In this sixth episode of Star Trek Meets e-Discovery Captain Kirk is ordered to take a test on the Sedona Principles. It is a follow-up to episode five, where he was ordered to the Planet Sedona for retraining on principle two, the Proportionality Principle. In this new episode Kirk drinks a lot of coffee and crams for the exam, but has trouble understanding principles one and eleven. Fortunately for Jim, the ever loyal Spock helps him out.
Based on Kirk’s final remarks, it looks like the Captain needs to study a bit more to really understand the Sedona Principles. That is the advice Spock gives him. It is good advice because the Principles are probably the most often cited of all e-discovery publications, and, in my opinion, are key to understanding e-discovery today. That is one reason my e-Discovery Team Training program relies heavily on the Sedona Conference ideas and materials. Yes, they are that important. You should get to know all 34 plus Sedona publications. Go to the Sedona website at www.TheSedonaConference.org. A list of the materials available for free download can be found on the publication page for Working Group One on Electronic Document Retention and Production. You should also consider joining The Sedona Conference. They always welcome new members.
Tests and Test Taking
Tests like the one Kirk has been ordered to take in this episode, law school type essay exams, are difficult. Even an experienced e-discovery captain like Kirk needs to put in serious study-time to be sure they pass. Just attending a couple of CLEs won’t do it. In that respect the Starfleet Academy program and tests depicted in these animations are much like the tests I give in my e-Discovery Team Training program. They are hard and follow the traditional law school essay exam approach, where students are given devilish factual hypotheticals and asked to explain what they would do, how they would apply the law to the facts.
This method of essay exam has been used by law schools for hundreds of years. It works. It takes much more time to grade than multiple choice types, and it also takes an experienced professor to do it right. But it is designed to reward good analysis and writing, not just good test taking and memorization. I experimented with multiple choice exams in my e-discovery classes at the University of Florida, and ended up going back to pure essay. I found that the multiple choice questions themselves, and various possible answers, ended up being too tricky and subject to interpretation. It seemed to reward the good test-takers, which were not necessarily the ones with the best understanding of the materials I was trying to teach. On the other hand, with essay exams, by the time I read a student’s three thousand word essay, I had a pretty good view of their level of understanding.
The Sedona Principles
The animated episode six below quotes principles one and eleven in full, but for more information on the Sedona Principles, go direct to the source at www.TheSedonaConference.org. Also, please note that the commentary provided on these principles in this animation are my own, not official commentary of the Sedona Conference. The fourteen principles with the official commentaries are set forth in the Sedona publication, The Sedona Principles Addressing Electronic Document Production, Second Edition (June, 2007). It is found on the publication page for Working Group One on Electronic Document Retention and Production. You can download it for free. Your crew and clients will be glad you did.
Episode Six – Captain Kirk Studies for a Test on the Sedona Principles