NBC Learn Higher Ed Subscriber Spotlight: Bringing the Theoretical to Life

Posted on 12/07/2016 02:04 PM

“It’s not just knowing the law, but applying it to a real world situation.”

That’s according to Stephen Yoder, an Assistant Professor and Executive in Residence at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business. This former corporate lawyer, who practiced law for over 25 years, has spent the past decade trying to bridge the gap between a theoretical discussion of law and demonstrating its practical application to his students.

Whether it’s in his General Survey in Business Law class, a requirement for all business majors, or his specialized Employment Law class, Yoder feels there is no better way to showcase the real impact of law than through the eyes of everyday people. For the past 7 years, he has relied on NBC Learn resources to help tell these stories. 

“Asking the students to only read the textbook is boring, and it doesn’t keep them engaged. For every topic, I will always try to find a short video,” said Yoder. “I like the idea of showing them that this was the news of the day.”

Yoder often uses NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams’ coverage of various Supreme Court decisions, like the High Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act or the overturned ban on same sex marriages. Beyond those landmark decisions, Yoder also appreciates the in-depth coverage of more nuanced issues, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.   

Yoder teaches both of his classes in a traditional face-to-face format and also in an online format, using the Canvas learning management system.  He loves the fact that NBC Learn videos embed seamlessly into Canvas and that they all include closed captions and a fully proofed transcript.

“We have to make everything universally designed,” said Yoder. His courses need to be accessible to students no matter how they access the material and the unique features of the CueCard player help accomplish this goal. 

For Yoder, NBC Learn’s videos also provide the ideal opportunity to reinforce all of the topics that he covers during his lectures and offer a unique chance to assess his students’ practical understanding of the law.

“I don’t think that anyone of us learns by hearing it one time. I use [the videos] as an illustration. I will specifically make the video the subject of a test question. I tell them in advance, this could be on the exam, so you better watch it.”

Between using videos during instruction and referencing back to them on exams, Stephen Yoder is bringing the theoretical to life for his students with NBC Learn resources.

“My approach about teaching business law, it is all about the application.”

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