May 9, 2012
Wash. U. innovates with online law masters programs
I am intrigued to see this new article from the New York Times concerning showing the details of a real law school innovation coming from the Show Me State. The article it headlined "Law School Plans to Offer Web Courses for Master’s," and here are excerpts:
The law school of Washington University announced Tuesday that it would offer, entirely online, a master’s degree in United States law intended for lawyers practicing overseas, in partnership with 2tor, an education technology company.
Legal education has been slow to move to online classes, and the new master’s program is perhaps the earliest partnership between a top-tier law school and a commercial enterprise.
“We don’t know where the students are going to come from exactly, but we believe there is demand abroad for an online program with the same quality that we deliver in St. Louis, accessible to people who can’t uproot their lives to come to the United States,” said Kent D. Syverud, the dean of the law school, which currently offers students on campus a Master of Law degree, or LL.M., in United States law for foreign lawyers. “It’s not designed to prepare students for the bar exam.”
Nonetheless, graduates of the new program, which will include live discussions via webcam and self-paced online materials, would probably be eligible to take the California bar exam.
Washington University will share the revenues from the $48,000 program — the same tuition paid by students at the St. Louis campus — with 2tor, which will provide marketing, the Web platform and technical support, including a staff member to monitor each live class and deal with any technical problems that arise.
2tor, a four-year-old company based in Maryland, has partnerships in place with the University of Southern California, Georgetown and the University of North Carolina for online graduate degree programs in education, business, public administration and nursing....A growing number of law schools offer online master’s degrees in specialized areas of law, like taxation, health care, estate planning, the environment or business transactions. Florida Coastal School of Law, a commercial school, offers a master’s in United States law, created, like the Washington University program, for international lawyers.
New York University Law School’s online Executive LL.M in Tax program enrolls more than 100 students, mostly from the United States, with a smattering from other countries. “Online students can see videos of all the brick-and-mortar classes,” said Joshua D. Blank, faculty director of the graduate tax program, which has been available online since 2008. “We use the same technology Netflix uses to watch movies online. Now that there’s the technology to do this, I think there’s a lot of room for these programs to grow.”...
Classes will be kept small and, Mr. Syverud said, will re-create the discussion between students and professors that characterizes most in-person legal education. Mr. Syverud said he hoped to enroll 20 students in the first group, starting in January, and have four groups a year, totaling more than 100 students.
Posted by DAB