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Law Teaching and Social Sofware

Teachers in all disciplines are working through how best to incorporate presentation software and internet tools into the classroom experience. Some are working with course blogs as well. I’ve started to collect interesting examples from law schools: Lydia Loren at Lewis & Clark; Larry Solum at San Diego (before he moved to Illinois); and this spring, Ed Lee at Ohio State each has asked students to participate in course blogs. At Harvard, Jonathan Zittrain and Charlie Nesson have a cyberlaw course wiki up and running.

For the teachers, it’s fun to watch the experimenting, and for students who are enthusiastic about the subject matter and comfortable with the technology, it’s a lot of fun. I think that we can expect to see more of this sort of thing, and more variety, both in law schools and in other disciplines. For all I know, of course, once again law is behind the educational curve. Are course blogs common outside of law schools?

More generally: Where is this taking us? How do these tools intersect with other teaching technologies (email, chat, presentation software, podcasts)? Do they signal (again) the gradual erosion of face-to-face teaching? How narrowly or broadly should they be used? Should they be mandatory or optional for students in a given course? Do they belong in the first year (or introductory courses) as well as in the upper level?