Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Several of us have participated in a MOOC of one kind of another. I concede that I was a doubter. In fact, I may still be. The attrition rates are huge and, at least in my case, the material presented at a fairly elementary level. My job was to give 25 ten minute lectures on contract law as a part of an 8 week course prepared by the UF College of Law. My colleages covered con law, criminal law, and a number of other basic topics.
I was surprised at how rewarding the experience was. We started with well over 10,000 students and ended up with a small fraction of that but it was fun in many ways. There were discussion groups and, in our case, groups sprouted up in several countries oftimes chatting with each other in their native language. Professors could join the groups, answer questions, pose new questions, or just listen in. Watching hundreds of students interact who would otherwise have no contract with each other was, from my standpoint, worth all the effort involved. I was even able to put aside my concerns about whether my lectures were making any sense.
At one point I told then about the history of Sherwood v. Walker. Many found it mind-boggling. How could a court just decide that it would have decided the case differently a century later? It was a pleasure to see US contract law through the eyes of bright and curious people who were there voluntarily and not asking "what is the take away point."