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September 30, 2008

Future of the Law School Coursebook wrapup

Coverage of the event in the local press and by John Palfrey. Also: Chronicle of Higher Education.

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.

Audio recording of the first session

Audio recording of the seciond session

Audio recording of the third session

Audio recording of the fourth session

- Gene Koo

September 30, 2008 in Conferences, Electronic Education, Teaching Resources | Permalink


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