How We Helped Our Reporters Learn to Love Spreadsheets https://open.nytimes.com/how-we-helped-our-reporters-learn-to-love-spreadsheets-adc43a93b919
This is how the NY Times answered the “should reporters learn to code” question. Turns out a little tech fluency goes a long way. There’s something here to emulate in legal education and the practice of law.
Peter Potter, director of publishing strategy for the University Libraries at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, was appointed by the Association of Research Libraries as visiting program officer to advance TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem).
LJ: How does the TOME model work?
Peter Potter: TOME is an initiative to create a system whereby academic books can be made available open access. It’s an attempt to create, from the bottom up, a group of institutions and presses working together to ensure that payment is made on the front end of publication, rather than publishers having to rely on sales income. At the moment we have over 70 participating university presses, [and] 13 participating universities.
The press gets the up-front money. If a press is participating, they’re agreeing to publish this book in an open access format. That doesn’t prevent them from turning around and selling the book, which they can do. If there are print sales or ebook sales that they can generate, they should continue doing that.
Contribution from a university is a minimum of $15,000 per monograph. We figured that after this five-year pilot we would come back and revisit that amount to find out if that is actually enough to make this worthwhile for presses. We understand the $15,000 is less than what it typically costs to produce a monograph—Mellon did a study a few years ago in which they said it’s actually well over $20,000. But the idea is by making a book open access you’re not cutting off sale possibilities. The $15,000 jump-starts the book’s availability, it enables the press to go ahead and publish the book [in print format], and then they will see sales that will supplement that.
One of the things that’s important is that these are university press peer-reviewed books. We want it to be clear to provosts and department heads and deans that these are not second class books—they are books that a university press would have published anyway on the basis of quality. We didn’t want the sales potential of the book to get in the way of that. Sometimes decisions get made for a monograph based upon “we don’t think we can sell enough copies,” and this is a way to try to address that problem on the front end.
Source: Peter Potter on Funding OA Monographs
This approach of essentially paying upfront for the book has worked quite successfully for nearly a decade for CALI eLangdell Press. eLangdell Press books are distributed freely with a Creative Commons license that allows faculty to remix the work to tailor it to their course needs. CALI eLangdell currently offers over 30 casebooks and supplements in over a dozen areas of the law. DUring the Fall 2018 semester eLangdell titles were downloaded over 12,000 times, providing law students with over $1,500,000.00 in value.
This is the first article to provide empirical data on the effectiveness of distance education in law schools since the ABA this summer approved increasing the total number of credits that law students could earn through online classes from 15 to 30. Our data, composed of law student surveys and focus groups, reveal not only the success of distance education in their experience, but also the methods that are most effective for them.
— Dutton, Yvonne and Ryznar, Margaret and Long, Kayleigh, Assessing Online Learning in Law Schools: Students Say Online Classes Deliver (October 1, 2018). Denver University Law Review, Forthcoming; Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Research Paper 2018-13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3242824
This article is important for 2 reasons. First, it provides an excellent survey of the state of online education in American law schools including information on what schools are providing online courses (hint: lots) and how those courses are being taught. Second, it provides solid empirical evidence of the success of online classes in an ABA accredited law school with the course being taught within the scope of the accreditation rules.
This is a must read for law school Deans, faculty, librarians, and technologists.
It’s hard out there for an independent law school.
The number of law campuses that aren’t attached to larger universities is slowly dwindling amid closures and mergers, and several stand-alone campuses are fighting for survival. The seven-year downturn in legal education, which appears to be coming to an end, hit independent law schools especially hard because they can’t tap into university funds to tide them over in lean times. Many independent law schools also experienced sharper enrollment declines than their university-affiliated counterparts.
Future of Independent Law Schools Is in Peril | New York Law Journal
Syracuse University College of Law’s Online J.D. program is the first real-time, ABA-approved online juris doctor program in the United States.
The Online J.D. | The first fully interactive online J.D. http://theonlinejd.syr.edu/
Syracuse Law is my alma mater, and they’ve been working hard to get this waiver. This is a great step forward for legal education as it finally gets a much needed blast of innovation.
This popped up on my Github feed recently. Looks like Prof. Michael Poulshock is taking a shot at using Github to manage materials for his Legal Decision Technology course being taught in the Spring 2018 semester at Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law. The course itself looks pretty interesting, according to the syllabus:
This course explores how legal decision technology can be used to expand public access to legal information. Students will learn about cutting edge legal decision technologies, hone their statutory interpretation skills, and build interactive apps that answer specific legal questions. This is a hands-on, lab-style class, but no prior programming experience is required.
The course is going to make use of tool called Oracle Policy Modeling which I had not heard of before but seems interesting. Heck, I’m even going to download a copy and take it for a spin.
Always great to see law professors taking advantage of interesting tool in the courses they teach. Maybe Prof. Poulshock will head to CALIcon18 in June to talk about the course and how it went.
The Github repo is at https://github.com/mpoulshock/Drexel-Legal-Decision-Technology-Spring-2018
Rescuing Pluto from the Cold: Creating an Assessment-Centered Legal Education by Steven Friedland :: SSRN https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3019431
This is something you just see everyday. Prof. Eric Fink at Elon Law School is using GitHub to manage and serve websites for his courses. This is a great idea and now I’m wondering if there are other law profs out there doing this sort of thing.