March 26, 2008
The Leaky-Boat World of U.S. News
As everyone at any law school anywhere knows by now, the U.S. News law school rankings are leaking all over the internet (so to speak). As I have said before, I find it unfortunate that those rankings don't reward (and, in fact, probably hinder) innovation in law teaching. Like everyone else who seems to opine on such things, I wish these rankings did not matter so much (of course, those heading up the list are less fervent in their critique than those headed the other way).
But, they do matter. Students too often choose a school based on the rankings, and academics pay attention to rankings when considering jobs. Donors care, as do currently enrolled students. Everyone's parents, for some reason, seem to follow these damn rankings.
They won't go away. Maybe they shouldn't go away. But I do have an idea about what could be done to mitigate the effect this one set of rankings has.
Not so long ago, college football's Bowl Championship Series began ranking teams by using a composite of other rankings. They were not all weighted equally-- rather, the major press and coaches rankings were given greater weight. With the proliferation of rankings these days, perhaps we need to create a Bowl Championship Series ranking system, creating a composite which gives the U.S. News rankings a stronger weight than others.
If so, which other rankings should be included? I would be willing to create this composite once the official rankings are out.
-- Mark Osler
March 23, 2008
Beyond the Law School Realm - GoCrossCampus.Com
Law schools can sometimes be slower in modernizing when compared to their undergraduate counterparts, at least when it comes to technology (although this is not always the case). This is particularly true when one examines the growth of distance or electronic education, as the undergraduate institutions are well established in a field that law schools are just starting to investigate. I, therefore, have to wonder if the gocrosscampus.com movement will eventually hit the law schools, or maybe it already has arrived. The New York Times here explains the "game" or what some may see as a social networking forum. Like Second Life, it provides a web space to use beyond the walls of a classroom. In contrast, however, gocrosscampus has a game-like approach - and a war game at that - with a goal of conquest. As law schools move more to a mediation and alternative dispute approach, conquest seems like it should be frowned upon. Social networking, however, is important. One has to wonder if down the road there will be a law school adaptation to this latest technology game.
ellen s. podgor
Is Amazon's Kindle Doing Better Than People Expected?
ellen s. podgor