January 13, 2010

DOJ Reaches Settlements Regarding Use of Electronic Book Readers

A DOJ Press Release reports on the Justice Department reaching "separate agreements under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Pace University in New York City and Reed College in Portland, Ore., regarding the use in a classroom setting of the electronic book reader, the Kindle DX, a hand-held technological device that simulates the experience of reading a book."  The release states: 

"Under the agreements reached today, the universities generally will not purchase, recommend or promote use of the Kindle DX, or any other dedicated electronic book reader, unless the devices are fully accessible to students who are blind and have low vision. The universities agree that if they use dedicated electronic book readers, they will ensure that students with vision disabilities are able to access and acquire the same materials and information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as sighted students with substantially equivalent ease of use. The agreements that the Justice Department reached with these universities extend beyond the Kindle DX to any dedicated electronic reading device."

This serves as a reminder that accommodations need to be considered and made if using an electronic reading device in classes.

ellen s. podgor

January 13, 2010 in Books, Technology -- in general | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 29, 2008

A pay-what-you-want casebook

From Profs. Lydia Loren and Joe Miller (both of Lewis & Clark Law School), a pay-what-you-feel casebook on intellectual property. According to Prof. Loren:

Joe Miller and I have written a new IP Survey book and we are looking for some “beta testers” to try it out next semester. The book is entirely in digital form. If a student would like a hard copy they are free to print out the book or any part of it. Also, there is a full digital statutory supplement that comes with the book – at no extra charge to the students. You can view a table of contents online.

We are offering this book through a new publishing company that we started, called Semaphore Press, using a “radiohead” distribution model: students are given a suggested price of $30 for the book, but can elect to pay something different (more or less). They can even not pay anything by clicking on the “Freeride” button. You can read more about the publishing company and its philosophy at http://www.semaphorepress.com. As a professor interested in reviewing the book, you can always click on the “freeride” button at the bottom of the payment page to take a look at the entire book (or any part).

Prof. Miller is using this book this fall at the University of Georgia and I’m using it at Lewis& Clark (in two separate sections). We have found that students like the flexibility that the digital format offers. One student even prepared audio files of the different chapters so that he could listen to the book while commuting. And, we also found that students appreciate the reasonable pricing of the book, with a majority of them opting to pay the suggested price.

Let us know if you are interested in adopting this book. While neither you nor your school’s bookstore needs to “order” anything from us, we would like to know who is adopting the book so we can continue to evaluate the book, the distribution model, and in general seek feedback from the beta testers! We also have a survey that we would appreciate having students complete at the end of the term. We are also happy to share our power point files and syllabi.

Here, again, is the link to Intellectual Property Law: Cases & Materials. Try it out -- you'll see that the site is designed so that users are strongly channeled through the "pay something" page. I wonder if the authors' pay rate will remain high as the relationship between them and the students attenuates (e.g. if profs at other schools assign this book)? I guess we'll find out soon.

Not to be outdone, Prof. Thomas Field of Franklin Pierce School of Law mentions that he offers a free textbook for download via SSRN: Fundamentals of Intellectual Property: Cases & Materials. The digital version is free; a microprint costs around $16-17 right now.

- Gene Koo

October 29, 2008 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 12, 2008

Developing an innovative pre-law school summer reading list

Lbcover_2_1 An always useful topic for collective discussion is what should a person read the summer before starting law school. 

Of course, One L by Scott Turow is the modern classic, and it is still probably worth a read even though it is now a bit dated.   One of my favorite recommendations is  Broken Contract by Richard Kahlenberg, which does a nice job exploring how law school turns motivated public-spirited individuals into amoral solvers of legal problems.   And for a lighter read, future law students might check out the new Lawyer Boy by Rick Lax, which amusingly explores the experience of someone who was essentially fated to go to law school by accident of birth.

Eugene Volokh covered this question here last year, and I especially liked the commentor who recommended a cover-to-cover reading of the Constitution.  Helpfully, New York Law School's library has this on-line multimedia bibliography of "Books & Films on Law & Law School" providing lots of ideas.

OhpBut perhaps folks through the comments might aspire to be a bit more innovative.  In a world heavy with law and legal ideas, there are surely lots of fiction and non-fiction works that may not immediately spring to mind, but would be especially valuable for a future law student to consume.  Seeking to be innovative, I'd probably recommend some piece of legal or social history such as the collection of essays in The Oxford History of the Prison.

Any truly innovative suggestions, dear readers?

Cross posted at Prawfs.

July 12, 2008 in Books | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 03, 2007

Just Released: The University of Google: Education in the (Post) Information Age

The University of Google is my book of the year for 2007. I have nagged colleagues and friends to read ever since I saw a manuscript copy. It will have a huge impact on everyone in higher education, helping those suspicious of new media to formulate their criticisms and those eager to adopt it better placed to introduce it appropriately. -- Frank Webster, City University London, UK

The University of Google
Education in the (Post) Information Age

Tara Brabazon

List Price: $59.95
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Ashgate Pub Co (November 30, 2007)
ISBN-10: 075467097X
ISBN-13: 978-0754670971 

Book Description: Looking at schools and universities, it is difficult to pinpoint when education, teaching and learning started to haemorrhage purpose, aspiration and function. Libraries and librarians have been starved of funding. Teachers cram their curriculum with 'skill development' and 'generic competencies' because knowledge, creativity and originality are too expensive to provide to unmotivated students and parents obsessed with league tables, not learning.

Meanwhile, the internet offers a glut of information on everything-under-the-sun, a mere mouse-click away. Bored surfers fill their cursors and minds with irrelevancies. We lose the capacity to sift, discard and judge. Information is no longer for social good, but for sale.

Tara Brabazon argues that this information fetish has been profoundly damaging to our learning institutions and to the ambitions of our students and educators. In The University of Google she projects a defiant and passionate vision of education as a pathway to renewal, where research is based on searching and students are on a journey through knowledge, rather than consumers in the shopping centre of cheap ideas.

Angry, humorous and practical in equal measure, The University of Google is based on real teaching experience and on years of engaged and sometimes exasperated reflection on it. It is far from a luddite critique of the information age. Tara Brabazon celebrates the possibilities of digital platforms in education, but deplores the consequences of placing funding on technology and not teachers. In doing so, she opens a new debate on how to make our educational system both productive and provocative in the (post-) information age.

About the author: Tara Brabazon is Professor of Media at the University of Brighton, UK, and Director of the Popular Culture Collective.

-- Joe Hodnicki

December 3, 2007 in Books | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 27, 2007

The Carnegie Study: impressions and responses?


The Carnegie study's out, and I'm curious about your reactions to it: Does it capture the most important issues facing legal education today? Do you and your students agree with its conclusions and recommendations? What doesn't jibe?

More importantly, what happens next: What changes will come about as a result of this report? What can we, in our different roles, do to advance the parts of the study we feel are true and compelling?

- Gene Koo

March 27, 2007 in Books, Teaching -- curriculum, Teaching -- pedagogy | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack