UTS Subject Review: 76052 Resolving Disputes

I did Resolving Disputes (76052) this Spring 2009 semester.

Learning Structure: 3/5

2 hour lectures/seminars per week and a 2-day weekend workshop (9.30am-5.30pm).

The 2 hour seminars can either go really fast or slowly. For the 1st half of the semester, there’s some discussion of theory and practical exercises, which are quite fun. However, the 2nd half of the semester is JUST presentations. You have 3-4 presentations which take up the entire 2 hour seminar – sadly, this is quite boring and it’s sometimes hard to see how the seminar topics fit together. But in a way, the topics are so diverse that you get a really BIG picture of ADR processes. What you learn in the presentations (though basic) can be quite useful practically though – you look at ADR in family law, tribunals/commissions, industry specific ADR, restorative justice and commercial DR.

The 2-day weekend work shop is a lot of fun! Aside from having to come in on a weekend from 9-5pm, you actually do a lot of practical exercises – a negotiation, mediation, communication skills, team mediation, personality tests etc. The work shop is really interesting because the practical activities actually reveal a lot about your friends and classmates. For example, you get to see how some people can be VERY aggressive/demanding in negotiations, which is quite funny if you’ve never really heard them speak up in class and all. There are some boring parts with theory and watching a video but otherwise it’s a fun weekend – and at the end, you’ll be closer to some people and won’t be able to stand others!

Staff: 3/5

The 1 lecturer/tutor (Marilyn Scott) is a senior lecturer at UTS, so she’s quite experienced at teaching this subject. She’s an approachable lecturer and quite enthusiastic about ADR. However, she is not an easy marker. She’s unlikely to fail you, but she does expect a high standard since she’s been teaching the subject for quite a while. For example, the criteria for the Seminar Presentations is quite high and she won’t give you a Distinction easily.

Amount of Readings: 5/5

  • Set Textbook: Fisher R, Ury W & Patton B, GETTING TO YES: NEGOTIATING AN AGREEMENT WITHOUT GIVING IN, Random Century Limited, 2nd ed, 1999

There’s pretty much NO readings in this subject. You can read the Getting to Yes book, but it’s not necessary at all. The lecturer also gives you some handout readings which cover theoretical ideas in ADR, but you can/not read them.

Assessments: 3/5

  • Workshop Personal Report (10%): this is an easy 500 words reflection about your learning experience – what surprised you or interested you, whether the workshop exercises worked for you etc.
  • Seminar Presentation (20%): there’s actually a whole checklist in the marking criteria for this, so you should put quite a bit of effort into this.
  • Research Paper (50%): 3000 word research essay – you get to pick 1 out of 3 questions. Pretty standard assignment type.
  • Advice on DR Processes (20%): this is quite a fun assignment – you have to design a user-friendly guide/tool to help lawyers determine which DR process suits your client’s needs! It actually turned out to be a LOT of work though.

There is NO exam! However, it is annoying that (for uni policy reasons) you don’t get your Research Paper or Advice on DR Processes back until next semester. So basically, you have no idea what mark you got for those assignments (70% total) until you find out your general mark when the semester results come out.

Also there is not much in the way of useful/constructive feedback for the assignments. You basically just get a tick-box marking sheet and 1 sentence of comments. It’s a bit disappointing after you write a 3000 word essay and put a lot of work into your advice, but it’s understandable given that there are 40 students (x 3000 words) and only 1 lecturer.

Cons of this Subject:

  • The 2nd half of the semester seminars is JUST presentations – pretty boring.
  • You have to attend a weekend workshop (9-5pm both days).
  • The 4 assignments require quite a lot of work.
  • You don’t really receive much (/any) feedback for your major assignments and you don’t find out your marks until the uni releases your final marks.

5 comments for “UTS Subject Review: 76052 Resolving Disputes

  1. Lauren
    July 6, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks for posting this, it’s very interesting!
    Just a quick question, why did you choose UTS for law?

    • tutortales
      July 6, 2010 at 2:35 pm

      No problem. Hmm why UTS? Lol, I managed to make the UAI (or now ATAR) cut off, my sister was also studying there, 2nd most convenient uni to get to from where I live (Mq being the 1st most convenient), and that it includes the Practical Legal Training component in the degree, so that I don’t have to do College of Law after I graduate.

      Are you currently doing Law at UTS, or thinking about it?


  2. Lauren
    July 9, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Thanks for the reply! Yeah, I’m thinking about it. Macq is the most convenient for me too, but it doesn’t have the PLT component in the degree. But apparently they post lectures online at Macq which might be helpful. I’m not sure. It’s hard to find out about the differences between the courses/universities, particularly about lecturers etc. So thank you very much for the subject reviews – they are helpful in getting a feel for the course!

    • tutortales
      July 9, 2010 at 7:00 pm

      No problem! I think only UWS and UTS includes the PLT in the degree. The advantages are that you get admitted earlier (no need for College of Law) and it’s cheaper (since it’s part of your law degree). The disadvantage is that, well at UTS, you only get to do 3 electives (this is combined Law) because of the PLT subjects, whereas other unis get to do almost 8 electives I think (since they don’t have the PLT subjects IN their degree). BUT at UTS, you get the CHOICE of whether you want to do it either way! So you can choose to do PLT in your degree – or choose not to (and get more law electives) and do College of Law later. So it accommodates for both.

      Don’t worry about the post lectures online thing – this occurs at most universities now I believe. At UTS, all lectures are sound-recorded and posted online. But I go to them anyway, for the social aspect of seeing your friends etc, its more interesting than sitting at home, and I usually have a compulsory attendance tutorial following the lecture anyway.


  3. Lauren
    July 10, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Thank you so much for your inside info!

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