FAQs | On Delivering Electives at NLSIU

Here are some FAQs that will help you gain a better understanding of the electives courses and the process for applying to teach these courses. In addition to the courses taught by our full-time faculty, elective courses at NLSIU are designed to facilitate classroom teaching by visiting faculty, including practitioners with significant experience in the field.

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GENERAL

Who can teach an elective course?

Faculty must invariably possess a graduate and post-graduate degree in law or the Social Sciences. Alternatively, they may have at least 7 years of post-qualification experience in legal practice, or in their area of specialization outside the law depending on the kind of elective you are offering. Faculty who have published widely in their fields of expertise are preferred.

What are the next steps once I submit my application?

All applications to teach electives are evaluated by the Academic Review Committee (ARC) at NLSIU for viability, academic merit and professional utility of the proposed course. We try to offer a range of courses in any given term, to give students the choice to further areas of interest. The selection process is competitive and the Committee shortlists a limited number of courses to be offered to students. In a small number of cases, the ARC may wish to discuss suggestions or comments on your course plan, including the mode of evaluation or curriculum design. In general, we provide faculty teaching elective courses assistance in curriculum design, to tailor their experience to pedagogical methods.

Students are offered this set of shortlisted courses prior to the start of the trimester, and course allocation is completed based on student preference and seat availability. An elective course usually has between 10-30 students.

When will I know if my course has been selected for the term? And when will the timetable be finalised?

We expect to complete course allocation no later than 2 weeks before the start of the trimester. If your course is part of the final allocation, we will confirm your appointment as visiting faculty in writing. Simultaneously, the team from the Academic Administration Department will reach out to confirm your preferred dates and time as they plan the timetable.

What is the course outline that I need to submit?

We evaluate your proposal based on the course outline. The outline should cover your objectives, the course layout (including a week-wise lesson plan and readings list), pedagogical methods and overall approach to the course. The outline has to be submitted in our prescribed template, which can be accessed here (for full term elective course and for intensive elective course). The template also assists practitioners to think through the curriculum design and pedagogical methods.

Will I have to be on campus for the classes?

Elective courses are delivered in hybrid mode. Hybrid mode means that most of the classes were conducted online. However, Full Time Elective Faculty as well as Intensive Elective Faculty need to be present on the campus to interact with students for a minimum of five consecutive days during the term.

Is this a paid engagement?

Yes, we pay an honorarium to the visiting faculty. The University will support travel and accommodation for the faculty and necessary arrangements shall be made after mutual discussion.

How much time do I need to commit?

The course requires 40 hours of classroom engagement, and from our experience, preparing for class, informal interaction outside class, oral examinations and evaluations takes approximately 40-50 hours on top of this. This time can vary a fair bit depending on your prior experience, pedagogical methods and evaluation methods. You will have flexibility in scheduling your interactions over the course of the trimester. If your proposal includes fieldwork, this number may increase. Do budget in time for your commute to campus too. Lastly, some new teachers have found that they have underestimated the time it takes to check answer sheets!

Does an elective course have to be related to the law?

The University seeks to introduce students to law and its intersection with other disciplines – literature, philosophy, economics, sociology, political science, and history, among others. Therefore, based on relevance and potential student-interest, the Academic Review Committee (ARC) does approve inter-disciplinary elective courses beyond the field of law. For example, the ARC has approved in the past courses as diverse as ‘Political Ideas in the Twentieth Century’ and ‘Culture, Ecology and Politics’ to ‘City Making: Negotiating Built Environments’, ‘Violence and Non-Violence’ and ‘An Introduction to the Political Thought of Shri Aurobindo’.

CLASSES

Who will I be teaching?

The class for an elective course would comprise  10-30 students from the 3rd, 4th and 5th years from the BA LLB (Hons) course and from the one-year LLM course. Selected courses are cross-listed for the Master’s Programme in Public Policy (MPP), in which case the class will also include MPP  students.

I plan to offer a specialised course which requires prior knowledge of the law. Can I restrict my course to final year/ LLM students?

We appreciate that certain courses will develop on a prior course and prerequisites may be relevant for the student to meaningfully participate in your course. We are happy to discuss this while evaluating your proposal. Please indicate your preferences and reasons for restricting the course offer in the ‘Any other information’ section of your course outline.

Can I offer the course to students of the Masters in Public Policy programme?

Owing to the smaller class size and specialist nature, elective courses typically are offered to the senior BA LLB (Hons) and LLM students. On a case-by-case basis, we may find your proposal a good fit with the MPP programme as well. In that case, we will reach out to you to confirm if you would like to offer the course to students of the Master’s Programme of Public Policy as part of the same class.

SCHEDULES, CO-TEACHING & GUEST LECTURES

I will be teaching alongside my full-time job; is there any flexibility on class timings?

A majority of our visiting faculty teach in conjunction with their full-time work commitments, whether court-based practice or otherwise. Classes are held between 8.50 hours and 19.10 hours on weekdays. Our morning and evening class slots typically allow faculty to fit in other commitments. Alternatively, you can opt to teach in the intensive format, which will require only 2 (two) continuous weeks of full-day commitment.

I can’t take out time over three months for classes. Can I opt for any other schedule?

Yes, you can opt to teach in the intensive format, which will require 2 (two) continuous weeks of full-day commitment. For the forthcoming trimester, the intensive electives fortnight will run from August 22 to September 5, 2022.

Can more than one faculty member co-teach the course?

We recommend that the course is co-taught by no more than 2 faculty members. In exceptional cases, we may allow up to 3 faculty members (visiting or full-time) to co-teach. Each faculty member must independently fulfill the eligibility criteria to teach. Where the course has one or more co-teachers, one faculty member has to teach at least 50% of class hours and anchor the course.

Are guest lectures permitted?

Yes, we welcome you to invite relevant guest lecturers for your course. In the weekly sessions plan, please indicate which classes are proposed to be guest lectures.

EVALUATIONS

Do I have to follow a standard evaluation pattern?

You will be marking the students on 100 marks, divided as follows:

  • Term Paper submission/exam [Faculty may choose to have term paper or an exam or both] – 60 marks;
  • Class participation – 10 marks; and
  • Oral examination – 30 marks

We are open to other methods of evaluation. Please list your proposed evaluation structure in the Course Outline Document, for the prior approval of the Academic Review Committee.

By when do I have to complete evaluations?

You will have to complete your evaluations on the same schedule as the full-time faculty, in order that the results can be prepared in time. Typically, this means you will have 2-3 weeks to complete evaluations after the final exam if you are teaching in the first trimester (July-Sept) or the second trimester (Nov-Jan). If you offer the course in the third trimester (Mar-May), you will have 10 days after the final exam to complete evaluations, to allow for timely computation of year-end results.

Will I receive feedback from students upon completion of the course?

Yes, we open a detailed anonymous feedback form to all students with structured responses to help you evaluate how the course went and improve upon it for the next iteration. You will receive this feedback after the results of all courses of that trimester are released.

MISCELLANEOUS

Can I request for a teaching assistant?

Visiting Faculty cannot engage teaching assistants for their course. But if you would like to have another person on the course, you may consider having a co-faculty.

If I am a full-time faculty member at another University, are there any additional requirements for my proposal?

We do not impose any additional requirements. However, in our past experience, your home institution may have their own housekeeping requirements, e.g. prior notice that you propose to teach at NLSIU as visiting faculty, no-objection certificates. We recommend you check for any such requirements and complete the requirements in parallel with your application to us. We would not be able to accommodate any requests for a change in the course schedule on this account.

Can I offer the same course every year in the same trimester?

Applications to teach are invited every trimester and the Academic Review Committee evaluates all applications in a highly competitive selection. We will not be able to confirm that your elective would be selected for subsequent trimesters. However, there is no restriction on re-applying, and we hope that you use your experience teaching the course to further refine and develop it for later iterations, whether at NLSIU or elsewhere!

Can I get assistance in preparing the curriculum?

Curriculum development is the responsibility of the visiting faculty, but the ARC may offer help on curricular design and pedagogical methods by way of suggestions and comments. You are welcome to reach out to faculty members at NLSIU who work in your area to discuss your course and best ways to structure it. If you are offering the course for the first time, do keep in mind that previous guest visiting faculty have taken 2-3 months to develop a robust curriculum and course outline. The time spent in thinking through your curriculum at this stage will help greatly in avoiding difficulties while teaching the course.