View in searchable PDF format: 1981 Spring – Leon Letwin, Evidence Class, Student Evaluations.OCR
Student Evaluation of Leon Letwin
Evidence Materials, Spring 1981
June 8, 1981
As part of the student evaluation of course and instructor
in my Spring ’81 Evidence course,· I asked the students to
comment on the teaching materials. In particular, I asked
a) whether they would have preferred a standard
case book to my materials;
b) that I used more cases in my materials;
. c) more textual, explanatory notes of the kind
now found in·my materials; and
d) more Suggested Solutions to the Problems
Below are all the student comments. Of the 91 students in
the course, 68. responded to my ques.tions about the teaching
I should mention that the student evaluations are prepared
in class in the presence of proctors but in the absence of the
instructor. The answer fopms are strictly anonymous.
·sUnirlla:ry ·o·f ·c·omme!it s .
1) Of the 68 respondents, only 1 stated a preference for a
traditional casebook; all the others preferred, with varying
degrees of enthusiasm, the format I employed.
2) There was little sentiment for more cases.
3) There was very strong sentiment for more textual, explanatory
material of the type now employed.
4) Ther~ was considerable sentiment, but not as much as in
(3), for ·more Suggested Solutions.
1) The material was w~ll received.
2) I need more textual notes and more Suggested Solutions.
(I am now working in both these areas.)
3) While I am very pleased with the student views about my
teaching materials–they tend to be critical and frank in such
evaluations–! think the following caution is in order. These
are materials of my design. By definition, everything is important,
and I know why it’s there. There is, therefore, little
tension between my teaching aims and the material employed. Put
another way, I have none of the discomfort with the material
that can arise when one is using someone else’s book. Being at
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peace with the materials one is using· ought to translate into
a more effective teaching experience for the students. The
fact, however, that the materials work well for me is no proof
that they will work equally well for someone with a different
perspective or different interests than mine. What is hard to
figure out is the degree to which the apparent success of the
materials is a tribute to their quality or simply the result
of the fact that I’m in synch with the format.
· “Student Comments (Verbatim)
(1) Your text is excellent. In my opinion it would be a big
mistake to go to a traditional casebook.
(2) Case v. problem mix is good.
(3) Explanatory notes are also about right.
(4) A few more answers would be desirable.
I can’t understand why you don’t officially publish it and make it
into your own “casebook.” It is. heads and tails above all other
casebooks I have had in this school.
Your materials are much better than a casebook.
Don’t add any more cases.
More explanatory notes would be helpful.
Some more suggested solutions would be helpful.
The text materials are excellent.
Quite a Herculean production to write his·own text. Obviously puts
more effort into teaching than most. Would like to see more
explanatory notes, but the sugg. solutions are just right (don’t
want to answer· ·all Q’ s with the book).
The text was probably the most enjoyable that I’ve had yet in law
school. I like the # of cases included–it leads to more participative
learning. More explanatory notes and suggested solutions would
be nice, mainly because they’re so helpful.
The use of instructor’s “book” is good. HAVE PRACTICAL PROBLEM is
a much better way to learn. But to learn this way it is necessary
that the student pick up all comments that are made in class. If .
the student is unable he is out of luck. I suggest more supplementary
notes as well as suggested answers. This will at least give the
student an alternative method of learning or making up what he missed
I’d like more cases and more explanatory notes. But I like the format.
Thought that the format was very good. Keep the materials; more
interesting than a casebook. Cases, however, were somewhat helpful.
I like this approach to materials–rather than a standard casebook.
Maybe· mo’re explan. notes & sugg’d solutions.
Re. material – I really liked the problem approach. Perhaps a little
more introductory notes would be good.
NO on casebook.
NO on more cases.
YES on more explanatory notes.
YES on more sug. sol.
I don’t think a casebook will do anything more than confuse us. I
don’t think we’d have time for more ·cases. The material seems to be
well-organized–yes, I’d like more suggested solutions. Frankly, I
don’t know how to evaluate this course. I’m studying the course
materials, but wondering if I’m missing something.
Couldn’t be better.
More explanatory notes in book–otherwise it’s good. Questions
should be improved. ·
Should focus more on Fed. Code, less on Calif. in the answers where
codes conflict. Bar tests Fed.
More suggested solutions, more explanatory notes, but definitely
keep the materials–more emphasis earlier on Fed. rules.
Text materials are okay–in general fewer cases and more explanatory
notes would be helpful. Possibly further suggested solutions also.
Would prefer a conventional text.
11 better cross-referencing of CEC to FRE.
As for the materials: They are great as is. I know we don’t need
a casebook. I think tre case level is just about right. The number
of explanatory notes is good. More suggested solutions are not
necessary. Class discussion work is better to answer questions.
Casebook – NO–your materials were excellent.
More Cases – Not particularly.
More Notes – Excellent–add any notes of similar quality.
Solution Sets – Yes–key probs. that reflect how to think about
different probs.–In contrast- see, e.g., § 787() is not
Much prefer this type of book. Cases would add little to my understanding
but keep the ones you have; they’re helpful. Combined with
consist·ent class attendance the notes and suggested solutions· are
more than adequate; if people complain, it’s only because they
haven’t attended class enough. (Although a little explanatory
material where you have almost none & go ·right to questions would
be good unless you expand in that type of chapter in the suggested
Casebook – No. Use yo·uf materials. BUT you must write more careful ·
questions. Some o them are sloppy in their details or
phrasing & obscure the point. Just go through them again.
No more cases – fine as is.
Definitely more explanatory notes, especially on hearsay. Dump Tribt:.
Yes, more suggested solutions. Good course for something like
Evidence & you’re a good man.
The material was ·¥·ood. The problems were very effective, well thought
out–much more ef ective than the cases.
Additional cases and explanatory materials could add more depth to
Re casebook: No. Is not a practical option for a subject like
Re cases: No. Again, cases are not as useful in a subject like
Re Explanatory Notes: Yes, more would be appreciated.
Re Suggested Solutions: Fine as they are.
The problems make the course very interesting. Better not to have
a lot of suggested solutions. Don’t need more explanatory notes.
I like the materials but have nothing to compare them to. I don’t
think more cases are needed in it–Evidence can’t be taught via
cases. More suggested solutions would be good.
I like the class ·materials; my only suggestion would be to expand
the explanatory notes of the statutes. Your class lectures are a
bit too thorough. I would think less time should be spent in hashing
out the rationale, or lack thereof, behind a statutory rule.
I would not want your materials exchanged for a textbook.
A few more-cases would not be a bad idea.
Additional explanatory notes would be great.
Suggested solutions are always helpful.
I ~hink the materials are the best part of the course. Maybe a few
more problems would help. These could have solutions at the end
and could be skipped in class discussion.
It was refreshing not to have to read a lot of cases, though I enjoyed
reading the cases we did. The question & answer format is a useful
learning .tool. A few more answers & explanatory notes toward the
beginning might help. Also, I am troubled by the.apparent gap between
evidence theory & practice. I would like to maybe go to ct. to see
how it really works. Or maybe try out some mock trials in class.
I would· like to see more explanatory notes, more suggested solutions,
less open-ended questions.
The materials should not be .bound in metal–! cut my finger.
More textual material in the casebook & more solutions would be
Overall, the instructor did a very good job with a subject that has
the potential to be· very dry. The materials, especially, were quite
good. Indeed, these materials were far superior to having a casebook.
A few more explanatory notes would be good, but overall the book
(& the instructor) were quite commendable.
1) No need for casebook. 2) Case load is fine. As long as concepts
are understood & applicable no need to see examples. 3) More
explanatory notes would help problems. 4) More solutions–as materials
(1) Casebook? No, the materials used are fine.
(2) More cases? No, the right amount.
(3) More explanatory notes? Sure–explanations are always helpful.
(4) More suggested solutions? No strong feeling one way or the other.
I would like to see additional problems in the back of the book for .
use by the student to master the material, particularly for finals.
Like the problems in the text–helpful for grasp of subject–would
like more problems, more commentary, cases adequate, maybe a little
more suggested solutions. Please get this in hardbound sometime.
Regarding the materials: Overall I thought they were very good.
The only thing I would like is more suggested solutions.
The materials are good, but more explanatory comments would be
The materials were basically very good–! would not prefer a
conventional casebook–in fact, the cases which were used were less
helpful than the explanations and problems. More suggested solutions
would be helpful, especially for the latter part of the course
when time constraints forced us to either skip discussion of some
questions without suggested solutions or to discuss them only
I liked material in “casebook.” Should put less cases into “Hearsay
& Cons t’ 1 Connection” chap·ter.
I liked the materials. As I noted above the problem analysis approacn
worked well. Consequently I wouldn’t want more cases. Explanatory
notes might be helpful although I think you covered most of it in
class. Suggested solutions are necessary only if you don’t go to
Casebook good. More explanatory notes for direction. Possibly more
solutions–more than just a reference to a statute.
They talk about Lopez & Yeazell being biggies in the classroom, but
this guy is one of the finest classroom performers in the place.
I enjoyed the materials–they were efficient way of getting issues
out & discussed effectively.
Casebook – no.
More cases – no.·
More explanatory notes – yes.
More suggested solutions – no. } The teaching materials are
already an improvement over
typical casebook approach
in my opinion.
Casebook? No–the materials were great, enough cases.
More explanations and questions answered would be helpful.
Like· problem approach. More explanations and solutions would be
helpful. Perhaps a comparison w. C/L· would be good where Calif.
differs since Bar Examiners examine on C/L.
Your course materials are good. I like the questions. More answers
would be nice. Explanatory notes are helpful.
(1) Case book? No.
(2) More cases? No.
(3) More explanatory Notes? No.
(4) More suggestive solutions? Yes.
Book was better than a standard textbook–needs more explanatory
I like the case materials P·rof. Letwip. has prepared. More cases
are not necessary or desirable. Nor are more explanatory notes-sufficient
information is obtained from class. However, more
suggested solutions would be helpfui–so we can work on our own
answers at home and while studying for the exam.
(1) Casebook? I don’t think it would help. (2) More cases? I
don’t think this would help either. (3) More explanatory notes?
Yes–specifically, why not require us to get the commentary on
the FRE–the Calif. explanations are sometimes not clear–another
viewpoint helps–especially since the FRE is on the bar. (4) Sug.
solutions? No–would discourage attendance.
More explanatory notes would be helpful. At times when problems
are discussed in class I am left not knowing which analysis would
probably prevail–thfs would be helpful.
The materials were a much more effective teaching tool than a
case book. Hate cases. A problem approach is better–more sample
test questions would be helpful as would more explanatory notes.
I like this format very much. More explanations would be desirable
as well as more solutions.
Casebook would be worse, fewer cases desired, more explanatory
notes needed, also more suggested solutions would be desirable.
Put more explanatory notes in the present text & keep it.
More explanatory notes and more suggested solutions.
No case book–more sug. soln’s.
I was very satisfied with the text. I wo.uld have liked more
textual explanatory material than was-presented. Sample problems
were very good.
No conventional textbook; the material we used O.K. but could use
more explanatory notes.
Materials: I found the materials very helpful and prefer them to
the casebook method. More explanatory notes & suggested solutions
More explanatory notes.
More suggested solutions.
The materials are great!~ More explanatory notes would help–the
more the merrier. Suggested solutions ~ I’d like more, but then
people.might_not come to class; also might detract from class discussion
because people wouldn’t bother to think up alternate/novel
Materials are generally good–we need fewer cases and more explanatory
Letwin’s “text” was very enjoyable. I think the cases that are in
there are good–perhaps a couple more Calif. cases would be good.
A few areas could use more explanatory material.