make arrangements for those serving in the armed forces or for those working on oil-rigs who cannot travel to an examination centre to sit exams. With the permission of the authorities we can make arrangements for students to sit exams at the army base or oil-rigs. The flexibility of our programmes allows students who are unable to sit exams one session to sit the next.
firstname.lastname@example.org Any information about a disability or medical condition is confidential and the process of disclosure is separate from any other process e.g. admissions. We are constantly striving to improve our online processes and offer students more opportunities to tell us about their circumstances and communicate their needs.”
In the case of students in prison or secure institutions, we have a number of prisoners who are studying our distance learning courses and the fact that there are no requirements to attend lectures gives them the opportunity to study for a higher education degree. We can make arrangements, if the prison authorities agree, to permit the student to sit exams in prison.”
University of London LLM Newsletter to the recession. After 15 years of experience Camera, lights, action!
Interview with Adam Neale from Bold Content Video Production – http://www. boldcontent.tv This year we have been busy arranging a timetable of vidcast segments which have been placed onto the Programme’s Youtube channel – www.Youtube.com/LondonLLM Unfortunately, not all courses have the vidcast segments, due to academics being unavailable to film, but we were able to produce vidcasts of introductions to 26 courses.
It was quite an exercise logistically, to arrange filming throughout the year, and although most sessions went very smoothly, there were a few minor problems. Nonetheless we are happy with the results and hope the students who are fortunate enough to be studying courses which have been covered by the vidcasts, find them useful. Endeavours will be made next year to produce more of these.
We caught up with Adam Neale of Bold Content Video Production.
Adam, how did the company get set up and what are your connections to the University of London?
as a filmmaker and having worked for most of the major UK broadcasters, I believed that I could make a success of a company despite the economic downturn. I saw a gap in the market for the provision of cost-effective video production services. Traditionally, making corporate videos was very expensive as most of the companies were run by ex-BBC employees who were used to comfortable wages. Coupled with the high costs of video equipment the overheads were huge. The key was to find talented staff and to give them the right training to hone their skills so they could work on many different types of projects. Finding the right people was tricky as they needed to be good all-rounders, great with people, enthusiastic to get stuck in, and have a genuine love for what they do but we have now built a strong team of reliable creatives. The cost of video equipment has also dropped dramatically so I launched into the video production sector with a sensible price-structure and never looked back. I initially started working with the Psychology department at the University of London to record various lecturers imparting knowledge aimed at undergraduate distance learning students. I had never studied psychology so I found the filming to be absolutely fascinating (I think that one of the prerequisites of being a filmmaker is to have an inquisitive nature) and despite the London traffic, I looked forward to our weekly visits to Russell Square. We were then introduced to Linda Cox who talked us through her requirements for the Postgraduate Laws LLM course. We have since had an amazing time and met some inspirational lecturers during our time filming the sessions. We are now proud to be working with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and with the Careers Service to be filming a new MOOC.”
“I set up Bold Content in 2011 after having been made redundant from a corporate video production company who were suffering due
How long, on average, did it take you to film one average introduction to the course overall and the individual sections? “It usually takes less than a day to film the five sections and I have to say, all of the lecturers
University of London LLM Newsletter that we’ve worked with so far have been extraordinarily talented orators. The experience of delivering information to a class must be a fantastic preparation for delivering information to a camera, because they have all been above average presenters. In this job I get to point cameras at all sorts of people and some are naturally better at talking on camera than others (personally I’m dreadful so I know their pain)! I was amazed to find that after filming Professor Alastair Hudson (who put in a heroic effort and filmed 8 courses back-to-back) he was still making complete sense after two solid days of filming!” Did any particular vidcasts present problems? “We have encountered a few problems due to filming on location in Russell Square but thankfully all of our subjects have been incredibly patient and very good sports. Because we’re using sensitive microphones we have to stop if there is excessive noise coming from outside the building. Police sirens are a particular bugbear, but you can imagine our amazement when we had to stop one session because a man walked past our fifthfloor office window carrying a lit flamethrower! He proceeded to start noisily melting the new tar covered roofing felt right outside our window. Thankfully when we explained our predicament, he was very accommodating and decamped to another part of the building. Throughout the summer months we carried on filming despite the unusually hot weather. We were able to move to the more temperate conditions of Queen Mary for one session and brought in heavy duty fans and air-conditioning units for others. However poor Professor Amanda Perry-Kessaris had the misfortune of being filmed on a day when Russell Square experienced a power cut. We were able to battery power all of the filming equipment enabling us to carry on but unfortunately the fans and air-conditioning cut out completely leaving Amanda, who had completed half the vidcasts to soldier on stoically in the sweltering conditions.”
Adam: How do you put your subjects at their ease? “Talking to camera can be a daunting prospect but we always find that by explaining that we have plenty of time and we can stop and start whenever you want, puts people at ease. There really is no pressure to perform and once people have covered the initial introduction they always find their rhythm and the self-consciousness goes out of the window. It’s like having a good chat about your specialist subject and we’ve found that most professors don’t want to stop once they’ve started.” The Programme will continue with its vidcasting sessions in 2014. What other plans does Bold Content Video Production have? “We had a hectic end to 2013 when we had to recover from an inconvenient burglary, prepare for an office move, welcome new members of staff and plan a filming trip to the favelas of Brazil. But we’re raring to go for 2014 and are really looking forward to working with new departments within University of London. We also have an exciting TV project, the details of which are being decided as we speak.”
View the vidcasts on www.youtube.com/ LondonLLM
University of London LLM Newsletter Graduate student: Savvas Ioannou
Savvas Ioannou graduated in 2012 with an LLM in Public International Law, after studying International Investment Law, International Refugee Law, International Trade Law and International Law of the Sea. He lives in Cyprus and works at the Ministry of the Interior as an Administrative Officer. His duties include the resolution of citizens’ problems and grievances regarding services that are provided for by the Ministry, as well as by other Departments that the Ministry oversees. He participates in the drafting of various bills and oversees the process through which the bills reach the House of Representatives where they are discussed and eventually voted into laws. Also, through discussions and meetings with citizens, interested groups and associations, he assists in the formulation of policies that improve the quality of public administration, buttress social cohesion and help economic development. Why did you choose the courses you studied: for career development or other reasons?
There, I was primarily responsible for the onboard concession businesses that included casinos, beauty parlours, photo shops, electronic games etc. As my previous education was in business administration, I soon realized that I needed to beef up my legal skills in order to be able to negotiate and apply the numerous contracts that the concession businesses operated under. This is the reason I first registered for courses that would satisfy the requirements for the specialization of “Maritime Law”, which I ended up selecting for my Postgraduate Certificate in Laws.
Due to a change in my employment some time after I started my studies, I then pursued classes that were more closely related to my new work duties and thus I was able to complete a Postgraduate Diploma in International Dispute Resolution and eventually an LLM as specified above.
“I soon realized that I needed to beef up my legal skills in order to be able to negotiate and apply the numerous contracts that the concession businesses operated under.”
“When I first registered with Postgraduate Laws Programme, I was working in a completely different industry, being employed by a cruise ship company. Page 17
University of London LLM Newsletter My decision to choose the courses I did was influenced by my job characteristics and my belief that a law degree would not only improve the way I performed my work, but also greatly enhance my chances for career development. I knew I needed to find a program that would offer quality education and at the same time provide me with the required flexibility so that I could juggle my studies with work and family responsibilities. The University of London International Programmes offered all these and much more!
various issues was also a great facility for students who opted to study under this method, since at some point everyone was bound to feel the need to exchange some views, ideas or frustrations with someone else.
Also of great importance for me was the quality of the staff of the Programme whose responsiveness and knowledge of the issues made my studies much easier. A special “thank you” is owed to Linda Cox with whom I exchanged countless emails on such diverse issues as choice of modules, exam issues, tuition, resit options, not to mention “comparative notes” on my My studies in law have greatly helped in my career, newly-born son and Linda’s grandson, both of whom especially as I did not have an educational background were born around the same time!” in law. This enabled me to grasp the basic legal ideas of public international law, learn how to conduct legal research, be informed of the various legal systems and What did you particularly appreciate about the organized bodies that serve justice internationally, etc. flexibility of the Programme? - skills that are crucial for my work. Unfortunately, my career will not be affected, at least for a while, by my degree because a promotion and salary freeze has been imposed on all government employees for the “The flexibility of the Programme to plan when to next few years, due to the dire financial condition my register and take exams was particularly helpful country finds itself into at this time. This has been because it enabled me to increase my load when work exacerbated by the financial events that occurred last and family responsibilities enabled me to do so, while March, as a result of Eurogroup’s decision to enforce I could easily postpone taking an exam if things had a “bail-in” on bank deposits. Thus career-wise this not been particularly conducive to studying, during the period preceding an exam diet. Also, being able decade is expected to be a “lost” decade.” to take an exam twice a year provided a valuable opportunity to plan my studies and exams either annually or semi-annually, and if circumstances called for a sudden change in plans, I was still able to show some progress towards achieving my goal, every single year.”
Ministry of the Interior
What did you like most about studying with the Postgraduate Laws Programme?
My studies in law have greatly helped in my career, especially as I did not have an educational background in law.
“As I mentioned above, the flexibility and the Did you ever feel like giving up? impeccable organization of the Programme were its great strengths and I would recommend it to anyone. The online platform on which students could discuss “Giving up had certainly passed by my mind at the beginning due to the great differences between the Page 18
University of London LLM Newsletter UOL study method and the traditional lecture method under which I had previously studied. As a result, I took time out right after my first exam to think of what I should do. I finally decided to pursue the Postgraduate Certificate I initially registered for, and then take it from there. I soon got used to independent study and consequently I pursued the Postgraduate Diploma and then the LLM. The ability to follow such a piecemeal strategy was very helpful because it enabled me to compartmentalize my goals and pursue them with success. Honestly, I do not know if I would have persevered if my initial goal had been to acquire the LLM.
It was also frustrating that the greatest part of my annual leave from work was spent studying for the UOL exams for a number of years. Colleagues would be surprised that I would take off from work in May and October when the great majority would do so in July and August and head for a Greek island or a resort. This, as well as the great sacrifice imposed on my wife of lost companionship or outings during those days and nights I spent studying, made me at times to think of giving up or stopping once a goal was achieved. However, my wife was very supportive of my efforts and this is a great opportunity to say a big ‘thank you’ to her.”
What of your future career plans? “As I mentioned above, the situation here has changed
drastically for the worse since I first started my studies. All public employees have had to deal with pay-cuts since 2011, and a freeze on promotions and salary raises has been imposed until 2016 and most likely for much longer. Things will be stagnant for another 5-6 years.
It is true that good opportunities in public administration exist in the various European Union institutions and agencies, but for the time being I do not plan to seek employment abroad. I just started a family, I want to be able to attend to/visit my elderly parents and any such plans have to be put on hold. “
When your new baby son arrived in the Ioannou household in the middle of your studies, how did you cope?
“It was a life-changing event and I still am amazed by it, as he is growing up. Even though this is really something that you want to occur before or after your studies, you have to be grateful and cope. There is no other way around! During that time, sleep was very limited and my annual leave was used in full as I had to take a more active role in the household, especially during the first few weeks. Frustration ensued due to my naiveté with all things related to newborns, loss of weight etc. Certainly, all these were not factors conducive to studying! I had to somehow utilize every single minute to study: I carried articles to the barbershop, the supermarket and pretty much everywhere I had to queue, and somehow I coped and still managed to pass all exams in the then upcoming exam diet.”
“Hopefully the situation here will improve much sooner and thus I will then be able to capitalize on my hard-won University of London law degree.”
University of London LLM Newsletter
Current student: Soha Ragab Soha Ragab is a Postgraduate Laws student studying courses within the banking and finance law specialization group. She completed her Postgraduate Certificate specializing in Corporate & Securities Law with Distinction in December 2012 and a Postgraduate Diploma, Law specializing in Financial Services Law with Merit in August 2013, having completed courses in Securities Law, Law of Financial Crime and Commercial Banking Law. Soha grew up in the United Arab Emirates where she attended the American University of Sharjah where she studied Management Information System, before switching her focus to Finance and graduating with a Magnum Cum Laude honors. A few years later, in 2008 she received the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)ÂŽ designation, a most prestigious and highly-recognised qualification in the field of finance and investments worldwide.
Soha began her career as a researcher at Zawya.com, a prominent business information portal in the Middle East region. She then moved to the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre and worked on several strategic initiatives aimed at building and developing the market infrastructure for the precious metals industry in Dubai, including, being a member of the team that established the Dubai Gold & Commodities Exchange, the first commodities and derivatives trading platform in the region. She holds the position of Senior Financial Analyst at the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority, the government regulator of capital markets in the UAE, and has also been teaching courses in finance as a part time job and hobby.
She also currently serves as the Vice President of the local society of the CFA Institute, a volunteer role in which she works on furthering the interests of members and charterholders, the local investment profession and the investing public at large, as well as promoting ethical and professional standards within the investment industry
and encouraging professional development through organizing education events, and working closely with local regulators.
We asked Soha why she decided to study Law with the University of London International Programmes.
â€œWhen I first started my current an important part of my role was to study and analyse laws and regulations governing financial markets worldwide and to benchmark the local regulations to such best international practices. Another important part of my job is to look in detail into the financial statements of publicly listed companies and check for the presence of any discrepancies either with reporting quality of the company or with its financial condition, aiming to protect the unsuspecting investor and the economy against such risks. When I joined my job, it was almost 3 years after the onset of the infamous global financial crisis that hit financial markets all over the world and shook everyoneâ€™s confidence in the credibility of the investment profession and the soundness of financial markets. Hence sound regulation has become crucial, with Regulators, academics, lawyers and practitioners all playing very important roles in developing the necessary reforms to these regulations. My interest in this area encouraged me to study for a postgraduate degree in law, deciding to underpin my developing practical experience with solid academic knowledge, while capitalizing on my background in
University of London LLM Newsletter finance and investments. I had already decided the University of London International Programmes LLM degree would suit me, and coincidentally I met the Director of the Programme, Dr James Busuttil while he was delivering a presentation in Malaysia and that made my mind up. I particularly appreciated the availability of the specialization I was looking for (namely financial services law), the flexibility of the program, the reputation of the university and its ranking amongst the top law schools around the world.”
Have you come across many particular obstacles in establishing your career, as a female, and do career opportunities exist for women in the UAE?
“The courses that I have studied so far have given me tremendous insight into the academic and practical aspects of international law governing financial markets, which I found to be immediately applicable in my day-to-day job and have significantly enhanced my knowledge, skills and competencies, allowing me to add a lot more value to my post. The study of law itself gives you a lot more than just the technical knowledge: it gives you a whole new view of the world, making you better comprehens public affairs, appreciate social values and prmotes your absility for critical reasoning and for the skillful use of language and argument to express your ideas and thoughts. I happen to believe that the study of law should be part of every school curriculum.
The UAE, as a fast-growing country with visionary leadership has been very keen on offering women equal opportunities for education and career growth. Consequently gender issues have never been a problem for me and the only standards that seemed to have mattered to the employers that I have worked for were technical and interpersonal skills and qualifications (both academic and professional ones). From what I observe, this has been the trend in many countries in this part of the world as women have also provided positive feedback by proving their outstanding abilities and competences in so many domains -finance, public sector, healthcare, and education - and hold several high ranking positions in the national governments.
Throughout my academic and career years, I have been continuously supported by my family, especially my father, my instructors, and employers to pursue every possible opportunity for personal and professional growth and development and have been rewarded for my achievements through academic scholarships, job promotion, pay incentives and moral recognition.”
“The UAE as a fast-growing country with visionary leadership has been very keen on offering women equal opportunities for education and career growth.” Do you find it beneficial being able to fit your studying in with your work, and taking exams when you wish? What problems have you encountered so far, and overcome?
“Studying while having a full-time career is a big challenge but it is, at the same time, a great opportunity. The biggest challenge of a distance learning program is that it teaches you how to be organized and disciplined, and how to manage your time efficiently. And the rewards are truly worthwhile once you have accomplished your goals.
University of London LLM Newsletter It does get difficult sometimes, especially when the stress of work increases or sudden unexpected events come your way at work or in the family, but you have to constantly keep your goal in mind, persevere and stay on the path that leads you to your goal.
I think it is easy to lose focus and enthusiasm and to get overwhelmed with the many balls you’re juggling and it is tempting to quit, but setbacks are temporary, and you need to be really strong and determined. One of the things I did was to print pictures of last year’s University of London Graduation Ceremony, which I hung on the wall in front of me, next to a piece of paper on which I had written my name with the letters “LLM” next to it. Literally having my goal “in front of my eyes” day in and day out, helped remind me of my goal and kept my motivation high. The most difficult decision is having to limit social and family time. Not all people around you would understand, but letting them know how important these studies are for you and the timeframe you have set for yourself to complete your degree is essential.
“It does get difficult sometimes, especially when the stress of work increases or sudden unexpected events come your way at work or in the family, but you have to constantly keep your goal in mind, persevere and stay on the path that leads you to your goal.” The flexibility that the University of London International Programmes offers is invaluable. Having up to 5 years to complete your degree allows the student to take exams at their own pace and easily fit studying into the busiest of life schedule without having to compromise on having a healthy balanced life, so no excuses to those who say we don’t have the time or the energy!”
Do you take advantage of the VLE, the library databases, discussion forums?
“I find the VLE resources to be very useful, and the student discussion forums are indeed very helpful in discussing some common concerns and sharing ideas on the course choices and course materials. The study guides and the online library are perhaps in my view the most valuable resources. They are a goldmine of knowledge at the student’s fingertips. I have referred several times to study guides of courses that I have not registered for and don’t even plan to take just to gain insights and acquire some knowledge into topics that are of interest to me or ones that could help me in my work, and I actually find it a pity that the program limits the student to just 16 modules as I would have loved to do more.
A word of praise here is well-deserved for Professor Alastair Hudson (who authored the study guides and books for Securities and Law of Financial Crime) whom I hope I can meet in person some day as I have come to admire his teaching style and passion for the teaching of law. The resources and material that he provides to the students through his own website and his youtube channel are just amazing. I have probably listened to all the podcasts that he has posted that relate to the courses I have taken and have attempted all the sample exam questions and seminar questions he posted from his seminars and read all the course notes that he has put up. He also provides some great handy tips on studying and taking exams which (in addition to the very useful Study Skills Handbook which is provided to the students on the VLE) have helped me tremendously.”
How do you allocate your study time? Do you have a special routine? Any tips for other students re: studying or revising?
“I make it a point to start studying very early (at least 4-5 months before the exam sessions) and allocate regular slots of time every week to study. My routine is to first to would create a detailed study schedule at the beginning of the year reviewing my time and
University of London LLM Newsletter study needs carefully, based on the amount of reading needed for each course, and the time required for practicing exams and revision. I try and read every day even if it is just a few pages - the key is to keep the momentum going. You need to take it easy at the beginning, start slow, familiarize yourself with the material, and you will gradually find yourself picking up speed and the material becomes a lot easier to handle and to comprehend. I would do an average total of 6 hours during weekdays and 8-10 hours on weekends. I increase the number of hours of study to 30 during the month preceding the exams and I allocate that last month to doing a second and final review. I never review the material just once; it is important to go over the material at least twice, even better thrice if time allows, so it gets stored in my long-term memory and my studying becomes a true knowledge-acquisition exercise rather than just studying for the purpose of passing the exams. For me, this adds a lot of pleasure and meaning to the study experience.
“I try and read every day even if it is just a few pages - the key is to keep the momentum going.” I also take a break from work 10 to 15 days before the exams so that I can completely switch off and focus solely on preparing for the exam - doing an average of 10 hours a day. I try though to maintain a healthy lifestyle: diet, sufficient sleep and exercise and I reward myself regularly with nice breaks or treat such as a night out with friends, or a nice relaxing walk. A useful trick I have found useful is to change my dedicated place for studying, taking my books to a nice nearby café or park.
I think that one of the most important skills a postgraduate student should and will develop is reading skills and the two most important tips are:
(1) never start reading at page 1 (always start with the summary or conclusion) and: (2) don’t read everything” (read with a purpose, a preset question or problem you are trying to find an answer for, and be selective as to what is truly important and relevant to your quest).”
“Another tip is to practice solving past exam questions you may think you have understood something, until you are asked to explain it in words!” Finally Soha, what do you hope to have achieved in 5 years’ time?
“I plan to go back to academia, where I hope to carry out research, teach and share knowledge, and obtain a PhD degree. “
University of London LLM Newsletter
Call for current student profiles Would you like to be featured in a forthcoming edition of the newsletter? We are currently accepting students to be profiled, to provide other students with an insight into your interesting and varied backgrounds. Please email us at email@example.com if you are interested in taking part. Contact Us We welcome your feedback and comments on the newsletter. Please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial: Linda Cox Design: Linda Cox Contributors: Linda Cox Published by Queen Mary University of London and University College London (the Lead Colleges). ÂŠ Copyright Queen Mary University of London and University College London 2014