September 27, 2008
Liveblogging the Future of the Law School Casebook workshop part 2
Part 2, moderated by David Skover, is "The Printed Casebook & Its Print/Electronic Alternatives: advantages & disadvantages in content & delivery systems." We broke into four groups loosely discussing these topics without any formal structure. Summary notes of each groups reportback follows the jump...
First group: Is every change positive? How is the Bar driving how schools teach? Disagreement between preparing for the Bar vs. other teaching goals. How do you handle assessment tools? What are the forces driving innovation -- probably it's convenience, not pricing. Don't dichotomize between print and electronic -- it's a continuum.
Second group: What's wrong with the casebook? Lacks flexibility, customizability, doesn't take advantage of new media. What will it look like? Probably not a purely open database because newer professors want some structure -- more a set of modules that would represent a course. What role does the publishing industry have in this future? Creation, marketing, distribution?
Third group: Books are just a modality -- form of what we're creating (books) isn't intrinsic but a practicality. Impediments -- law schools' reward structure not geared towards creativity of teaching.
Fourth group: "Flexibility" -- how to give teachers maximum flexibility for designing, using content in the classroom. Would require a production team, law profs, technologists, instructional designers. How to disaggregate to obtain optimal granularity: (1) instructional design -- should correlate to learning objectives; (2) authoring systems -- should be separate from the delivery system, allowing multi-channel distribution; (3) delivery system -- make it optimal for class, or even individual students; (4) business model -- preference for open source but accommodating of commercial units, a payment model that would be consistent between the two.
Subsequent discussion points:
- Print lacks inherent value as a delivery mechanism? Distinguish between the entire value chain of print vs. final print product. Non-flexibility has some value for certainty of who's writing what.
- Is there a difference between electronic & print "thinking"? Some research suggests that the gap in cognitive absorption of learning between e & p is shrinking (see Bill Hill's research at Microsoft; see John Palfrey's Born Digital; see MacArthur's recent series).
- Generativity and interoperativity (on open standards) as watchwords of PLATFORMS moving forward.
- Is the digital / media evolution of practice going to change teaching with it?
- Bar exam driving law school pedagogy: might be an opportunity to teach differently. This is generating significant discussion.
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