Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Topics in Digital Law Practice: a really good MOOC

The Center for Computer Aided Legal Instruction (CALI) is doing a 9-week Massively Open Online Class (MOOC) entitled "Topics in Digital Law Practice" with a subversively useful structure:
a series of expert webcasts, including Q+A for the realtime participants, each of which comes with publicly viewable wiki'd homework assignments.

Does this sounds unexceptional? the technology required is available to any smart middleschooler today. But the homework element makes it just plain better than just about any other continuing ed class I've taken. Who wants to craft the best solution to the homework problem? Why I do of course ... and so do enough other participants to make it fun.

And if the homework assignments are well-chosen to result in a useful compendium of knowledge ...

For example, Class #5 was about free legal research online, during which a major issue raised was the efficient sifting through the overly large mound of potentially useful sources of law. The homework assignment is to
(A) locate the most authoritative sources of law (statutory & case law) for one state and (B) add that to a Primary Legal Research Sources by State page which will be quite a useful compendium for CALI and free for all comers!

There isn't any scoring; each student who produces satisfactory homework is rewarded with a badges plus the pleasure of creation and the bragging rights for a Job Well Done.

This model could be used in a number of fields.

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