COVID-19 and Law Teaching: Guidance on Developing an Asynchronous Online Course for Law Students
27 Pages Posted: 19 May 2020 Last revised: 22 May 2020
Date Written: May 18, 2020
Most law schools suspended their live classroom teaching in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and quickly transitioned to online programming. Although professors can be commended for rapidly adapting to an emergency situation, some commentators have nevertheless suggested that the emergency online product delivered to students was substandard. Based on our own experiences in designing and delivering online courses, we caution against embracing a broad-reaching, negative conclusion about the efficacy of online education. Indeed, much of this emergency online programming would be more properly defined as “emergency remote teaching,” as opposed to “online education.” Delivering online education to students involves more than giving the same classroom lecture on Zoom. Online education requires professors to design their courses to be delivered at a distance, with the goal being to create a course driven by pedagogy using technological tools to inform and enhance the learning experience. COVID-19 is going to be with us for the foreseeable future, and because some schools might be unable to bring all of their students back into the classroom in the fall, we urge faculty to prepare to deliver their courses online. Law schools and faculty should not wait for another emergency and should prepare to deliver at least some of their courses online in the fall. To aid with this transition, this Article offers some guidance on how to develop and implement an effective asynchronous distance-learning course for law students.
Keywords: online education, COVID, teaching, distance learning
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