The Open Casebook Revolution (Presentation Slides)
4 Pages Posted: 23 May 2022 Last revised: 29 Jul 2022
Date Written: May 18, 2022
The open access casebook (OAC) “revolution” (as it was coined in The Faculty Lounge), is gaining momentum. OACs are compiled and edited teaching materials that are freely hosted on websites and as downloadable, searchable, printable, mark-up-able PDFs. In the United States, dozens of OACs are popping up on platforms such as SSRN, Open Textbook Library, eLangdell and H2O. In Canada, CanLII currently hosts two OACs: Professor Noel Semple’s An Introduction to Civil Procedure: Readings (https://canlii.ca/t/t0xd) and my Tort Law: Cases and Commentaries (https://canlii.ca/t/t9st). These materials are freely available alternatives to traditional casebooks.
OACs have clear practical, pedagogical, and societal advantages. On the practical side, compared to traditional casebooks, OACs are simpler to edit, faster to publish, and easier to update. On the pedagogical side, they empower flexibility and innovation. They can be more readily structured to suit the editor’s teaching aims. (My casebook, for instance, ‘follows’ cases through chapters so that they reappear in different topics.) They can link to podcasts 🎧, videos 📺, blogs, news, articles, books, and original judgment transcripts. Readers can keyword search them and highlight text. Students don’t break their backs carrying them (they can be accessed on a tablet or phone). They can also be integrated with quizzes and exam exercises: https://blogs.ubc.ca/beswick/torts-quizzes/. On the social side, being freely accessible OACs advance access to justice. Commercial legal materials are often beyond the reach of the public and, in some cases, students. OACs help to keep the law accessible.
Keywords: coursebook, open educational resources, open source, common law, comparative law, private law, remedies
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