Dr Alison Lui

School of Law

Teaching technology, AI and the Law through COIL

The financial crisis of 2007-2009 called for greater regulation and governance measures of banks. Financial technology is one way of reducing compliance costs and improving efficiency. Since 2017, I have researched on FinTech, the ethical and legal aspects of artificial intelligence. I have since published articles and co-edited a book on FinTech, AI and the Law.

I have fed my research into teaching in various UG and PG Law modules. However, I have also taught students at partner universities about the topic through COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning). Between 2020-2022, I have led several successful COIL projects where LJMU students shared teaching and learning experiences with international partners.

Specific project work

The first COIL project that I led is with Verona University, Italy. It is one of our Erasmus partners in the Law School. We have an active student exchange scheme with them.

The project involved PhD students in the Law School and Verona University’s PhD students. I provided two online lectures via Zoom on Ethical and legal aspects of AI in the financial sector. Although most of the students did not have any prior knowledge or background in AI, we had good discussions in both sessions.

Active engagement when teaching online is not easy, so I used several interactive methods such as online polls, breakout rooms, visual aids such as videos to engage the students. Despite the lack of in-person interaction and the Italian students learning in English, there was hardly any language barrier. Communication in the breakout groups was good. This was very encouraging, since communicating online requires different skills to in person communication.

A few months later, I had another successful COIL project on the theme of ‘The Impact of Digital Technology in the Workplace’ with Athena School of Management, India. This was a four-week project with PG students at Athena School. It involved joint teaching and learning, as well as an unassessed group presentation for the students.

Impact on curriculum

I have embedded COIL into my UG Employment Law module since 2020 and taught the topic of The Impact of Digital Technology (which includes AI) in the Workplace. I also introduced FinTech, AI and the law sessions in the UG Banking and Financial Services Regulation module.

At a larger scale, I am leading the embedding of COIL in the curriculum of the Faculty of Business and Law. The Faculty is very keen to see that all students have an international experience during their studies. I have started discussions with programme leaders, subject leaders and Directors to implement COIL into the curriculum.

I have also involved a growing team of staff in COIL projects. This includes projects with Athena School of Management, India; Durban University of Technology, South Africa; Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU), USA and YPC College, Malaysia. The projects are predominantly voluntary, extra-curricular based apart from the Athena-LJMU collaboration 2022 and DUT-LJMU collaboration, which is embedded in a level 6 Business School module and level 6 Employment Law module.

COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) is an effective pedagogical method of developing students’ intercultural awareness and global citizenship skills. Students learnt about UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as SGD 8 Decent work and economic growth; SDG 11 Sustainable cities and communities and SDG 13 Climate Change. It was important to link the SDGs to the learning objectives of the curriculum so that students understand why they are learning about them.

Broader change

COIL improves students’ global citizenship, communication and digital technology skills. Student feedback from the Athena-LJMU COIL project on The Impact of Digital Technology in the Workplace is enclosed below. It is evident that COIL has enhanced the student learning experience.

Emin Karakus, a LL.M Qualifying Law student commented on his experience: “It was an outstanding project to be involved in. It was my first online project and I would like to participate in that kind of project again to broaden my knowledge and skills in terms of collaboration.”

Millie Tang, a Level 6 BA (Hons) Human Resources Management Student said: “I enjoyed this project very much, I got to meet different people, learn about other cultures and work ethics and most importantly meet some great people. It was a project that took me out of my comfort zone at first, but within the first meeting, my group had a warm and welcoming atmosphere and we got along very well. It was an insightful and interesting experience and I would do it again!”

Elle Maguire, another Level 6 BA (Hons) Human Resources Management Student, enjoyed the teamwork: “I have gained a deeper understanding of what it means to work as a team. I am a big believer that every experience makes you grow. The COIL project helped me grow both professionally and as a person.”

Dhruv Rana, a PG Management student from Athena commented; “I got to learn a lot from the experiences of the learned faculties and professors each week. The topic itself was quite challenging but easy to approach.”