Friday, January 22, 2010

Scholarship alert: "Confronting cliches in online instruction: using a hybrid model to teach lawyering skills."

This article comes to us from Professor Joseph Rosenberg of CUNY Law School and can be found at 12 SMU Sci. & Tech. L. Rev. 19 (2008).  From the introduction:

There is no longer a debate about the value of teaching lawyering skills in law school. The mainstream now includes teaching the value of integrating theory, doctrine, and practice in order to prepare students to be excellent lawyers. What continues is the debate over the value of online teaching and learning. Even as online learning and distance education proliferate, legal academies have banned laptops and disabled Internet access out of fear that the cyberspace universe will permanently distract students. The debates over online learning can be reduced to clichés that revolve around two opposing groups. The first group, the “naysayers,” are skeptical of any technology that interferes with face-to-face human interaction, and they worry about the danger of online learning. The second group, the “enthusiasts,” are true believers in technology, and they are certain the future has arrived with online classes, programs, and universities that promise, and deliver, a cure for much of what ails the modern education enterprise.  The naysayers point to a variety of problems associated with online learning, including the impersonal nature of computer-mediated communication, the excessive cost in human and financial resources relative to the questionable benefits, and the possible demise of the traditional paradigm of the classroom and the academy. The enthusiasts, on the other hand, see online learning as a means to overcome the constraints of space, time, and distance, broaden access to higher education, create opportunities for innovative teaching, and engage students in active learning. Some enthusiasts also see online learning as a means to generate profits. As is typical with opposing sides in a debate, these conflicting points present a false dichotomy. For example, most people involved in the educational process are dependent on computer technology, but even “techno-geeks” still seek meaningful human connection. In sum, most of us are hybrids, meaning that we exhibit certain characteristics from both schools of thought. It is not surprising, therefore, that a hybrid course, one that combines online and face-to- face classes, would seem so promising.

I am the scholarship dude.


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