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November 27, 2006

Distance Education in the Law School

Distance Education has been a controversial subject in legal education.  After all, it is difficult to replicate a Socratic dialog in a classroom.  But distance education is not a one-size fits all.  It can also be used to offer small specialty courses that a school would be unable to offer but for this technology, or it can be used to bring in speakers to a classroom taught by a live instructor.  My contribution to this list will be to provide some materials that might be useful in considering whether a distance education model, course, or inaction might be appropriate in a law school setting. For openers, it would be remiss not to mention the existing ABA Rules for offering distance education courses. Standard 306 provides the strict rules for such courses, including the need to have faculty approve it as a separate course, not allow 1ls to participate, and limit the hours to not more than 4 credits in any term and 12 throughout a student's course of study.


November 27, 2006 in Technology -- in the classroom | Permalink


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Can anyone provide me with published research to back up the requirements listed in ABA Standard 306, other than the personal prejudice of the drafters?

Why "limit the hours to not more than 4 credits in any term and 12 throughout a student's course of study."?

Why not 3 & 11, or even 5 & 13... two other equally arbitrary numbers? Apparently 12 is good throughout a student's course of study... but 13 would be very, very bad? Proof?

In any other segment of the academy, such rules are formulated by reference to peer-reviewed research, based on facts, not opinion.

Why doesn't this academic standard apply to law schools and the ABA?

Posted by: Dan O'Shea | Jun 1, 2007 10:48:41 AM

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