Using Open-Source, Collaborative Online Reading to Teach Property

19 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2020 Last revised: 2 Oct 2020

See all articles by Timothy McFarlin

Timothy McFarlin

Samford University - Cumberland School of Law

Date Written: October 8, 2019


Would you like students to read more before class? Read more deeply and critically? Help each other do that? Would you like a window into their thoughts, interests, and questions while they read? The ability to respond to them in real-time? Then read on.

Would you like more control over your course material? Stop hopping around the casebook? Speak directly to your students in their readings? Make their legal education more affordable? Then continue.

This essay relates my early experiences in adapting an open-source (free of charge) book to my Property course and having students read it using a collaborative online platform called Perusall. While I believe this will particularly interest Property teachers, I also think it useful for anyone, teaching any course, intrigued by the questions above.

Note: 3/20/20 note: Though this essay was written this past fall, the collaborative online reading discussed here—done via—can be put to quick and good use in online classes during the coronavirus crisis.

Suggested Citation

McFarlin, Timothy, Using Open-Source, Collaborative Online Reading to Teach Property (October 8, 2019). 64 St. Louis University Law Journal 355 (2020), Available at SSRN: or

Timothy McFarlin (Contact Author)

Samford University - Cumberland School of Law ( email )

800 Lakeshore Dr.
Birmingham, AL 35229
United States

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