A Distance Education Primer: Lessons from My Life as a Dot.Edu Entrepreneur
30 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2005
This article provides a candid appraisal of my experiences in creating Pace University Law School's pioneering Health Law Distance Education program, the first totally asynchronous legal education program offered by an American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law school. The Pace program offered courses in health law via the Internet, which were accessible 24/7 by law students, lawyers, and health care professionals.
This article is extremely timely in light of the ABA's recent approval of new standards for distance education that permit law students to take twelve credits of law school courses asynchronously. Particularly in rapidly changing fields such as health law, distance learning offers law schools the opportunity to serve judges, the practicing bar, and professionals in the field, and also permits law students to take specialized courses not regularly offered on campus. This article provides an insider's perspectives on the challenges of marketing, developing, and administering a new form of legal education, and offers some cogent lessons to others who are contemplating innovation in this area. These include the need for clearly articulated and widely shared goals in developing a distance education program, the need for legal educators to understand better how students learn, and the need for a well-developed and adequately funded long-term business plan.
Keywords: Distance learning, distance education, health law, health care, Internet, students
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