Since 2004, I have taught a seminar on legal issues related to suburban sprawl – first at Southern Illinois University College of Law in Carbondale, Illinois, and more recently at Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, Florida. The purpose of the seminar is to inform the students about legal rules that encourage sprawl, and to discuss whether and how those rules should be altered.

At Southern Illinois, I focused on the traditional legal skills of reading and writing. My students read cases, statutes, and policy-related scholarship, and wrote a midterm exam and a research paper on what they had learned. At Florida Coastal, I have tried to add some alternative learning formats – in particular, field trips and guest speakers. This article describes how and why I used each of these techniques.