October 23, 2006
Innovative law school courses
I hope in future posts to address in depth Harvard Law School's new 1L curriculum. But before embarking on that project, I wanted to use this new blog to collect information abour innovative courses already in place at law school around the country.
I surmise that most law schools have at least a handful of innovative course offerings, but that most faculty and students are not aware of all the innovate coursework taking place at their home schools, let alone at other schools in their region and nationwide. And yet, occassional innovations notwithstanding, law schools traditions and administrative realities can often hinder innovative pedagogy. So, dear readers ...
Please use the comments to report on innovative law school courses that are in place or that you would like to see developed.
I will go first by spotlighting one course I developed at Ohio State. A few years ago, I created a one-week summer course entitled "Judging and Clerking," which I co-taught with a local federal district judge. The course provided a great setting to discuss and debate important judicial administration issues that do not readily arise in other courses — issues ranging from how judges should be appointed/elected to the significance of unpublished opinions to the impact and import of judicial clerks.
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You may already be aware of this, but Jeffrey Howard's (CA1) career clerk teaches a course on judicial opinion-writing at Franklin Pierce. This law.com article is the clerk's argument for why the course is useful. I think the article might have done better to avoid playing to the media fascination with the role clerks have in the drafting of opinions, but arguments are otehrwise convincing, I think.
I think there's an IP prof at Penn who incorporates a group blog (with the students as posters) into his class somehow.
Posted by: WB | Oct 23, 2006 10:58:47 AM
Sounds like an interesting course. Would it work as a classroom component for judicial intern/externships?
Posted by: Beth Thornburg | Oct 23, 2006 1:21:12 PM
Attached you can find the start of an article I wrote about a class I began here, where we cross-trained lawyers and preachers in oral advocacy. I will email you the complete article.
Posted by: Mark Osler | Oct 23, 2006 2:34:18 PM
Well, here's one that I'm particularly fond of: CyberOne: The Court of Public Opinion. (link: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/cyberone/.)
It's an interesting course that began this semester at Harvard, supported in part through the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. (One of my favorite parts, aside from the course's utilization of the increasingly-popular Second Life, is its utilization of Wiki software.)
A description of the course:
"Our course is titled Cyber One: Law in the Court of Public Opinion. The subject matter of the course is the creation and delivery of persuasive argument in the new integrated media space constituted by the Internet and other new technologies. Our premise is that “First World” and corporate domination of entertainment media, laws, and news can be balanced by the voices of individuals, groups and universities who use new media intelligently. We challenge students to attempt this themselves by choosing an issue of concern to them and using the media we study to make their case for change in the court of public opinion."
Posted by: LM | Oct 23, 2006 10:49:30 PM
Penn offers what might be a similar course on clerking:
Judicial Clerkship Seminar
3 semester hours, George/Baylson, Spring
The goal of this seminar is to prepare students for their judicial clerkship experience upon graduation from law school. The course will focus on three principal areas: judicial writing, research resources, and the judicial experience and process. To provide a framework for these areas, specific areas of law will be discussed which give rise to unique problems which judicial clerks most frequently address. We will have a number of guest speakers and meet with current judicial clerks to discuss their experiences.
Posted by: Anthony | Oct 24, 2006 12:12:03 PM
I would suggest taking a look at Classcaster (http://www.classcaster.org/), CALI's blogging and podcasting network for law courses. We have over 50 faculty from around the country podcasting lectures and class summaries. Classcaster has been around for just over a year and we have about 1700 podcasts totaling 2000 hours of lecture and class summaries. Most of the material is openly available.
Posted by: Elmer Masters | Oct 24, 2006 2:22:47 PM
Some posts on other innovative courses are here:
Posted by: Jonathan | Oct 24, 2006 6:20:13 PM
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