New Paper From Indiana U Law Faculty Shows Significant Law Student Satisfaction With Online Classes

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:

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.

Syracuse Law receives waiver from ABA to offer first accredited online JD

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.

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.

Online Course Report lists 50 most popular MOOCs of all time

Unlike regular college/ university courses, MOOCs can attract many thousands of enrollees around the world. They can come in the form of active course sessions with participant interaction, or as archived content for self-paced study. MOOCs can be free, or there can be a charge – either on a subscription basis or a one-time charge. Free MOOCs sometimes have a paid “verified certificate” option.

— The 50 Most Popular MOOCs of All Time

A good list, but be sure to read the caveats at the beginning and end.

From The Front Lines: Peeking Inside a MOOC in Progress

For example, students have complained about not being able to complete in-video quizzes when they download the lecture videos. While our instructional team wanted to help them complete this work off-line—many students have very limited Internet access—we could not provide a way to do so. We pressed Coursera support-staff members for a solution, but they could not provide one.

My limited ability to make key pedagogical choices is the most frustrating aspect of teaching a MOOC. Because of the way the Coursera platform is constructed, such wide-ranging decisions have been hard-coded into the software—decisions that seem to have no educational rationale and that thwart the intent of our course.

via Inside a MOOC in Progress – Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

I suspect that this will not be the first time we hear from a MOOC faculty complaining about some sort of failure of the the tech platform. Something important here is that Coursera is commercial company and the platform is closed and proprietary. At least if this were an open platform like EdX or Canvas there would be a chance to add the features that the teachers need to educate their students as they see fit, not as some random engineer or developer tells them it needs to be done.