Massive, Free Online Classes Catch on With Law Schools

, The National Law Journal


Massive open online courses—or MOOCs—are all the rage in higher education. But law schools are only starting to test the waters with these free, Internet-based classes that can reach thousands of students around the globe.

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What's being said

  • Michele Pistone

    Hats off to Karen for this terrific article that gets law professors thinking about how we can begin to use technology in our teaching. I think that online technologies can play a big role in the future of legal education. In addition to MOOCs, in which the course is taught entirely online, we can also begin to adapt blended or flipped learning techniques in our teaching. Flipped learning blends online with in-class activities and is being used in many different educational settings. I am currently working with a group of law professors to begin to develop an online library of short videos on substantive areas of law, procedure, and practical lawyering skills. The videos can be assigned as homework to supplement and explain the readings. Having done the readings and watched the videos out of class, students can then come to class ready to engage in activities that reinforce the knowledge they learned on video, through Socratic dialogue, role plays, simulations, and small group work.

    I see flipped learning as a way to bring additional training in practical lawyering skills and professional values into each course; by freeing up classtime that would otherwise be filled with lecture, we can bring more active learning into each course. It is also a way to bring new perspectives into a course, by assigning videos produced by other professors we can share new perspectives with our students. And flipped learning is consistent with current ABA standards, which allow up to 1/3 of each course (including 1L courses) to be taught online.

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