OUTCOMES AND ANALYSIS
Students’ performance on the final evaluation showed that they reflected quite seriously about the inadequacy of criminal law to deal with domestic violence. Most focused their analysis on the postintervention approach of criminal law, its punitive nature, and its rigidity and formalities to deal with a very sensitive and complex social issue. All students were able to identify the role of popular culture and the increasing societal reliance on criminal law to deal with abuse and violence against women and childr en.
The analysis of stirdents’ evaluations and performances throughout the course clearly indicates that practically every single student has achieved instances of deep learning. This is evidenced by the high quality of the teaching and learning activities that included the analysis of challenging issues of violence against women and children as well as the production of media texts on these issues that were evaluated following John Biggs’ SOLO taxonomy.
It is not easy to compare the outcomes of a course with those of another course. There are many variables that may influence student learning from one semester to another even when you try to control as many variables as possible. Still, the comparison of the same questionnaire and essay written by students in this course and the ones written by other students who took a similar course that did not include the popular culture aspect shows that stirdents who took the criminal law and popular culture course achieved a deeper understanding of the same topics than stirdents who took a more traditional course.
Students’ perception of their learning—obtained through anonymous end-of-course surveys—was also very favorable. A very strong majority of students agreed and strongly agreed that studying criminal law through popular culture helps understand criminal law. Most also found the popular culture approach to be interesting. A strong majority also found that the course adequately covered all relevant criminal law aspects of domestic violence. Similarly most students felt that they had a good knowledge of criminal law aspects of domestic violence.
The average grade for this course was 80.65. The grade average in a course on criminal law taught the previous semester under the same or similar conditions, except for the popular culture perspective, was 74.81.
The triangulation of these data supports the conclusion that a criminal law course taught through popular culture stories and aimed at fostering the development of media literacy is conducive to the creation of a deep learning environment.
TABLE 8.7 Course Feedback Questions.
■ Strongly agree
■ Question 1
■ Question 2
■ Question 3
■ Question 4
TABLE 8.8 Survey Analysis.
- • Question 1: Studying criminal law through popular culture helps understand criminal law:
- o Strongly agree: 12 (52%)
- o Agree: 11 (48%)
- • Question 2: Studying criminal law through popular culture is interesting.
- o Strongly agree: 5 (22%)
- o Agree: 12 (52%)
- o Neither agree nor disagree: 5 (22%)
- o Disagree: 1 (4%)
- • Question 3: The course adequately covered all relevant criminal law aspects of domestic violence.
- o Strongly agree: 13 (57%)
- o Agree: 8 (35%)
- o Neither agree nor disagree: 2 (8%)
- • Question 4:1 now have a good knowledge of criminal law aspects of domestic violence.
- o Strongly agree: 15 (65%)
- o Agree: 8 (35%)
Teaching a course on criminal law and popular culture can lead to the creation of a deep learning environment when all the elements of the deep learning process are present. These include interesting input popular culture stories that embed a problem, question, or situation for students to grapple with (Bam, 2004) and that create a cognitive conflict while students make connections between the input stories and their existing stories, the use of these popular culture stories as sources for the analysis and discussion of criminal law topics, the promotion of student intrinsic motivation, and the fostering of a wide array of cognitive skills and competences, including rapid cognition, and metacognitive reflection (Hennida, 2015).
Shulman’s five-tiered conception of the teaching process helps examine the development of the course from vision to analysis (Shulman, 2004). The recounted experience focused on abuse and violence against women and children. It aimed to encourage students to question criminal law and its treatment of violence against women and children at the international and national levels. It also aimed to promote the development of media literacy skills, including both the interpretation and production of popular culture stories in the criminal law realm.
Students’ attainment of learning outcomes proved to be of higher quality than the achievement of learning outcomes in a similar course taught without recourse to popular culture stories.
course design promising syllabus SOLO taxonomy teaching process learning outcomes academic writing writing styles literacy levels