Online Law School Courses Coming Soon?

You could be hard-pressed to find a bigger proponent of using technology in the classroom to enhance the learning experience, from using computers, to tablet devices, and encouraging schools to consider video applications.

As technology expands the classroom, there will no doubt be temptation to further reduce overhead by minimizing the number of classes that are held in person. While I still think using technology is an asset, schools should emphasize face-face interactions, instead of minimizing them with online teaching.

Lawyers need people skills

The best class I took involved role playing with actors, who posed as our clients. There is absolutely no substitute for that type of experience. To make sure we learned from our experience, the professor taped all of our interactions, and we had to watch ourselves and critique accordingly.

Regardless of how self-aware you think you are, watching yourself interact with clients is an invaluable experience. Classes like this are a great example of why person-to-person contact is so important, but also how technology can help students learn.

The best networking is done in person

You might hate that person next to you in law school who chats on IM all day, but that person could be become a great source of knowledge after law school. Sure, you will stay in touch with your friends, but some of the most valuable networking after law school happens with people that you “kinda” knew.

Law school can be a poor predictor of careers—you might be surprised who could end up helping you down the road, if you are nice to them in school. Instead of checking your email every time you sit down for class, try making some small talk.


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  • Online learning has its place, but I don’t think it will—or should—replace actually attending classes in the flesh.

    It seems to be a hot trend mostly because it allows schools to expand without physical changes to the building, so they can bring in more cash with a relatively small investment in technology. It is billed as convenient for students, but it is mostly convenient for the schools’ bottom line.

  • Randall Ryder

    I could not agree more. Enhancing the classroom with technology is good, replacing the classroom is bad.

  • I think that it would have been nice in law school to have at least a few classes offered online, such as legal writing classes or classes like professional responsibility that require students to go over tons of hypos. Many times, our legal writing professor would spend an hour reading over our assignments and handouts, when I could have gotten the material just as easily by reading it and getting down to the important component of the class: writing and getting constructive criticism of my work. Instead, I often felt like we were wasting time in class when we should have been in front of our computers getting practical experience. In addition, I had a professional responsibility class at night after I had worked and taken other classes during the day. I was often exhausted and didn’t always have time to go over hypos before class. It would have been more helpful for me to just go over hypos online and do frequent quizzes rather than hastily go over questions in class.

    In college, I took comparative religion, statistics, chemistry and the history of pop culture using online classrooms, and since the teaching method is different online (frequent quizzes, chat rooms, online forums), I felt like I learned more because I had to focus on what I was reading so that I could give educated responses. In a classroom setting, if I wasn’t listening or didn’t know the answer, the teacher could just move on to the next person and I might have missed out on the information since I was never really pushed to participate fully in the discussion. With online classes, I was forced to read and think about what I was reading well before exam-time because participation was part of my grade. I wouldn’t suggest going to an all-online law school, because I do think the social aspect is beneficial, but I do think that there should be some online classes developed for students who learn better in this type of setting.