The Seven Principles for Good Practice in (Asynchronous Online) Legal Education

44 Mitchell Hamline L. Rev.___ (January 2018 Forthcoming)

42 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2017  

Kenneth Swift

University of Houston Law Center

Date Written: April 21, 2017

Abstract

Online courses have become a more prominent segment of the curriculum in many ABA-approved law schools. However, many faculty and administrators are skeptical that online courses are as effective as live classroom teaching and struggle for a way to evaluate the courses.

This article argues that asynchronous online courses can be evaluated using the same criteria as brick-and-mortar courses. As a structure for the evaluation, the article uses The Seven Principles for Good Practice in Legal Education, which were introduced in a series of 1999 articles intended to improve instruction in American law schools and were influential in shaping legal education today.

The article goes through each of the seven principles and first sets forth the original author’s concept and reasoning and then reviews relevant legal education scholarship and debate on the principle since publication. Each principle is then applied to online legal education, using the author’s own courses and experiences in creating and teaching online courses in law schools over the past 10 years for examples and application of the seven principles. The article focuses more heavily on the three principles that are most prominent in current law school teaching and in academic debate: active learning and the case method, cooperative and group learning, and prompt formative assessment.

Keywords: online, legal education, distance learning

Suggested Citation

Swift, Kenneth, The Seven Principles for Good Practice in (Asynchronous Online) Legal Education (April 21, 2017). 44 Mitchell Hamline L. Rev.___ (January 2018 Forthcoming). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2956507

Kenneth Swift (Contact Author)

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

4604 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States

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