Antony Page, James Nehf, and Margaret Ryznar, IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Principal Investigator: Antony Page, vice dean and professor of law, IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Co-principal Investigators: James Nehf, Leon H. Cloust Fellow and professor of law; and Margaret Ryznar, associate professor of law and dean’s fellow, IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Project Title: Innovating Online Courses to Improve Students' "Practice-Readiness"

Funding Level: $15,000

Abstract:

This project will enhance the IU McKinney School of Law’s online programming on a macro level by implementing a range of innovations in several existing online courses that have been delivered or are currently being delivered to law students. The target is “practice readiness.” Law students face a challenging employment environment in which lawyering skills are highly valued at the entry level. In addition, law schools’ primary accrediting agency, the American Bar Association, has imposed requirements of practice readiness in the curriculum. The innovations targeted here will improve learning outcomes while also addressing regulatory requirements.

The School of Law has substantial experience delivering live experiential learning to its students. Online pedagogical techniques that offer opportunities for students to engage in practice-ready exercises have much promise as complements to live experiential offerings. Indeed, the online environment provides students the chance to practice legal skills and communicate their application of legal knowledge in a distance environment. This is important because today’s graduates will not only interact “in person” with courts, clients, and colleagues; they will also frequently interact “online.” Experiential practice-ready teaching and learning may be the most natural pedagogical technique in online law teaching. This proposal presents a unique twist. Because the three courses at issue are more traditional, “blackletter” law courses, frequently taught in a lecture format in live classroom settings, adding practice-ready, skills development in the online courses will truly maximize the opportunities for practical learning that asynchronous online courses permit.