June 18, 2009
Liveblogging #CALICON09 - John Palfrey Keynote
John Palfrey, Harvard Law School Professor and Vice Dean for Information, is delivering the keynote for this year's Conference for Law School Computing. (Search Twitter for #calicon09 for live tweets).
How do Digital Natives, the Iranian blogosphere, and law school education tie together? Let's start with the fact that young people are incredibly networked -- and Iran is an incredibly young society. Thanks to the openness that was brewing in Iran (no one thought to block Facebook and Twitter when it was a bizarre, English thing).
JP acknowledges that the following analogy is dangerous: law school deans are in a similar position to the Iranian clerics. The revolution happening in Iran is not about the technology; it's a way to achieve collective action among young people. How do we (law school leaders) lean into the technology, and to use it where it makes sense? What are the ways that young people use these technologies to enhance democracy, or education, or democratic education? Those of us who have been experimenting at the edges have not embraced collective action -- how to use these tools to revolutionize legal education together.
(It's not just youth, of course: perhaps the most famous pair of hands in the world - President Obama's - is often seen cradling a Blackberry.)
In a time of resource scarcity, why commit to upgrading the technology infrastructure when so much is already committed to physical infrastructure? We should have a vision of where we want to go, and it should be a glass-half-full approach. We need to switch the polarity of the conversation with our deans.
So one attempt at a vision: Divide the challenges into Creation, Access (esp teaching), and Preservation.
Let's start with one area of information -- primary law (statutes). This information is born digital, probably created by one of our graduates. The actual information itself ought to be more immediately available and open, even if we continue to pay for services to search them. The same should be true for caselaw, PACER, scholarship. In scholarship, the publishers are US. We are paying 3x for the stuff that we are creating ourselves: once to create it, once for the journal, once more for access. There's amazing potential for teaching materials to be open and accessible.
And all of this ecosystem should be both interdisciplinary and global.
But we need a plan on all three fronts -- creation, access, preservation. We need really big dreams, dreams that we commit to and dreams that we update. We must design with great care the legal information commons, with the same care that we designed our buildings and libraries.
Why Do This?
This vision is in the charter of the American Association of Law Libraries!
It's better for the environment.
Transparency is better for democracy.
Come back with some good news for deans in this economic climate
What's (potentially) bad?
Will we lose the marginalia? Will JP lose the historic legacy of Dean Kagan because it's preserved in email and not paper?
What's lost in physical browsing and serendipity? What happens in narrowcasting? It's not that people aren't coming into our libraries -- Langdell is always full -- but they are not going into the stacks.
What is Harvard doing?
We're studying what our students are doing - focus groups, brownbag lunches, etc. Keep listening! There is a dramatic change in how young people are learning, and we must let the data lead.
Digitizing what we have and putting it into the Commons. For example, the Nuremberg trials at Harvard. But it's wildly expensive, especially with putting metadata around it.
Open Access mandate (DASH) -- which has been tricky to get professor followthrough.
Collaborate with other leaders.
Signed on to the Durham Statement to bring scholarship, journals into the Open Access world. The definitive version ought not be the paper version.
Flag what's credible. See Harvard's InfoAdvantage pages to help students find quality information. And this should be done collaboratively across schools.
The Google Books project and settlement: How do we come together to deal with this challenge?
Contemplative space: we need places where students can think in longer than 140-character stretches.
What we can do together
We need to stop thinking in terms of collections and competing in size of collections. We should compete elsewhere, maybe in the quality of our services.
We should post our collection policies online. None of us can afford to buy everything -- why not collaborate? What do each of us have uniquely? How do we segment our collections across from ephemeral access to permanent (e.g. rare books): public domain > License Only > Radical Collaboration > Acquire no matter what > Unique materials. We need to focus on that Radical Collaboration sphere.
What would our colleagues do? We need to be more open about what we do.
Work together on open access -- how do our repositories come together? The reality is that Google has become the interface. (see JP's research into students often ill-advised Google habits). What other engines and interfaces are possible?
How to start radical collaboration? Just start doing it. We might all end up dancing together to the Sound of Music in Grand Central Station :)
Make learning spaces cool again. Dispel the myth that kids don't use libraries.
The best way to predict the future is to invent it. - Alan Key
September 30, 2008
Future of the Law School Coursebook wrapup
My own takeaways:
- We need to distinguish strongly between electronic distribution of textbooks and new methods of creating/authoring them.
- We need a new word other than "book" (or coursebook or casebook or textbook) to describe the resources that today's law teacher requires -- from audiovisual examples to simulations to traditional texts.
- Whatever new systems emerge, they must feature some combination of generativity or interoperability to ensure flexibility, innovation, and cost-effectiveness.
- Traditional legal publishers are making good-faith efforts to keep up with needs, but they cannot lead -- it is up to the legal academy to figure out what we want. Furthermore, some of them may be hamstrung due to shareholder demands for profit, legal/copyright caution, or lack of the right personnel to drive change. They may be able to overcome these barriers, or they may not. Either way, law schools must lead.
- Keep an eye on technology companies entering the market from unexpected directions -- whether Amazon, Google, or some hot startup we've never heard of. The legal textbook market is not a very big one, but it might be ripe, low-hanging fruit for some of these players.
- Gene Koo
September 27, 2008
Liveblogging the Future of the Law School Casebook workshop part 4
This final segment of the workshop, excepting dinner, asks participants, "Where do we go from here?" Ron Collins now believes "the future is only across the street" -- it is not that far away, if we can collaborate.
Specific ideas after the jump.
- Pick one first-year subject that spans all schools in which to work out all the kinks
- Berkman & CALI is convening such a meeting, in the cyberlaw area
- Law schools can open their law journals for open access to unknot the problem identified in the last session
- Create a consortium in which law schools buy out one of the top casebooks to put into a desired platform
- Chip in for an extreme course makeover. "Pimp my course" :)
- Open this conversation to a wider public participation (this was a closed workshop)
- AALS session: how to do this, get a big room of people on board
- Or a summer program / writer's retreat, rather than at AALS
- Collaborate among publishers so we don't have separate, non-interoperable silos.
- Publishers: join IDEF to support standards as they converge. PDF + EPub, etc. They may not be the best, but they are going to be standard.
- We want one platform, not unlike iTunes -- creators should be able to sell/offer their materials without having their own music stores.
- CALI, as a nonprofit consortium of almost all American law schools, stand ready to provide that platform, open-source if desired.
- So does Sony (not the nonprofit part)
- We need both motivation and training for professors, once we have a platform to push them into
- Build a prototype to get people excited.
Liveblogging the Future of the Law School Casebook workshop part 3
Matt Bodie is moderating a discussion on "Competing Online Architectural Formats: advantages and disadvantages." One of the big elephants in the room regards intellectual property and what the role of the professor will (and won't) be in that future.
Take the jump with me here...
Susan Case describes making her book available for free on the Web, which has become incredibly popular and led to speaking invitations, etc.
Daniel Albohn (Sony) is demoing our submitted memos on the Sony Reader. Why is the screen so small? Maybe take a look at the iRex iLiad.
Skover: before recepticles become useful, we need to answer -- what kind of platform do we want to have for containing these digital packages.
Joel Thierstein: what's our ethical obligation to make our content open?
David Vladeck wonders how many law professors expect to make money from casebooks? Leslie Levine (West) responds that the motivating force seems instead to be (usually) about getting information out there and
John Palfrey suggests dividing up the analysis into three pieces: (1) the authoring; (2) the platform; (3) the recepticle. We should design a system that is at least dual-purpose -- (a) for students, and (b) enable a standard mode of copyright transfer.
JP's suggestion strongly seconded by Ron Collins. Imagine a platform that allows both proprietary and open information available for remixing. This need not be a war between those who want to give it away and those who seek some renumeration for their work.
I noted that in addition to fiscal renumeration, authors will want reputational returns as well.
John Mayer: www.eLangdell.org. How about creating a pool of money to pay authors to create texts, just as CALI does with lessons? over to Joel...Connexions likewise has a teaching commons, with CC-attribution that allows for collaboration with publishers. back to John... What about SSRN as a source of teaching resources? How about Connexion's model of buying a statistics textbook, funded by a foundation, that now is being remixed by professors and potentially even published at a price.
Craig (Concord) -- frustrated that the technology is all there. Why must we re-invent the wheel because the publishers and appliance manufacturers are "tying our hands" because they want to be the only platform.
Some confusion now arising over what "open source" means -- distinguishing open access from open source.
Heidi Hellekson (West) is responding to the question, pointing out that they've been heavily pushing DRM. [ This didn't seem to be the actual demand from the audience ]. Leslie (Lexis) points out that they are not stopping independent authors from self-publishing; John Chatelaime (Aspen) adds that the academy -- the authors -- need to start releasing their rights. Third-party copyright holders have presented a major obstacle.
JP is describing Harvard's open access initiative and repository (see also Duke et.al.) to alleviate this problem on the production side.
David Skover argues that professors should start asserting their market power to keep their copyright. Bill McCoy (Adobe) notes that the larger publishing industry is getting over these problems -- deal.
Kraig -- we're both the licensor and licensees -- can't we join these interests here?
Greg Silverman -- content production today can be quite complicated with many collaborations; don't underestimate the expense of such.
Why not just collect links to cases, articles? The cases are out there, but the editing-down is a clear value-add. (But is it enough?)
Paula Lustbader wants to know what the law students are doing -- are they reading the articles? notes? cases? Steve Friedland suggests we add these questions to our end-of-class surveys.
Do students demand it in electronic format? Conrad: They want something they can own, control -- and if we experiment, we can learn from their reactions.
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.
Liveblogging the Future of the Law School Casebook workshop part 1
I'm here at Seattle University School of Law with many esteemed law professors, publishers, and technology companies to discuss: where is the law school casebook headed in the near future?
Dean Kellye Testy is moderating our first conversation, "Glimpses of the Future: the possible, the probable, and the potential of innovative reform." This is an open discussion -- details after the break.
- David Scover describes himself "weaning away" from the Socratic method -- something that may have been rooted in a certain reliance on control.
- David Vladeck, as someone steeped in practice, emphasizes problem-based learning -- which existing case-oriented materials don't support.
- Ron Collins notes that a common theme that's emerged from the pre-workshop memos is "collaborative" -- that while Langdell implied a top-down, individualistic method, the big question moving forward is how to network people together.
- Kraig Baker, also as a practitioner, describes his own passion for law and how casebooks tend to quench that passion -- instead we need to find out how to feed that passion.
- Ed Rubin notes that new / emerging courses require new materials; otherwise, teachers won't adopt the courses. Furthermore, pedagogically we no longer understand skills as separate from doctrine, but rather the way we come to understand doctrine -- implying an interactive format.
- Dennis Patterson describes the innovation of the "intervention" -- breaking into cases to ask students about the opinion as it unfolds. But West's system could not handle publishing this electronically. For a problem in commercial transactions, he wants to see video & schematics describing an actual industry / transaction in context -- and most importantly, be able to deploy imagination to apply doctrine.
- Michael Schwartz cites Prof. Oates' research that most successful students learn from cases with a problem in mind -- and therefore, what real data should we keep in mind, moving forward.
- Paula Lustbader wants students to think about why are you thinking this -- what did you do to figure it out, so you can replicate it. We need a combination of text and real-life experiences, even interview real clients -- not for every case, but thoughtfully about how stories can make learning more rich. Materials should model the expert protocol and WHY is the lawyer asking this question, what's the approach to problem-solving. As for imagination: there's a need for students to PLAY with the materials, not putting them into boxes.
- John Mayer discusses how so much technology is available, but points out that the problem has been professors creating one-offs rather than collaborating, and furthermore, why not consider students as collaborators too, to help create a/v resources.
- John Palfrey -- reconceptualizing materials as born digital to begin with, and reprovision them for different needs, rather than putting things into Langdellian buckets. And students, too, are born digital and therefore thinking differently -- sometimes a strength, sometimes a weakness.
- Conrad Johnson -- what's often missing is the context, law from the ground up -- you can ask your students what they want to know, so you can catch the kinds of things that we overlook in the Socratic method.
- Bill Harmon -- students are already very proficient at getting information, and the next big step is to enable them to collaborate. Law is about people: what do these people need as a remedy?
- Me -- what kinds of training will professors need to be able to teach in new ways?
- Steve Friedland -- we need to reframe from how are we teaching vs. how are they learning? "We need to get rebooted." What is our purpose: we are teaching them to be law students, and then we ask them to be lawyers.
- John Mitchell -- shift the figure ground so the cases, the statutes -- that's the library -- the clients/case/context is how we're teaching. That we can do without technology ("I have a handpuppet"). See, as lawyers do, that cases are the library -- going to a client-centric context.
- Ed Rubin explains what transactional work is, and laments how students never even see contracts. And how transactional work is non-zero-sum -- a different attitudinal approach than dispute-centered legal problems.
- Kellye Testy points out how drafting made a huge difference in understanding contracts in a class she taught: changes can be small, and it can go to learning what they should not adding more.
- Paula Lustbader -- so much we should be learning from undergrad, even kindergarten level. Describing a game to learn history in which students were so motivated -- "What would be our World War II simulation?"
- Peggy Davis -- learn law by using it, especially through simulation. Working collaboratively to solve problems is how we learn -- "structure a field of play." Is this happening in practice?
- Keith Stipe (Carolina Academic Press) -- where do we fit in?
- David Vladeck agrees that lawyers do practice collaboratively, cutting across firm boundaries -- students need to learn that lawyers need to collaborate with "the other side." "I want to grade them on their ability to collaborate with their peers." Silo-based learning is not conducive to learning how to practice, which cuts across these lines.
- Kraig -- making mistakes became OK, students making corrections points out that they're learning together.
- David Skover -- "Publishers have been leading us down the path for a long time, and only the fringe have moved away." Maybe it's time to prioritize the materials first. Publishers need to hear us -- this session is more for them. Also: as we innovate, are we going to lose the teaching of logical thinking that we excel at?
- Marilyn Berger underlines the importance of lesson plans / teaching goals so that new methods are not gimmicks. Also describes her collaboration with Aspen to create a textbook and website exactly as the professors imagined it -- addressing identified student needs. What about tenure -- why does it take 8 years before professors can be innovative?
September 23, 2008
Workshop on the Future of the Legal Course Book
This Saturday, Seattle University School of Law is hosting a workshop on the future of the legal course book. According to the official description,
Among other questions, the workshop sessions will consider: (1) What fundamental changes in legal education are necessary, and how might such changes best be made at the national level? (2) How do the traditional curriculum and casebook constrain any such reform efforts? (3) What viable alternatives are there to the traditional print casebooks, as far as content and delivery systems are concerned? (4) What are the advantages and disadvantages of competing infrastructural designs for electronic delivery systems (including closed-source vs. open-source architecture) and the electronic devices for receiving and viewing such materials?
A lot of great memos have gone back and forth among the participants. I thought I'd share my submission here in in PDF form. Text of the post follows after the jump
Networked computing provides new capabilities to law teachers that remain largely unrealized. I categorize these into three broad areas:
1. Experience, as opposed to knowledge
2. Collaboration, as opposed to exclusivity
3. Relationships, as opposed to information
1. 1. Experiential learning
Computers are doing for systems what the printing-press did for information: provide a scalable method of distribution. The upshot for educators is that while books convey information to enable students to develop knowledge, computer-driven simulations convey systems to enable students to have experiences. And experiential learning has become an emerging best practice in today’s pedagogy.
Books, and the information they convey, will remain critical for establishing a baseline of knowledge and the ways of “thinking like a lawyer” that we cherish. Our challenge as educators is to enable our students to take the next step and integrate that knowledge into the professional strategies, behaviors, habits, and values that constitute modern legal practice.
Until recently, legal educators who wanted to provide students with learning experiences were obligated to do the work by hand: write the materials, play the roles, and most burdensome of all, manage the logistics. Like monks transcribing texts, their work was valuable but never scalable.
Video games demonstrate the power of computers to convey first-person experiences rather than third-person stories or disconnected facts. Computer-managed simulations will allow law professors to offer students legal practice experiences that were previously inaccessible:
- Clinical practice is irreplaceable in its authenticity and reality, but it can also be expensive and highly variable. Simulations can provide a uniform set of experiences, especially in practice areas that law students would rarely have the chance to touch (e.g. complex corporate transactions).
- Many law professors lack significant practice experience and are reluctant to portray something with which they are unfamiliar. A professionally-authored simulation can capture the wisdom of practice in a way that offloads that responsibility from the professor.
- Likewise, many educators lack experience and know-how with running a simulation at all, which entails architecting a space for movement rather than directing learners along a linear path. A computerized system can offload much of that from the instructor.
By “computer simulation” I don’t necessarily mean fully-rendered 3D virtual worlds. When you consider the virtual world of a typical law firm, much of it exists within the boundaries of email, the Web, and EDGAR/Lexis/Westlaw. The kind of virtual reality required for this type of simulation would entail those worlds, not necessarily a 3D “World of Warcraft” knockoff. Of course, the technology required for any given simulation depends on the kind of experience desired.
2. 2. Collaborative authorship
Digital media have exposed the core limitations of paper-bound books. We begin to realize that casebooks are arbitrary dips out of the larger pool of knowledge. That larger pool has eluded us because the costs of distributing the entirety of the pool in using paper have been too high.
It is more accurate to imagine existing paper casebooks as professors scattered on at least two axes – how they approach the law and how they teach – and clustered around casebooks:
Conversations with casebook adopters reveal that this clustering is often arbitrary and rarely efficient. Most admit, even the authors themselves, admit that every casebook winds up being a massive compromise across different constituents.
And while a small subset of the community have taken it upon themselves to author casebooks – sometimes for the money, but most of the time for other motives, not least of which is altruism – most professors are “micro-authoring” every semester whenever they create coursepacks to supplement those books when they are incomplete, inadequate, or outdated. Indeed, some have simply abandoned casebooks for coursepacks altogether.
Before the Internet, it was prohibitively expensive to share coursepacks, leading to much wheel-reinvention. Some professors now use listservs as an ad hoc solution. What’s desperately needed is a platform with the following features:
· A means to share materials with colleagues
· A means to find and remix materials to create custom coursepacks, including export to digital and paper formats
· A system to authenticate authors and their reputations
· A system to evaluate and credential materials and collections of materials
· A business model to keep this system sustainable both for the entire system and the individual authors within it.
3. 3. Relational learning
Peer learning is critical to most law students’ success. Study groups play a storied role in the law school experience, yet law schools provide little support for them. E-casebooks present new potential spaces for these groups – less because they are digital than because they are networked.
Whereas e-books and e-book device readers like the Kindle present certain physical capabilities, such as instant downloading/updating, lighter-weight packages, and almost infinitely scalable distribution, they currently lack a key property that made the Web so robust: networking. Rather, the existing Kindle functions more like television: a one-to-many broadcast. This stifles the greatest possibility of digital texts for learning: that they might become platforms for students to learn with each other.
Imagine if a study group could outline a case together, share notes, and answer each others’ questions within the text itself. Imagine if the casebook was as much about the whitespace between words as the words themselves – whitespace for students to do their own teaching and learning.
There is an enormous disjunction between learning materials that are in textbook format (whether paper or digital) and the learning tools that students increasingly rely upon, whether they are “official” tools offered by the school (e.g. Blackboard) or cobbled together ad hoc (e.g. Google Docs, wikis). It may not be that the e-casebook platform itself offers these new capacities – the beauty of Web 2.0 is allowing content to “exist” in different “places” – so long as they are open and permeable, preferably to as much experimentation as possible.
Many students want to learn in community together – study groups are mostly voluntary. We need learning materials flexible enough to bend to unforeseen uses that today’s students will inevitably invent if given the chance.
July 31, 2008
Liveblogging the SEALS Conference 2008: Revamping the Law School Curriculum
"Integrated teaching" -- Sometimes involves co-teaching, e.g. property + civil procedure profs collaborating on teaching Matthews v. Eldridge. Can also provide a bridge to upper-level courses.
Spring electives for all 1st-year students.
Edward Rubin, Dean, Vanderbilt University Law School
Revamping the curriculum to account for Dewey: education as training the mind. Langdell, of course, preceded Dewey -- and while it seem odd that, in trying to help law school pedagogy catch up, we're looking almost a century backward, as Rubin points out, neuroscience is starting to validate some of Dewey's theories (e.g. mirror neurons and learning by doing).
So -- each year looks different, moving from foundational to interactive. Skills targeted include problem-solving and working collegially with both peers and senior attorneys, not just making appelate arguments.
Another experience is to draft a statute, with the idea that it will teach a different way to read statutes; likewise with contracts (rather than adjudication of contracts). These are skills that also provide understanding of the underlying ideas.
Abolished most administrative tasks and devoted the time conserved to development.
Douglas Blaze, University of Tennessee College of Law
Tennessee is, opposite of most law schools, coming from practice and connecting to theory. All faculty have been the same, not distinguished between clinical and classroom.
Two tracks: advocacy and transactional, whithin which a progression among 2nd-3rd year experiences, culminating in a capstone project. For advocacy, trial as the capstone, so start from trial practice and evidence to build up, including negotiation, client counseling, clinical. For business, starting from introduction to transactions, taxation, with capstone such as a simulation for tax counseling, entity formation, or negotiation of a commercial lease, chapter 11 reorganization. These are huge investments: small classes requiring significant time for faculty.
Lessons: integrate, don't just add on (cf. Carnegie). An integrated faculty is better at integration. These commitments will have costs, financial and otherwise. Identify outputs -- what students have and need. And constantly revise.
How to protect junior faculty? Have them work in teams, decentralize the budget so that the teams control the resources for conferences, adjunct faculty, etc. Give them time -- for example, in unified tenure system, clinical teachers need time to develop scholarship.
How to deal with bar passage rates? Would be nice to see the bar changing their subject matter focus to match the law schools.
Are teams proto-departments, esp. if they have their own budgets? Not really -- faculty are often in different teams.
Advice for bringing more senior faculty along? Do the research and present the evidence: what are the "prestigious" law schools doing? Keep the process open and let them come up with their way of participating.
How do first-year electives fit in with the upper-level course, e.g. Intro to IP versus the upper-level IP course? Maybe make them the same. Or leave it flexible.
Administrative issues of sequencing -- scheduling for fall/spring, advising? "It's a pain."
What's the role of alumni? Do focus groups: what would you like to have had in law school now that you've had experience? What would you like to see in new hires? Since they're not educators, the results are not the same as the Carnegie Report. Very often, innovations fail because students don't buy in: a legitimacy gap because they don't want to be academics like us -- they usually want to be practitioners. With alumni input, this is not an intellectual frolic but actual market demand. With fast pace of change, this should be an ongoing dialogue with alumni.
How do these changes affect hiring? There's a lot of resistance to hiring people who are different. Definitely look for different people: Supreme Court clerks may not know that much about drafting. The basic question to ask is, "What are you really working on?" An informal survey of the top 30 schools is that about 50% of recent hires have Ph.D.s -- these are academics. Signal that we take teaching seriously. But there's a real tension between scholarship and training.
June 21, 2008
Liveblogging the CALI Conference 2008: Open Access to the Law
Open access law is here (or coming soon), but law schools aren't big players in advancing it, or more importantly, doing interesting things with all that law. These new players are all different birds: they have different motives, are decentralized, are administratively independent, differently funded, and operating in a wide variety of national settings. And they are not going away, nor federating under one banner. So Tom Bruce at Cornell Law School is building OAI-PMH, a framework for querying and harvesting from these repositories to enable some technological federation. Repositories that adhere to OAI-PMH standards should respond to the following questions:
- Who are you?
- What have you got?
- How is your repository organized?
And using this standard should allow educational efforts like eLangdell® to tie materials to caselaw.
John Joergensen at Rutgers is experimenting with one Open Law initiative, public.resource.org...
... and has integrated it into the library's own federal law search page, with features enhancements to the results display and associated metadata. This is leading Rutgers to consider dropping Lexis to cut costs down the road, though doing so would sacrifice the Lexis database of secondary, non-legal materials. Furthermore, law schools are worried about the future of Hein Online: many no longer receive paper copies of journals and are entirely dependent on Hein. A backup, owned by law schools themselves, presents more safety.
It looks like CALI will be jumping in to provide some leadership and coordination of future, joint efforts. Stay tuned.
June 19, 2008
Liveblogging the CALI Conference 2008: Simulated Practice in-depth
SIMPLE is a system for authoring and managing practice simulations for professional learning, especially practices that are document- and transaction-centered. SIMPLE can, for example, articulate a multi-party negotiation, collaborative drafting of documents, complex litigation, etc.
Some articles about SIMPLE:
- Article: Authentic Fictions: Simulation, Professionalism, and Legal Learning (Clinical Law Review, PDF)
- Article: Simulations, Learning and the Metaverse (PDF)
Pedagogy of simulations
Often, students are coming in from essay/exam-based undergraduate course: thus some transitional learning is critical. At Strathclyde, lectures have been largely designed out in favor of transactional learning, with rare lectures focused on dynamic speakers. Otherwise, knowledge-transmission is pushed into webcasts/podcasts between sessions.
(More after the break)
-- Gene Koo
Overview of the SIMPLE interface
Student logs in and sees, essentially, an inbox of documents/communications related to one transaction, with calendar and tasks (much like Outlook). There's also a document bank (like Google Docs) that include documents, map of the fictional town where the simulation takes place, websites for fictional firms and companies, etc.
Backstage, teachers have a list of characters within the simulation and can assume that role. There's also a list of variables that allow the simulation to be modified in small but important ways to make each instance of the simulation unique (which doubles as a plagiarism-catching device). A Narrative Event Diagram shows how the transaction proceeds from the perspective of the staff, Non-Player Characters (staff puppets), Player Characters, and critical events that pop up.
Student work is assessed as normal -- usually they submit a specific document like a motion or a memo. Feedback goes back to the student in role of the managing partner.
Students also conduct self- and peer-assessment, which provides early warning signals about slackers within teams. They also log times, much like they bill hours in practice.
Logistics of simulations
Simulations have generally run between 1-2 days to 12 weeks. This may have ripple effects on other courses: could their simulation activities suck up all of their time from other classes? It's a disruptive technology that changes everything about how teaching/learning happens.
What does this do to teaching? The instructors and mentors are essentially role-playing, responding to student-driven actions with more information (or mis-information) and documents.
(Note that in Glasgow, there are only TWO (2) full-time faculty for 270 students).
The simulation is designed to highlight particular areas of knowledge as well as specific skills. This would include "traps," such as one party having the wrong location for an accident requiring more investigation (or wasting resources pursuing a red herring).
Simulations are also built around "standardized clients" -- a term borrowed from medicine, in which "standardized patients" provide a common experience for all students that hits important learning points.
Simulations also need to catch students before they go off the track. Careful mentoring by the instructors should guide the firm (students) back on track, in-role as the students' supervisors. For example, in one case students tried to arrest funds at the bank, which would have taken the case out of bounds, so the tutors had to act in-role as the bank to reject the requests to steer the sim back.
(I would note that there is substantial overlap between designing a good simulation and designing a good computer game. See especially What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Literacy and Learning.
Practice management sessions help students analyze and cope with inter-personal team issues.
Simulations "blueprints" are big capital investments -- it makes eminent sense for teachers to share and modify them.
What does it take to make SIMPLE happen?
Two ways to interact with SIMPLE that do not require technical knowledge: (1) Build the simulation; (2) upload the simulation to the platform. The authoring tools have been simplified to allow laypeople to create simulations.
Thus, requires up-front investment in creating the simulation, which can be capital intensive.
However, in terms of ongoing execution, it only requires 1 Professor, 8 Mentors (post-grad adjuncts) -- the simulation requires little upkeep and maintenance. The Mentors play the various roles in the simulation, from the parties to the firm partners to shopkeepers or even unexpected characters.
Liveblogging the CALI Conference 2008: Simulations and Legal Education
I'm here at CALI's 18th annual Conference for Law School Computing at the University of Maryland Law School. I like to think that "CALI" stands for the "Center for Advancing Legal Innovation" (it's actually the "Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction"). This year one major focus of the conference will be learning through simulation, with a keynote by Paul Maharg, author of Transforming Legal Education, on SIMPLE -- SIMulated Professional Legal Education.
My notes on the keynote follows the break.
-- Gene Koo
Paul is outlining some of the major themes in his book, starting with the contrast between E.L. Thorndike, who emphasized teaching strategies, and John Dewey, who emphasized the teaching ecology, and how that played out in the teacher-centered physical layout of the classroom. He identifies four key themes crucial to transformation: experience, ethics, technology, and collaboration. On technology, he emphasizes the need for developing our own technology, not vanilla versions of other disciplines' technology, that is learner-centered.
Paul introduces the concept of "trading zones" where all different types of researchers and practitioners can exchange knowledge and learning. Closely related to this is the transactional learning that his law school offers -- authentic performance that lawyers do in the world, not what professors think they do.
Paul is now matching up the four themes of his book with the four features of law school's signature pedagogy as identified in the Carnegie Report. In particular, he's mapping technology to "deep structure," just as the physical classroom deeply structured the teacher-centered pedagogy of the 19th century.
Paul now turns to SIMPLE as an environment for students to simulate professional practice in a safe, guided environment. Its major features are personalized learning, social / collaborative learning, rich media, all embedded in authentic transactions. Preliminary evaluation shows that students are learning better from simulations because of their deep engagement, in context, with the materials.
For Paul's demonstration of the SIMPLE system, please wait for the video recording to be released. The interface that he's showing is file-centric: the transactions appear to be document-based (much like a good slice of practice). For example, he describes a semester-long (12-week) negotiation sim involving some 34 transactions that he's run with 272 students distributed across 68 firms. One key to
making this work for so many cohorts of students is that SIMPLE varies certain key variables so that each cohort has a distinct case and experience from their peers.
More on SIMPLE later from the next session, but in brief, SIMPLE (1) articulates a practice environment, largely centered on documents and communication; (2) manages the workflow through which students progress -- for example, tracking whether students file their motions before the specified deadline (an automated check) or shunting students along different paths in the simulation (probably something that requires instructor intervention); and (3) an authoring tool to help instructional designers create these simulations.
April 18, 2008
Vision 2020: Digital Ubiquity and University Transformation
The University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) is hosting Vision 2020: Digital Ubiquity & University Transformation: 2008 Higher Education Leadership Summit, August 6-8, 2008. The conference is co-sponsored by Apple. Details on the conference website.
The deadline for submitting presentation proposals is May 2, 2008. "Academic officers, instructional and academic technology managers, faculty, staff, IT staff and librarians from higher education institutions who have designed and implemented innovative solutions taking advantage of digital ubiquity are encouraged to submit proposals. 1:1 Apple notebook, iPod, iPhone or other intense integrations are particularly encouraged." Submissions should relate to one of the themes listed below;
- Presentation Themes
- Creating a Shared Vision on Campus
- Building a Culture of Innovation
- Designing a Curriculum for Digitally Equipped Students
- Faculty Development
- Teaching Excellence in a Digital Learning Environment
- Measuring Results
-- Joe Hodnicki
March 17, 2008
AU WCL to Host Conference on Innovations in the First-Year Law Curriculum
American University’s Washington College of Law will host the conference “Innovations in the First Year Curriculum” from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, March 21, 2008 [Details]
Sponsored by the WCL's Integrated Curriculum Program, Office of Academic Affairs and Office of the Dean, the conference is free and open to the public . It will bring together academic leaders from the Washington College of Law, as well as those from Georgetown, Howard, Indiana, New York, Northeastern, Rutgers, Seattle and Washington & Lee universities, the universities of Maryland, Michigan and Minnesota, City University of New York, and William Mitchell College of Law, to discuss some of the changes in theory and instruction related to the first-year law school experience.
The panel discussions and short presentations will explore recent developments, including integrated and transcurricular teaching, the inclusion of clinical or practice-based instruction, reconfiguration of first-year legal writing programs, first-year electives and other innovations. -- Joe Hodnicki
February 22, 2008
More stuff from the Future of Legal Ed Conference
The conference organizers indicated that it may take a week to post some of the presentations so far. I'm going to share the ones that they distributed via USB drives (a neat trick, that):
Can the Carnegie Report Spark Fundamental Reforms of Legal Education? (Clark Cunningham)
Anticipating the Carnegie Report? The Griffith Law School Curriculum (Richard Johnstone)
Implementing Systematic Curriculum Renewal (Jeff Giddings)
OVERVIEW OF THE CASEARC INTEGRATED LAWYERING SKILLS PROGRAM (Kenneth Margolis)
February 21, 2008
Liveblogging the Future of Legal Education Conference
What follows will be a rather raw feed from my vantage point here at the Conference on the Future of Legal Education.
Berry, Cunningham both concur that the third apprenticeship -- the values of the profession -- are the most foundational and important within the recommendations of the Carnegie Report.
A theme Sullivan himself underlines. Most of this a rehash of his AALS presentation, nothing surprising to anyone who's read the Carnegie Report. Professionalism: commitment to the work itself; a kind of work, but in particular, "good work" and "good works." Formative education: pedagogies that intend to shape perceiving, thinking, judging. Acquire abilities but also sensibilities: what is possible, what is worth doing, and therefore who they are and might become.
Simulated Professional Learning (SMPL) environment -- deployed in law schools and other higher ed. Focus is on transaction, in the learning (Dewey) sense rather than the legal one. Learning takes place in a very similar manner as a computer game: students given a goal (reach a settlement by the end of the term) and then teach themselves, using a rich set of case documents, asking for help from each other and from tutors. There's only an introductory and evaluative lecture at the beginning and end of the course, but scenarios designed to spring deep and rich problems on students to solve along the way (e.g. ethical issues).
Simulations run online -- much of it automated (e.g. email from the client or partners). Takes place within an online virtual environment (not necessarily 3D). Groupwork heavily emphasized (very few issues arose around group dynamics, but safeguards set up). Major role shift from student to practitioner. Practice skills (time management) + values (ethical conflicts)
Teacher as "designer" -- distributing knowledge and skills across webs (professor no longer the center). Staff spend more time designing online learning with a wide staff, e.g. resources, simulations, just-in-time learning, salon & masterclass. This happens across entire programs of studey, within and across disciplines; within and across institutions.
February 14, 2008
International Conference on the Future of Legal Education
Next week (Feb 20-23) is the International Conference on the Future of Legal Education, being held at Georgia State College of Law. The conference program ostensibly focuses this year on "ways to implement one or more of the central recommendations of the Carnegie Report." Together with Christian Turner of the University of Georgia, I'll be presenting on eLangdell and the future of legal education casebooks. Matthew Brodie, whose article (The Future of the Casebook) we'll also be presenting, will happily be absent as his family has just expanded (congrat's Matt!). Our panel is on Thursday afternoon, 2:00-3:15 pm; I'll do my best to capture salient parts of it if the conference planners don't do so.
(I have to confess that the conference's bias towards presenting papers runs quite against the strategy of change that Martha Minow recommended at AALS: process, not reports. Hopefully, though, the workshops will organize around specific recommendations and hammer out next steps rather than just wander around in abstractland).
- Gene Koo
January 05, 2008
Raw outline of "Rethinking Legal Education For The 21st Century"
Below are the "raw" notes I took in the AALS Friday afternoon plenary session, "Rethinking Legal Education for the 21st Century" featuring Edward L. Rubin (Vanderbilt University Law School), Vicki C. Jackson (Georgetown University Law Center), Robert Mac Crate, Esq. (Senior Counsel, Sullivan and Cromwell), Martha L. Minow (Harvard Law School), Suellyn Scarnecchia (University of New Mexico School of Law), William M. Sullivan (Senior Scholar The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching), Judith W. Wegner (University of North Carolina School of Law).
[The panel began with Bill Sullivan outlining the Carnegie Foundation's Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law.]
Bill Sullivan (Carnegie Foundation)
Prof ed's common goal as it moved into university: a threefold apprenticeship:
- competence for practice
- Identity + prof. purpose
AALS will be collecting best practices at
Ed Rubin (Vanderbilt)
Law schools teach all three years at same level of sophistication. Vanderbilt now offers areas concentration, incrementing analytical sophistication, guided by faculty
Vicki Jackson (Georgetown)
Globalization - an opportunity to rethink our fields
Expanding learning experiences.How we teach is what we teach -- Problem-solving, reflective
- Social science about learning
- Critiques about legal education
- [Illegible -- help?]
Law + Legal systems to Justice / Fairness. "Week 1" (of 2nd semester)
- Intro to realistic, complex multiunit problem
- Problem-based experiential setting
- Assigned + act out roles
- Collaboratively w/ role group
- Builds on 1st-year content
ABA 25 years ago urged reassessment together
Martha Minow (Harvard)
Once it became clear that we were serious, there was little disagreement (but enormous resistance). There were two contradictory objections to each idea:
- "We've tried that before."
- "We've never tried that before."
Autonomy of prof. in the classroom leads to need to learn to play well together
- "What do students need now?" not "How did I learn law.” Student as a person on a map
- Some of mastery, not labeled w/ doctrine. Rather, problem-solving, strategy
- Ethics + Role: taking agency
- Institutional design change: choice
How change happened at Harvard:
- Leadership: Dean on committee, attend every one
- Process, not report
- Ambition: pursue something faculty is afraid of: results not guaranteed
Exceed existing constraints
- Look outside: medical, business, policy
- More process: agreement before the vote
- It's not over: ongoing, not episodic
Suellen Scarnecchia (University of New Mexico School of Law)
Clinical faculty at NM are tenured [applause]
Do we have the right faculty? Yes: we can integrate the 3 apprenticeships with current personnel. But what stops us?
- History: clinical and legal writing faculty fought to get in
- Bias about each other (mutual between faculty and clinical)
A reason to change (Purpose)
- We're smart
- Self actualization (letting the energy out)
- Conscience + stewardship: build a better society
Multiple dimensions of teaching
- Beyond intellectual knowledge: new epistemology. We construct knowledge in context.
- Beyond content
It's About learning
- Students learn better that way
- - Values / motivation
- - Experiential:learn by doing
- Advising: career choices, values, courses
It's About Learning
- Take assessment seriously
- Bifurcate bar exam: 1st year analytics
What are the challenges in next 20-30 years
- Suellen: tuition,outcomes assessment
- Judith: faculty retirement (replenishing); new generation of learners
- Martha: technology - a new environment w/ new students -- what happens outside classroom?
- MacCrate: practice charge
Talk about Social Justice + Ethics in the curriculum
- Judith: visiting classes - almost no mention of "justice" in over 200 classrooms. No sense of "profession." Fun analytics can miss "who are the people"? Try 3-unit courses on lawyers + role of law in 1st year
- Sullen: Alumni concerned about hiring 1Ls with no ethical training
- Vicki: Specialization of law leads to "I don' t know legal ethics." Need to relate among faculty and expertise
- Martha: asks her students why "law school" is not "justice school."Hidden curriculum leading into the job market, secret message of "don't talk about justice - it sounds naive." Professors lack theory of how to get to a more just world
- Bill: Dearth of real knowledge (research) into what happens in law school.Likewise little knowledge about actual practice. Think @ more kinds of research about practice
Students as subjects/ agents
- Engage students about their aspirations
- Are professional schools about high-level theory or judgment?
Casebooks as a barrier to innovation: publishers not moving quickly enough?
- Judith: Check out CALI’s eLangdell initiative [editor's note: this question was not a plant!]
January 04, 2008
AALS Innovations: Open forum
What are the top innovations we've encountered at the American Association of Law Schools annual meeting this year in New York City? I've been here in the Exhibition Hall the whole time, but rumor has it that the 2:15 Friday session, "Rethinking Legal Education For The 21st Century", has over 1,000 registrants. Anything that asks us to "rethink" points to innovation, right?
Looking forward to everyone's "top 10" list of innovations you've encountered here.
December 28, 2007
Gearing up for the (innovative?) 2008 edition of AALS annual meeting
I am now in gear-up mode for next week's Association of American Law Schools meeting in NYC. (Of course, co-blogger Gene Koo was way ahead of me and has organized great some AALS events discussed here.)
This year there are a large number of official AALS panels for would-be law school innovators (which is not surprising given that the AALS meeting theme this year is "Reassessing Our Roles as Scholars and Educators in Light of Change"). Though I won't be able to make all the LSI-friendly sessions (some of which are at the same time!), the following panels are ear-marked in my program:
Friday, Jan. 4 (full schedule here)
- Section for the Law School Dean
The Carnegie Report on Educating Lawyers from the Perspective of the Law School Dean
- Section on New Law Professors
New Law Faculty as Catalysts for Change
- AALS Concurrent Plenary Session:
Rethinking Legal Education For The 21st Century
- AALS Concurrent Plenary Session:
E-Expertise: How blogs, SSRN, Listservs, On-line Research Resources, and Other Electronic Technologies are Changing the Legal Academy of the 21st Century
- AALS Committee on Libraries and Technology Program
Scholarly Gatekeepers and Electronic Information: Brave New World?
- Section on Pro Bono and Public Service Opportunities
The Total Package: Utilizing Public Service to Bring Legal Practice into the Doctrinal Classroom
Saturday, Jan. 5 (full schedule here)
- Section on Continuing Legal Education
The Educational Continuum for Lawyers: Collaborations Among the Academy, Bench, and Bar
- Open Source Program
- Section on Balance in Legal Education
What Does ‘Balance in Legal Education’ Mean?”
- Section on Scholarship
The Future of Legal Scholarship
This is only an abridged list of LSI-friendly sessions at AALS this year. Notably, even the curmudgeonly Orin Kerr notes here that "whatever the past failings of the AALS, this year's offerings look much better than the usual ones." And Eric Muller provides here a link this his essential AALS-meeting user's guide.
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