June 09, 2009
e-Course Management Systems Critiqued
Blackboard’s e–learning system dominates the online learning software market except in law schools where TWEN is the major player, much to the chagrin of LexisNexis law school reps. In A Critical Examination of Blackboard’s e-Learning Environment (First Monday, June 2009) Stephanie J. Coopman (Professor of Communication Studies, San José State) critically examines the structure of Blackboard’s two online learning delivery systems, Blackboard 8.0 and Blackboard CE6. Coopman identifies ways in which the platforms both constrain and facilitate instructor–student and student–student interaction. In addition, she delineates features that sustain and challenge traditional power relationships in the classroom. Coopman's article concludes with implications for online pedagogy that may also be applicable toTWEN.
Can Web Tools Like Blogs Replace e-Course Management Systems? Check out Jim Levy's post on Legal Writing Prof Blog for his thoughts about the Chronicle's story, Colleges Consider Using Blogs Instead of Blackboard and a video on the topic. [JH]
May 05, 2009
CALI Webinar for CALI Lesson Users
Deb Quentel, CALI's Director of Curriculum Development, covers two advanced features available to CALI Lesson users:
- LessonLink - Create a unique URL for a specific CALI Lesson. Then track who has taken that lesson through that URL and the lesson-takers' scores.
- AutoPublish - Member faculty or even students can create their own CALI Lessons, quizzes, or study-aids with our lesson authoring software, CALI Author. Then post their creation on the website.
April 08, 2009
CALI Webinar: Tools for Engaging Classroom Laptop Users
March 23, 2009
Webinar: Tools for Classroom Podcasting
March 09, 2009
Tools for Change: CALI's Annual Conference
19th Annual Conference for Law School Computing
Thursday to Saturday, June 18 - 20 2009
University of Colorado Law School, Boulder CO.
Registration and hotel information here. A preliminary agenda will be available around May 15th. Sessions that have been accepted so far include
- Firefox Add-ons for Legal Research
- Rich Internet Applications with the Adobe Flash Platform
- Crowdsourcing and Open Access v2.0: Harnessing the Power of Peer Production to Disseminate Historical Records and Legal Scholarship
- Why is there Hot Pizza in my classroom? Room and Course Scheduling
- Multimedia Tools for Law School
- Cloud Computing, Web Services, and the New Web Stack
- Coursecrafting: (def.) Mashing up legal research, moot court, skills training and instructional technology into something new and innovative!
- Using LibGuides to build Legal Research Guides
Details on the above sessions here. Look's to be another excellent CALI conference. [JH]
December 22, 2008
CALI's ELangdell: Share Course Materials and Edit Cases
CALI's eLangdell project offers faculty a new way to create and share course materials. Materials can be shared with colleagues worldwide, institution-wide or with students taking a class. According to their site, "With eLangdell, teachers don't have to publish an entire casebook to share coursepacks, syllabi, or a well-edited case. A peer rating system will help ensure quality." There will be announcements and demos at the AALS annual meeting in January. eLangdell is currently in its pre-beta phase.
Other features include federal court decisions from the public.resource.org
collection, available to be re-edited and incorporated into course
materials. eLangdell will also include an outliner that will allow
faculty to organize materials they have created, uploaded or tagged in
An eLangdell Group can be used instead of other course page software, such as Lexis Blackboard or TWEN. The set up looks similar to a blog, with documents posted chronologically. Students can comment on items posted by the professor. In the near future, students will be able to post anonymously. eLangdell can send emails to everyone in the class whenever something is added. Or you can receive updates via RSS feed.
eLangdell also allows you to:
- Create a multiple choice poll and track student answers
- Create case briefs using a form
- Tag documents with keywords so others can find them easily
- Bookmark documents for later use
- See when edits were made to a document using the Revision tab
- Add video or audio
- Discuss topics on a bulletin board (SA)
October 15, 2008
And the Best Reason to Stop Banning Laptops in the Classroom Is...
In a very thoughtful post, Amy Jarmon, Assistant Dean for Academic Success Programs at Texas Tech, observes that "the banning of laptops is vogue right now, but the consequences for students with disabilities (and different learning styles for that matter) are not always recognized." Read and consider circulating her Accommodations for ADD/ADHD and LD Students post on Law School Academic Support Blog.
For more on life's struggles, see Elyn R. Saks' memoir, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness (2007). Associate Dean and Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at USC, Saks chronicles her life, legal education, and career battles with schizophrenia.
Jarmon and Saks' message is clear. Students are capable of high-level academic work but law profs and administrators must be sensitive to their desire to be like everyone else because they are reluctant to disclose their needs.
On banning laptops because they are a classroom distraction, I think Legal Blog Watch's Carolyn Elefant should have the last word:
I'm not quite sure how students who are distracted by laptops will have the ability to function in real world situations. These days, most lawyers take computers to court, to depositions and settlement conferences. If law students can't focus on the professor because a flashy computer screen (I'm assuming that students are required to silence the sound) or keyboarding noise bothers them, how are they going to manage in the real world?
See her post, Laptops in the Classroom Distract Non-Users More Than Users.
Isn't banning laptops in law school classrooms just a giant step backwards in the early 21st legal academy? [JH]
August 28, 2008
Best Practices for Online Learning
As Library 2.0 becomes part of the fabric of our lives and we develop ever more sophisticated collections video tutorials, the Institute for Dynamic Educational Advancement (IDEA) offers some some best practices in developing online content for students.
- Orient students to the new online venue
- Reach out & mentor your students
- Help students overcome obstacles
- Respond to calls for help
- Model civility for your students
IDEA warns that technology may discourage learning in some settings.
"For instance, very often the value proposition of small colleges revolves around building education on strong personal relationships and personalized stewardship of the student’s educational experience. Nothing threatens this deliverable like moving classes online. Technology can start off as a supplement for enriching face-to-face quality, and wind up replacing it..."
I embrace new technologies because I enjoy exploring and learning them and it's easy to lose track of how the technology actually improves student appreciation of the content. Educational technologist Martin Weller notes that:
[M]ost students want the structure, the support and the filter that higher education provides. Technology isn’t the solution, or the problem [but] the medium through which the cultural differences between traditional higher education and web 2.0 will be realised. We can think of the learning systems we use as the metaphor for the way we approach pedagogy, the learner experience and the role of the educator.
Therefore, Library 2.0 is arguably a metaphor for learning in the Internet age. [NA]
June 12, 2008
Facebook for Academic Law Libraries
A academic law library Facebook page will not replace library websites or even library blogs but if your content is portable a Facebook destination might be a useful additional way to communicate with law school students. In About Facebook; Change at the social-networking juggernaut creates new opportunities for law library outreach, Spectrum (April 2008) (pdf) Duke's Jennifer Behrens discusses the use of Facebook pages and offers useful suggestions for marketing them.
In my mind the key to success for a Facebook site is data-portability -- create content once, distribute to multiple web destinations -- while also creating a unique social dynamic taking advantage of Facebook features. Check out Behrens' directory of law library Facebook pages for examples.
Hat tip to Bonnie Shucha, WisBlawg (and congratulations on WisBlawg's fourth anniversary!) [JH]
May 02, 2008
Fair Use Blog Used in Legal Writing Class
The Chronicle of Higher Education profiles a blog created by Peter Friedman to supplement his legal writing class at Case Western. Check out What Is Fair Use?, an interesting topical blog for a legal writing course.
Hat tip to Adjunct Law Prof Blog. [JH]
April 01, 2008
Section 108 Study Group Report
Peter Hirtle reports on the availability of the Section 108 Study Group Report, now available online:
The final report of the Section 108 Study Group, on which I have been serving for three years, has been released. You will find it, along with an executive summary, at http://www.section108.gov. The report and executive summary are found as links in the middle of the page; the press release about the final report is to the right.
The report examines what changes should be made to the exemptions for libraries and archives in copyright law in order to address changes brought about by digital technologies. It may be of interest to anyone engaged in preservation, document delivery, and ILL.
Among the recommendations are:
- Museums should be included for Section 108 eligibility, as they perform many of the same functions as libraries and archives.
- A new exception should be added to Section 108 to permit certain qualified libraries and archives to make preservation copies of at-risk published works prior to any damage or loss. Access to these "preservation-only" copies will be limited.
- A new exception should be added to Section 108 to permit libraries and archives to capture and reproduce publicly available Web sites and other online content for preservation purposes and to make those copies accessible to users for private study, research or scholarship. Rights holders would be able to opt out of this provision.
- Libraries and archives should be permitted to make a limited number of copies, as reasonably necessary, to create and maintain a single replacement or preservation copy. This alteration to the current three-copy limit would, among other things, enable libraries to more securely preserve digital materials, which often involves making copies.
(reprinted with permission) [JJ]
March 28, 2008
Jarmon's List of Resources for Visual Learners
Many students have higher scores for visual learning than verbal learning when they take learning style assessments. Amy Jarmon (Texas Tech) provides a list of resources for visual learners on Law School Academic Support Blog. [JH]
January 23, 2008
OEDb's Online College Rankings 2008
OEDb has just published its second Annual Online College Rankings. Data was gathered for eight different metrics — acceptance rate, financial aid, graduation rate, peer Web citations, retention rate, scholarly citations, student-faculty ratio, and years accredited. The top five schools are:
- Upper Iowa University
- LeTourneau University
- Liberty University
- Nova Southeastern University
- California University of Pennsylvania
Ah, the only school I ever heard of before reading this ranking was Nova, a school I would expect to see highly ranked. It would be interesting if OEDb followed up this survey with detailed profiles of the top five (or ten) schools.
Some Questions. I'm not real sure about some of the metrics used for this ranking.
Years of Accreditation, why? OEDb explains on its Methodology page, "we looked at how long it had maintained its accreditation status, since a longer period of accreditation implies more name recognition and prestige, as well as the continual competence of the college's administration." Perhaps all those reasons are true but I do not believe they are relevant. If Harvard jumps into the online college game, it would automatically be ranked first. A better metric might be how long the institutions have been offering more than x-number of eCourses.
The Peer Web Citations is interesting. Using Yahoo! Search's linkdomain:example.edu site:.edu -site:example.edu backlink command, OEDb determined how many times a particular college's website is linked to by other college's websites but I'm not sure what this tells us. Is it really "a proxy for a college's relative status among other colleges?"
The Scholarly Citations metric is seriously flawed. OEDb used Google Scholar instead of readily available humanities, social science and physical science citation indexes. Google Scholar simply isn't a comprehensive enough source to produce a reliable indicator of the quantity, quality and importance of faculty published research. From what I can tell, no date restrictions were used so there is a clear bias towards older schools. (I doubt it is necessary to count 25-50-100 year old citations in the context of ranking colleges that offer online courses.)
OEDb writes (and I agree): "while this methodology may be imperfect, as is any methodology of this nature, we do want to stress that at the very least it is quantitative and objective, relying solely on hard data as opposed to subjective interpretation." Hopefully, future rankings will eliminate the Years of Accreditation metric and find an alternative for Google Scholar. [JH]
January 22, 2008
Using Blogs Instead of Propriety eCourse Management Services
OSU law professor Douglas Berman, blogger at Sentencing Law & Policy and Law School Innovation, is using a blog to support his 1L Legislation course this Spring. He has used a blog for course support before. See his upper level Death Penalty course blog. About blogging for his 1L Legislation course, Berman writes
Though the course is a relatively innovative part of the Ohio State curriculum, it is a classic large 1L lecture course. I am much less confident that this blog (rather than a propriety law-school-support technology like TWEN) will be an ideal tool for me and the students. But I'll never know the blog potential (and drawbacks) for traditional courses unless I try this out.
I created both course blogs for Berman and each time I've asked him why he isn't using TWEN. Berman wants his students to be exposed to the world outside of Westlaw resouces, the "West First" mentality I referred to in an earlier post. The public can watch this demonstration project by visiting Berman's Legislation Course (at) Moritz College of Law. Check it out.
See also Gene Koo's Blogs as Teaching Tools : CALI/Berkman Lunch Wrapup. [JH]
January 18, 2008
Should Law Profs Require Student Blog Participation?
That's the question Adjunct Law Prof Blog editor Mitchell Rubinstein asked after noting that Barry Law School Adjunct Professor Marc John Randazza gives credit for student participation on his blog, The Legal Satyricon. The question has created a mini-dust storm in the blogosphere. Check out the comments to Rubinstein's original post and the following posts and their comments:
- Susan Cartier Liebel's post, Knickers Are Twisting Over Innovative Adjunct Telling Students They MUST Blog on Build a Solo Practice
- Scott Greenfield's post, Adjunct Accused of Misblawgary on Simple Justice
- Randazza's Post
- And Rubinstein's follow-up post on Adjunct Law Prof Blog
December 05, 2007
New Learning 2.0 Book: Blended Learning in Higher Education
"As online tools become more ubiquitous inside and outside the classroom, and the growth of distance learning continues, education researchers have begun to focus on how best to harness new technologies. Advocates for the classical lecture experience still exist, of course, but the general trend has been toward incorporating various technologies into the classroom, from course management software to digital photography. One approach, called “blended learning,” mixes traditional “face to face” techniques with cutting-edge developments in theory and technology.
A new book, Blended Learning in Higher Education: Framework, Principles, and Guidelines (Wiley, 2008), summarizes the current theory behind blended learning but offers practical guidelines (with examples) on how to transform existing courses into the new framework. The authors, D. Randy Garrison and Norman D. Vaughan, of the University of Calgary, discuss the ideal conditions for a blended learning experience, how a blog and a wiki can enhance a class and how exclusively face-to-face encounters can lead to short attention spans."
November 19, 2007
IBM Launches Its First Video Game, Innov8, to Model Business Processes
IBM has launched its first videogame. Innov8 is an interactive virtual world, similar to Second Life, that IBM bills as a Business Process Management (BPM) Simulator to explore Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA).
"Since practically everyone I've encountered in the business sector has a different explanation for what an SOA is and how it works, I'm thinking [Innov8] might be a smart move for IBM," says Wired's Terrence Russell.
Here's the trailer for Innov8:
Ian Williams |VNU.net| writes:
Manchester Business School (MBS) is one of the first organisations in the world, and the first university in the UK, to use the game. "The games reflect our commitment to breaking down the barriers between business theory and practice," said Linda Macaulay, a professor at MBS.
"It is an ideal learning tool for students, for whom gaming is second nature, to tackle real-world business issues in a virtual environment.
"By working with IBM in this way we will be able to give students a headstart to compete successfully in business."
Video game marketing consultants The Apply Group said that between 100 and 135 Global Fortune 500 companies will have adopted gaming for learning by 2012, with the US, UK and Germany leading the way.
"IBM views serious gaming as a new and exciting way to develop the skills that are required as business and IT become more closely aligned," said Sandy Carter, vice president of SOA and WebSphere strategy, channels and marketing at IBM.
Is it just a matter of time until video games become part of a law school education?
Neal R. Axton, Reference Librarian, William Mitchell College of Law
November 14, 2007
University Business Webinar Today: Is classroom technology working?
Enhanced Classroom Teaching & Learning: How do we know it’s working?
Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at 2pm, EST
This University Business web seminar is free to attend but pre-registration required. For more information and to register, please visit www.universitybusiness.com/webseminars [JH]
November 06, 2007
Happy Birthday, CALI!
CALI just turned 25, which is like 258.36 in computer years. The press release is here and a nice walk down memory lane complete with screen shots is here. My personal favorite is 1996 - excellent graphics! Congratulations, CALI, and here's to 25 more years.
October 12, 2007
Librarians and Publishers Hope to Simplify eResources Negotiations
"For many college librarians, the annual process of placing orders and negotiating licenses for online journals and other electronic resources is far too cumbersome and time-consuming.
"Part of the problem is that libraries often negotiate different license agreements with each entity that provides them electronic content," says Deborah R. Gerhardt, copyright and scholarly-communications director of libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Each license can contain dozens of intricate provisions: Are faculty members permitted to place journal articles on electronic course reserve? Under what circumstances, if any, will off-campus users have access to the material?
Those licenses can take many hours to draft and negotiate, Ms. Gerhardt says -- which means that orders for new journals can sit on a librarian's desk for weeks. Small colleges and publishers, she adds, often lack the legal resources to maneuver through the licensing process.
But relief may be on the horizon. Several weeks ago, a coalition of librarians and publishers began to experiment with a radically simplified method of purchasing electronic materials. Libraries and publishers can now agree to use the "Shared E-Resource Understanding," or SERU, a five-page document that lists a few dozen stipulated points. (For example: "The subscribing institution will employ appropriate measures to ensure that access is limited to authorized users and will not knowingly allow unauthorized users to gain access." (for subscribers) [RJ]