To emphasize a learner-based approach for setting up the curriculum (Intellectual Output 1) was a strong focus of the DDM4SME team on national and international focus groups. By interviewing these groups the team was able to visualize the opinion of potential students and employers about the project and what aspects of technical, legal and business-related content they see as most relevant for the planned LL.M program.
Between April 16th and Mai 26th 2021 national focus group interviews were carried out by each partner university. The evaluation of these showed that both groups, students and employers/experts, have a strong interest on legal espects, including Copyright and Data Protection Law which also resulted from the fact that most potential students have a law-based background. Whereas the side of the employers was supporting a strong practical teaching approach, potential students asked for a solid legal basis prior to e.g. case studies. Both sides underlined the importance of the social element during a study program and the need for networking opportunities. As a result, remote-learning opportunities were appreciated but only to an extent that face-to-face teaching still takes up half of the time.
In a next step, the aggregated results of the national interviews were taken to set up a framework for the international expert focus group interview. One of the major points of discussion was the possibility to access the LL.M also for students without any legal background. On the one hand it was stated that it would support interactivity during the courses as students with different backgrounds may enrich the discussion of data-business related questions. On the other hand, due to missing (fundamental) legal knowledge would be hard for the respective participants to follow through some main parts of the course. All interview partners had in common, that they emphasized the importance of contract law in general and that IP law should be taught to the same extent as modern IT law.
It is fair to say, that the interviews helped the team a lot to deliver a curriculum that would address the needs of legal education on data economy law.