November 22, 2006
One Year Teaching Positions at Law SchoolsLink: TaxProf Blog: Teaching Fellowships for Aspiring Law Professors. Paul Caron has very helpfully collected a list of one or two year fellowships, which offer important transitions to the legal academy. The schools he's identified are listed below. For law schools, these short-term positions offer a useful means to fill teaching slots. For aspiring professors, these positions offer an opportunity to learn how to teach and to begin writing.
For practitioners and others contemplating joining the law professor ranks, many law schools offer wonderful opportunities to transition into the legal academy with one- or two-year fellowships which allow you to enter the AALS Faculty Recruitment Conference (the "meat market") armed with teaching experience and published scholarship under your belt: Alabama Chicago Chicago-Kent Columbia Connecticut Duke Florida Fordham George Washington Georgetown Harvard Iowa New York University Northwestern Stanford Temple Texas UCLA Wisconsin Yale:Anupam Chander
November 21, 2006
Interdisciplinary Adventures, Pt. 2
One of my great frustrations in law school was not learning what seemed most exciting about the law-- how to make a compelling argument to a jury. Upon becoming a law teacher, one of my goals was to offer a short one-credit class on the subject. However, I had trouble pulling together a curriculum based on the available materials within law school circles.
I had decided that I wanted to use Aristotle's "On Rhetoric" as the text for the class, and heard that it was already used in another class on campus-- the preaching class at Baylor's seminary. At that point, the focus of the enterprise changed a bit as I considered the interdisciplinary possibilities of the course. In short, I could cross-train preachers and lawyers in a common task: Urging a discrete and individual decision through moral persuasion.
The class has now been offered for several years, and an article describing it can be found here. I co-teach the class with Truett seminary's Hulitt Gloer and Baylor's provost, Randall O'Brien. It has proven to be a popular, meaningful, and practical class.
In the future, I have thought of proposing the class to other law schools which are affilliated via their University with divinity schools as a way to build interdisciplinary contacts-- it would be a great way to spend a year as a visiting prof.
-- Mark Osler
November 20, 2006
Jamming wireless networks
Of all the technological innovations that have transformed law schools in the Internet age, none may be more useful than the wireless network. Knowing that broadband access is available anywhere, any time in a law school is a great source of comfort. The content itself isn't bad, either.
At the same time, no other technology is more despised. Law school technology crews are invariably asked to jam wireless networks in certain places at certain times. Let me be specific: Every faculty has at least one member who asks that the network be jammed during his or her classes.
But why? Consider the following:
- Yes, wireless networks facilitate Internet access. That means sports and gossip pages, personal e-mail, perhaps even online poker during class. All that is distracting, arguably in a way that crossword puzzles are not, since other students can see the offending screens. But a ban on wireless access simply restores the primacy of solitaire, hearts, Freecell, and Minesweeper.
- Jamming the network for one professor's benefit runs the risk of creating dead spots. And forgetting to restore coverage is simply the latest variation on the theme of careless or even inconsiderate behavior among professors. It's bad enough that we forget to erase the chalkboard or to raise the projection screen.
- The whole affair reeks of needless paternalism. Law students, with rare exceptions, are old enough to vote, to drink, and to enlist. They are also old enough to waste tuition and to receive (or deliver) informal social sanctions for engaging in poor, distracting uses of wireless technology during law school classes.
If it were up to me, I'd keep the wireless network running at all times. The fault lies not in our technology, but in us.
This item has been posted at MoneyLaw.
An invitation to forum on internet & legal education
I'm excited to announce that, as part of the process of exploring the impact of technology and the internet on legal education and training, the Berkman Center is hosting a forum and invite all of you to attend, whether in-person or virtually. (We'll be web-, pod-, and virtual-casting this event). I'll be updating this post as we firm up panel participants and information about how to participate virtually.
Legal education in a networked world
Thursday, December 7
Austin Hall, Harvard Law School
[ also on Webcast and Second Life -- info coming soon ]
Law schools don’t just educate new lawyers; they house vibrant communities that research, develop, and share legal knowledge. How might law schools take advantage of our increasingly networked environment or use emerging network technologies to foster robust learning communities? Can such communities bridge between the academy and practice?
On the occasion of Harvard Law School’s most significant curriculum revision since the 1870s, join law professors, professional educators, practicing attorneys, and technologists to discuss the coming transformation of legal education.
- Sandy Geller, Executive Vice-President, Practising Law Institute
- Patrick Hobbs, Dean, Seton Hall Law School
- Andy Prozes, Global CEO, LexisNexis
- Jonathan Sablone, Partner, Nixon & Peabody LLP
- Ronald Staudt, Professor of Law and Associate Vice President for Law, Business and Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law
- Martha Stone Wiske, Lecturer, Harvard Graduate School of Education
The discussion will be moderated by Charles Nesson, Professor, Harvard Law School.
Student blogging as an educational experience
Here's an open question following on DAB's earlier referral to the excellent discussion going on about how blogs change legal education. I am curious to what extent law professors are blogging with their students, and how that works as an educational experience (as opposed to blogging yourself, or independent student blogging).
One way in which you might do this would be through an official class assignment. The point here would be less about producing "useful" legal scholarship as for students to engage with course material. For example, recently a Brandeis University professor presented a short talk at the Berkman Center describing how he turned around the practice of podcasting in his undergraduate class from him talking at students to students talking with each other -- a practice well in line with today's theories of how learners actively construct rather than passively receive knowledge. (And, as a practical matter, he found that students would actually download and listen to each others' podcasts while they largely ignored his -- perhaps partly because students better understand that a six-minute chat is far more palatable than a 50-minute lecture).
Another possibility is blogging as collaborative project between professors and students. For example, Ben Spencer of Split Circuits forwards the day's Westlaw alerts to his research assistants, who find and summarize cases relevant to the blog's subject matter. Like research assistants everywhere, these law students receive mentorship (Ben reviews their posts for relevance, importance, accuracy, and completeness), in the process learning-by-doing what makes a case "important" and how to find and highlight those parts. What's especially interesting about this model is that it enables students to contribute directly to a vital part of the academic discourse while learning at the same time.
The RA’s have been thrilled with the opportunity to stay abreast of developments in the law in a way they otherwise would not experience. They have grown much more knowledgeable about contemporary federal procedural issues of importance and are better able to discuss these and incorporate them into their own writing. Hopefully it will also enhance their experience at law firms and with clerkships.
How many of you ask your students to blog as part of their educational experience?
The Pedagogy of Online Dialogues
The Pedagogy of Online Dialogues: an empirical study of asynchronous discussions at Harvard Law School (pdf) is Gene Koo's “3L paper” submitted in spring 2002 in completion of his J.D. studies at Harvard Law School. Drawing from surveys and textual analysis of discussions happening adjunct to classes at Harvard Law School, the author examines how computer-mediated intra-class communications fit within or challenge traditional legal pedagogy. Although the data set is small, Koo preliminarily conclude that online discussions can either defy or reify existing cultural dynamics within the law school classroom such as unequal gender participation. Koo provides practical guidelines for how professors can conduct online discussions to encourage better participation; suggest technological improvements to the medium itself; and identify areas for further research.
Cross-posted on Law Librarian Blog. Joe Hodnicki