Sunday, March 16, 2014

A guide for law students on how to win moot court arguments.

This is a new article by the Honorable Gerald Lebovits (a New York City judge) and New York attorneys Drew Gewuerz and Christopher Hunker entitled Winning The Moot Court Oral Argument: A Guide For Intramural And Intermural Moot Court Competitors.  It's available at 41 Cap. U. L. Rev. 887 (2013).  From the introduction:

For nearly every law student, moot court is a new, exciting, and unforgettable experience rooted firmly in real-world advocacy. Moot court is the genesis of a legal career that, regardless of practice area, requires excellent advocacy. An excellent advocate is knowledgeable about the law, masterful in marshalling facts, skilled in the forensic arts, respectful of decorum, compliant with proper procedure, mindful of due process, fair with adversaries, devoted to the client, helpful to the court, honest with everyone, and above all, persuasive.


The process of becoming an excellent advocate is a career-long journey that begins in law school's first-year legal-writing course. Legal-writing courses, which culminate in writing a brief and conducting a moot court-like oral argument, teach students to think like lawyers-a skill fundamental to the practice of law and a necessary attribute to the good administration of justice. That thought process requires first-year law students to read and write in a new language: the language of the law. Instead of thinking, speaking, and writing in legal jargon, “thinking like a lawyer” involves understanding how asking and answering questions can address and resolve uncertainties and ambiguities. Oral arguments, a highlight of first-year legal-writing courses, teach students advocacy skills to solve legal problems.


Moot court enhances the three most important skills that law schools offer their students: starting an argument with a conclusion, differentiating fact from opinion, and organizing a legal argument by issue rather than by a chronological narrative of the facts. Moot court also teaches students to act professionally and ethically, to apply law to fact, to structure and rank a legal argument by strength, and not to assert losing propositions. By giving law students opportunities to improve their legal research, legal writing, and oral advocacy in a competitive environment, the moot court experience is unlike any other in law school: It prepares students for a competitive world. It is also, perhaps, the law-school activity that most fully develops the skill every lawyer must possess: advocacy. Regardless of practice area, all lawyers must communicate in a way that advances their client's interests, whether in a courtroom or boardroom. Most important, moot court builds character. Every student competitor “will be a better lawyer, and a better person, because of the moot court experience.”


This Article discusses the principles of a successful oral argument and offers strategies for success in a moot court competition, which we define as an appellate-advocacy competition. The guidance in this Article is based on what is usually effective in the highly subjective and often unfair world that is competitive moot court. For every five moot court judges, one will disagree with the advice in this Article, and one will not notice the technique or care at all. We believe, however, that three judges will notice, care, and agree. This Article explains how to appeal to the majority of judges by providing step-by-step instruction to winning the oral round, beginning when the moot court problem is released and finishing post-oral argument.


March 16, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Update on Hofstra's Sharp Decline in Student/Faculty Ratio

Last week, I noted Hofstra's sharp decline in student/faculty ratio over the past year.  It's student/faculty ratio went from 15 to 1 to18.19 to 1 in just one year, a 20% decline.  This is especially surprising since Hofstra's enrollment has been declining, which should cause improvement in its student/faculty ratio.  Although the post received several comments, none satisfactorily explained the decline.

I did receive additional information from a correspondent.  Hofstra's ratios reported to the ABA over the 8-year period from 2006 (which would have covered the ratio for academic year 2005-06) to 2013 (covering AY2012-13) were 18.5; 17.9; 18.7; 15.6; 15.2; 15.4; 15.1; 18.19.  As you can see, Hofstra's student/faculty ratio was relatively steady for four years, then it declined to 18.19 to 1 in one year.

If anyone can explain this, please comment below.

(Scott Fruehwald)  

March 16, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Happy St. Patrick's Day

In honor of the occasion, here are the Irish Rovers singing McNamara’s Band.


March 16, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Passwords Not to Use

Here are the 25 most common passwords of 2013, along with the change in rank from last year.

 1.  123456 (Up 1)

2.  password (Down 1)

3.  12345678 (Unchanged)

4.  qwerty (Up 1)

5.  abc123 (Down 1)

6.  123456789 (New)

7.  111111 ( Up 2)

8.  1234567 (Up 5)

9.  iloveyou (Up 2)

10.  adobe123 (New)

11.  123123 (Up 5)

12.  admin (New)

13.  1234567890 (New)

14.  letmein (Down 7)

15.  photoshop (New)

16.  1234 (New)

17.  monkey (Down 11)

18.  shadow (Unchanged)

19.  sunshine (Down 5)

20.  12345 (New)

21.  password1 (up 4)

22.  princess (New)

23.  azerty (New)

24.  trustno1 (Down12)

25.  000000 (New)



March 16, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

"The Developmental Path Of The Lawyer"

A new article by Professor Michael Cedrone (Georgetown) that readers of this blog may be interested in.  It's available at 41 Cap. U. L. Rev. 779 (2013).  From the introduction:

Important recent examinations of the law school curriculum have called attention to shortcomings in educating about the lawyer's professional role.  In 2007, the Carnegie Foundation issued the seminal report Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law. As is now widely known, Carnegie posits three facets of legal education: a cognitive apprenticeship, which teaches the knowledge or “way of thinking” in law; an apprenticeship of practical skill, which requires students to use and apply knowledge in the context of simulated or actual practice; and an ethical apprenticeship, which considers the ethical principles and public roles and responsibilities of lawyers. The report views this trinity of apprenticeships as the essential elements of a legal education.


The Carnegie Report persuasively demonstrates that law schools are very good at teaching legal doctrine and analysis.  Carnegie recognizes deficiencies in law schools' attempts to teach legal skills in practical contexts but acknowledges that progress has been made in this area, largely through the rise of writing programs and clinical legal education.  In Carnegie's estimation, education for each student's journey of professional identity is the most seriously shortchanged.


Research beyond Carnegie is necessary to appreciate the developmental complexity of law students' paths into professional life. Achieving a mature professionalism requires that students reshape their fundamental ways of thinking and making meaning about the world.  A career in law requires wrestling with the ethical demands of the profession and with conflicts between personal values, the values of clients, and values of the legal system. Law students must recognize the multiple pressures on lawyers as agents in the legal system. These challenges are developmental. Entering the legal profession requires individuals to develop new ways of understanding the world.


. . . .


This Article proceeds in four parts. Part II lays out the experience of a group of 1L students responding to a problem-based exercise in a torts casebook. Although the casebook problem presents a complex and rich fact pattern, it shortchanges important questions about the lawyer's relationship with her clients and the law, and thereby misses opportunities for essential professional and personal development. Part III examines the Carnegie Report and contemporary trends in legal education, noting shortfalls that result from the lack of a developmental perspective. Part IV.A examines social constructivism, a theory which posits that learning the law is a process of socialization and concludes that the social view does not leave adequate room for individuals' developmental capacities. Part IV.B then sets out cognitive-developmental stages of adult development in some detail with the goal of understanding the developmental demands imposed by the professional life. Part V advocates a more developmentally-appropriate law curriculum and suggests what some prominent features of that curriculum might be. The central goal of these suggestions is to educate law students to author their own experiences and to better understand lawyers' roles within and apart from the legal system. This developmental view of legal education aspires to form lawyers who are more fulfilled and satisfied in their life's work, ultimately empowered to pursue their deepest goals.


March 15, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Three Strikes for Legalese

The March issue of the Michigan Bar Journal has reprinted an early column by Joe Kimble and  Joseph Prokop, entitled, “Three Strikes for Legalese.” The column reports on a study in which lawyers and judges were given two versions of  six paragraphs—one in traditional legalese and one in plain English. Not surprisingly, the lawyers and judges preferred the plain English versions. The legalese versions contained some of our old friends:

Obsolete formalisms (Now comes . . .); archaic

words (hereby, hereof ); longer and less

common words (subsequent, submit) instead

of simple, everyday words (later,

send); wordy phrases (above named, prior

to); doublets (by and through, foreseen or

anticipated); abstract nouns (execution,

payment, notification) created from strong

verbs; passive voice (payment will not be

made); long sentences; intrusive phrases;

and negative form. 

You can read more here.


March 15, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Pace Law School offers a plethora of summer legal skills opportunities

If you're a law student looking to hone your lawyering skills, Pace Law School is offering a variety of courses, clinics and externships for credit this summer.  Students from other school are invited to apply  though you will need to provide a letter from your law school indicating you are a student in good standing and that the credits will be accepted by your institution.  Registration closes at the end of March.  Here are some more details and a list of course offerings from the Pace website:

Summer Skills Program

The Summer Skills Program provides current law students from Pace and other law schools with a structured learning environment coupled with hands-on experience in a variety of clinics, externships, simulation courses and specialty practice courses. Through the experiential learning programs, students will have the opportunity to represent clients in real world settings, intern at organizations around the country and the world with real legal issues, or master the skills and techniques of a lawyer through role-playing. Our special skills-enhancing classes allow students to gain practical knowledge in certain specialty practice areas, including those covered by the New York State Bar Exam.


Summer 2014 registration information will be available in late March 2014.  Please contact the registrar’s office at for information as to how to register.


We hope to have you with us this summer!


Prof. Jill Gross
Director of Legal Skills and Professor of Law
(914) 422-4061
Office: P315


SUMMER 2014 Skills Courses


Please click on the individual courses for course description, prerequisites, and information on how to apply and register.  Registration will open in late March 2014.


Externships 6 Credits (5 clinical, 1 academic)

Simulation Courses

Specialty Practice Courses

Students who receive curricular credit may not also receive compensation for their work, including payment directly from the employer or any other stipend or funding such as through Federal Work Study. Registration for clinics and externships is conditional upon prior permission and approval of the professor teaching the course. Students much check each course for any applicable prerequisites and enrollment limits. Students are also encouraged to meet with their financial aid advisors prior to registering for a Summer Skills course to discuss the impact that using financial aid for summer curricular credit will have on future law school loan eligibility.


Visiting students must provide a letter from their Dean or Dean of Students indicating that the applicant is in good standing and that the credits earned through the Pace Summer Skills Program will transfer fully to applicant's law school transcript. We will post the Summer 2014 JD Program-Summer Session Registration Form for non-matriculated and visiting students in April 2014.


*The application deadline for this program has already passed.


March 14, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Plain English Forms for Pro Se Litigants

A number of states already have begun offering pro se parties court forms that nonlawyers can understand and employ. According to a recent article:

Based on a recent study, there are twenty-four states that have

extensive plain language court forms for use in family law and other

areas. Of these, fourteen states mandate their use, and eight states

mandate their acceptance by the courts, but other forms can be used as

well. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have a limited

number of plain language court forms in family law and other areas.

Twelve states, including Washington State, have yet to develop plain

language forms.

Charles R. Dyer et al., Improving Access to Justice: Plain Language Family Law Court Forms in Washington State, 11 Seattle Journal for Social Justice 1065 (Art. 10) (2013).

This article offers detailed guidance on drafting Plain Language forms and would be a great starting point for anyone who wants to help their state improve its judicial services—a good law school project. If you click here, you can find a link to an appendix with a sample “Parenting Plan” form.


March 14, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Are Clinics A Magic Bullet?

Are Clinics A Majic Bullet? by Deborah Cantrell.

In the current conversation about reforming legal education, one of the constant refrains is that law schools must graduate students who are “practice ready.” Commentators go on to argue that for law schools to produce “practice ready” students, they must expand how they offer experiential learning. One potent way to do that is to expand clinical legal education programs. I worry that law schools (and others) are envisioning clinical legal education as a magic bullet that will solve all of the ills and imbalances present in current legal education. In this Article, I demonstrate the unhelpfulness of the phrase “practice ready,” and dismantle the idea that clinical legal education, or any other singularly-focused intervention, can transform legal education. Building from key insights already made in clinical legal pedagogy, however, I offer an alternative vision of legal education as an ecology of learning, in which law school as a whole is understood to be an interconnected and interdependent system that is dynamic, changing and in action. I articulate how understanding law school as an ecology of learning can advance innovative changes — both small and large — leading to graduates who have better chances of flourishing in the legal profession.

March 14, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

American University is seeking to hire two practitioners in residence

Here's the job announcement:

American University, Washington College of Law is seeking applications for Practitioners-in-Residence for academic year 2014-15 in two of our in-house clinics, Civil Advocacy Clinic (formerly called General Practice Clinic) and Women and the Law Clinic. American University’s in-house, “live-client” Clinical Program, comprising nine (9) in-house clinics and serving approximately 240 students per year, is respected for its leadership in scholarship, development of clinical methodology, contributions to increasing access to justice for under-served clients and breadth of offerings.

The Practitioner-in-Residence Program, created in 1998, is a program designed to train lawyers or entry-level clinicians interested in becoming clinical teachers in the practice and theory of clinical legal education. Many graduates of the Practitioners-in-Residence program (approximately 20) have gone on to tenure-track teaching positions at other law schools. Practitioners supervise student casework, co-teach weekly clinic seminars and case rounds, and engage in course planning and preparation with the clinic’s tenured faculty. They also teach a course outside of the clinical curriculum. The Practitioner-in-Residence Program provides full-year training in clinical theory and methodology and a writing workshop designed to assist Practitioners in the development of their clinical and doctrinal scholarship.

Minimum qualifications include a JD degree, outstanding academic record, three years’ experience as a lawyer and membership in a state bar. Salary and benefits are competitive for entry-level faculty positions. American University is an EEO\AA employer committed to a diverse faculty, staff and student body.

Applications consisting of a curriculum vitae and cover letter should be e-mailed to Sarah Warren, Faculty Coordinator, at with copies to Professor Robert Dinerstein, Associate Dean for Experiential Education, Electronic submissions are preferred but you may submit your curriculum vitae and cover letter to the following address:

American University
Washington College of Law
Office of the Dean, Suite 366
4801 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20016

American University is a tobacco and smoke free campus. American University is an Affirmative Action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or protected Veteran status.


March 13, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Ten Talented and Inspiring Teachers

The University of Texas asked its graduates to nominate the ten most talented and inspiring teachers that they had encountered. Although none is a law professor, each offers insights that may help us in our efforts. Please click here to meet them and see what the alumns had to say. Also, please note that with each photo is a place where you can hover and hear the profs speak.


March 13, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Using parentheticals in a brief to persuade

This is a new article by Professor Eric Voigt (Faulkner) on the use of parentheticals in a brief as a tool of persuasion.  The article, Explanatory Parentheticals Can Pack a Persuasive Punch, appears in 45 McGeorge L. Rev. 269 (2013) and here on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

This article focuses on the persuasive use of explanatory parentheticals when citing authority in motions and briefs.

Justice Ginsburg has stated that a “first-rate brief” has citations with “parenthetical explanations.” But many advocates use parentheticals too rarely or ineffectively. They do not know that parentheticals are a rhetorical tool involving three modes of persuasion: logos, ethos, and pathos. Advocates also fail to appreciate that explaining the holding and reasoning of a case in just a few lines requires strong analytical skills. My article informs advocates how to draft and incorporate parentheticals in ways that persuade judges.

My article first explains the theory of why parentheticals persuade judges. To illustrate, effective parentheticals demonstrate an advocate’s command of the law, thus bolstering the advocate’s credibility. My article then sets forth seven guidelines for drafting explanatory parentheticals. Last, it discusses specific ways that parentheticals should be incorporated into motions and briefs when citing cases and statutes, such as proving a rule that was synthesized from several cases and factually distinguishing adverse cases.

This article contains many examples of good and bad parentheticals, which are taken from briefs and motions drafted by top advocates and this author.


March 12, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The National Jurist: Best Law Schools for Practical Training

The National Jurist has just published its Best Schools for Practical Training.  NJ rated the schools on a A+, A, A-, B+, B scale.

Schools that received an A+ (11) or an A (10):

1. St. Thomas (Minneapolis)

2. Northeastern

3. Wisconsin

4. BYU

5. New Hampshire

6. Brooklyn

7. Pepperdine

8. Maryland

9. Baylor

10. Loyola (Chicago)

11. McGeorge

12. Utah

13. Seton Hall

14. Connecticut

15. Temple

16. Northwestern

17. Thomas Cooley

18. Rutgers (Camden)

19. Golden Gate

20. Boston University

21. Liberty

NJ  "used ABA data to calculate the ratio of experiential opportunities per full-time student in clinics, field placements, and simulations (with the ratio of clinical opportunities given the most weight), and added "bonus points" for requiring experiential courses, having a dean of experiential education, and offering experiential "innovations" (capstone courses, pro bono requirements, winter session courses, unique practicums, legal practice programs, and practical court programs)."  (here)

Congratulations to these schools.

(Scott Fruehwald)

March 12, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The SAT is Being Redesigned. Is the LSAT Next?

The College Board is making massive changes to the SAT.  You can read about them here. Do these changes suggest that the current SAT is less than reliable? Having been through college admissions with my offspring, I would answer yes.

We might guess that the LSAT will undergo analogous changes. What would the desire for change tell us about the reliability of the current LSAT? In evaluating potential law students, I would rather look to college GPAs and the leadership roles that the applicants have taken.


March 12, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

"What Makes Lawyers Happy? Transcending the Anecdotes with Data from 6200 Lawyers"

This is a draft of a new article by Professors Larry Krieger (Florida State) and Kennon Sheldon (Missouri - Dept. of Psychological Sciences) available on SSRN here. One of the interesting conclusions drawn by the authors is that public interest lawyers, the group they studied who had with the lowest income, reported being happier than those in the most "prestigious" positions with the highest income levels.

From the abstract:

Attorney well-being and depression are topics of great concern, but there has been no theory-driven empirical research to guide lawyers and law students seeking well-being. This article reports a unique study establishing a hierarchy of five tiers of factors for lawyer well-being, including choices in law school, legal career, and personal life, and psychological needs and motivations established by Self-Determination Theory. Data from several thousand lawyers in four states show striking patterns, repeatedly indicating that common priorities on law school campuses and among lawyers are confused or misplaced. Factors typically afforded most attention and concern, those relating to prestige and money (income, law school debt, class rank, law review, and USNWR law school ranking) showed zero to small correlations with lawyer well-being. Conversely, factors marginalized in law school and seen in previous research to erode in law students (psychological needs and motivation) were the very strongest predictors of lawyer happiness and satisfaction. Lawyers were grouped by practice type and setting to further test these findings. The group with the lowest incomes and grades in law school, public service lawyers, had stronger autonomy and purpose and were happier than those in the most prestigious positions and with the highest grades and incomes. Additional measures raised concerns: subjects did not broadly agree that judge and lawyer behavior is professional, nor that the legal process reaches fair outcomes. Specific explanations and recommendations for lawyers, law teachers, and legal employers are drawn from the data, and direct implications for attorney productivity and professionalism are explained.


March 11, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thomas Jefferson Tells How Big a Scholarship Your LSAT and GPA Will Get You

Thomas Jefferson Tells How Big a Scholarship Your LSAT and GPA Will Get You

In a remarkable act of disclosure, Thomas Jefferson Law School has published a matrix showing how big a scholarship it will guarantee, based on an applicant’s GPA and LSAT. You can read more here. Here is the matrix:

Merit Scholarship Matrix - Fall 2014  

Full-Time Award Amount



Part-Time Award Amount


LSAT   3.5+ 3.0-3.49 2.5-2.99 2.0-2.49   3.5+ 3.0-3.49 2.5-2.99 2.0-2.49
158+   $44,000 $44,000 $44,000 $30,000   $33,000 $33,000 $33,000 $22,500
153-157   $44,000 $37,500 $30,000 $18,000   $33,000 $28,125 $22,500 $13,500
148-152   $37,500 $30,000 $22,500 $15,000   $28,125 $22,500 $16,875 $11,250
145-147   $15,000 $12,000 $10,500 $7,000   $11,250 $9,000 $7,875 $5,250
140-144   $7,000 $5,000 $3,000 $1,000   $5,250 $3,750 $2,250 $750

 Scholarship funding is limited so we encourage you to apply for admission as early as possible. 

Transfer Student Merit Scholarships

Under its new scholarship program Thomas Jefferson offers guaranteed merit scholarships to transferring students based on the student’s first year law school grade point average. A transferring student is guaranteed to retain his or her scholarship as long as he or she remains enrolled and in good standing. There is no need to submit a separate scholarship application.


Transfer Scholarship Amount
Rank Full-Time   Part-Time
Top 20% $20,000   $15,000
Top 30% $15,000   $11,250
Top 40% $10,000  







March 11, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Can Anyone Explain This?

In doing my research on law schools’ 509 disclosures for today’s post, I noticed something odd. For 2013, Hofstra had a student/faculty ratio of 18.19 to 1. I had remembered Hofstra as having a ratio of about 15 to 1 for the last few years, so I decided to double check. For 2012, Hofstra’s student/faculty ratio was 15 to 1. This is a very significant decline of over 20% for one year. (In 2009, it was 15.4 to 1 (U.S. News April 2010).)

Let me give you an example of how much it takes to cause a change this significant in the student/faculty ratio. Say a law school has 1,000 students and 50 faculty (as counted under the ABA standards interpretation 402-1). That school would have a student/faculty ratio of 20 to 1. Assume that next year, the school loses 100 students. The student/faculty ratio would improve to 18 to 1. Instead, assume that the school gained 100 students. The student faculty/ratio would decline to 22 to 1. On the other hand, if a law school had 1000 students and 55 faculty, the student/faculty ratio would be 18.18 to one. This is junior high math.

For Hofstra’s student faculty ratio to have declined 20%, they would have admitted a significant number of new students, lost a significant number of faculty, or a combination of both. Over the last few years Hofstra’s enrollment has declined, and I don’t think they have lost a significant number of faculty members so Hofstra’s decline in student faculty ratio is a mystery. If anyone has an explanation, please make a comment.

(Scott Fruehwald)

March 11, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (7)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Experiential Education Will Not Increase The Cost of Law School

The major argument against the ABA proposal that would require15 credits of experiential courses is the cost. I have previously stated that this is not a valid objection to the proposal because law schools offer many upper division courses with small enrollments. Further research backs up my argument.

I believe that upper division experiential courses should have a maximum of 25 students. (I am not including clinics because they have different requirements.) I have based this maximum on my experience teaching legal writing courses. An ideal student load for a legal writing professor is 45-50 students divided into two sections. (I have taught as many as 62 students in a semester.) Accordingly, I believe that an experiential course should have a maximum of 25 students. (While such a class is grading intensive, it does not require as much individual student attention as first-year legal writing.) Consequently, a reasonable course load for a professor would be two experiential courses or one experiential course and a doctrinal course.

The following is the number of upper division courses consisting of 25 or fewer students and the total number of upper division classes at selected law schools. This information comes from the schools’ 2013 509 disclosures.

Brooklyn 254 of 337

Hofstra 145 of 217

St. John’s 170 of 232

Touro 95 of 148

Cooley 916 of 1059

Louisville 72 of 99

Virginia 194 of 281

Yale 164 of 202

GW 243 of 300

Fl State 115 of 174

Fl Costal 202 of 331

Ave Maria 68 of 105

Loyola La 196 of 268

San Diego 145 of 221

As you can see from the above, all the law schools checked had well over half of their upper division courses with fewer than 25 students. In other words, the small class sizes required for experiential courses should not increase law school costs because law schools already have a significant majority of their upper divisions classes with similar enrollments.

(Scott Fruehwald)

P.S. If anyone knows of an ABA law school that has a majority of its upper division courses with more than 25 students, please let me know, and I will post the information on this blog.

March 10, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tips for improving the "flow" of your legal writing through better transitions

Some great tips from the blog of Ross Guberman, legal writing expert and author of the best selling book Point Made: How to Write Like the Nation’s Top Advocates.   Ross provides several examples from real-life briefs that illustrate how good between-paragraph transitions can be made even better as well as exemplars of "seamless flow in action" by master legal writers.  Click here to read the full post.


March 10, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)

You Create an Online Course. Who Owns It?

You create a MOOC or other online course. Can your university say thank-you and use it as they wish with no regard for you? The answer is controverted, and different schools handle the issue differently:

About 70 percent of  110 higher education institutions surveyed by Jeff Hoyt, an assistant vice dean at Middle Tennessee State University, have already locked in policies about who owns online courses. And only 10 percent let faculty keep sole ownership.

More than a third of universities claim complete control over courses and materials for themselves, the survey found, and another 41percent allow for joint ownership—meaning, for example, that professors might own the course materials they write but their colleges or universities keep the multimedia components.

Fast-growing third-party providers such as the Harvard-MIT collaboration edX, which collects and distributes courses from at least 30 universities around the world, leave the question to be resolved by member institutions.

You can read more at the Hechinger Report. The lesson: Before you engage in creative work, make sure you put all aspects of your agreement in writing.


March 10, 2014 | Permalink | Comments (0)