Paul L. Caron

Friday, December 28, 2012

Harvard Law School Offers First Free Online Course

Harvard Law School LogoNational Law Journal:  Harvard Law Offering First Free Online Course:

How does a free law class taught by Harvard faculty sound?

Harvard Law School is accepting applications for its first online course via edX—a new online education venture between six leading universities. The 12-week copyright course begins on January 28 and will be open to 500 students. Applications for a spot in the free class, taught by William Fisher III, director of Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, must be received by January 3.

The course is not a MOOC, or massive open online course, in which hundreds or thousands of students complete an online course largely on their own. Instead, the edX copyright course is intended to mimic a traditional Harvard law class. Students will be broken into smaller sections of no more than 25, and a former or current student of Fisher's will facilitate discussions among section members in real time. Students will also take a three-hour test, just as regular Harvard law students do. ...

The group edX was founded six months ago as a nonprofit by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It has since added the University of California, Berkeley; Georgetown University; Wellesley College; and the University of Texas as partners. Its goal is to develop an open-source online learning platform for online education. Thus far, all of the edX courses are free.

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I can never know enough, unlike Michael W. Perry. Mr. Perry has put strong limits to his creative side!

Posted by: Karam | Dec 31, 2012 5:25:56 PM

As a writer, editor and publisher that course is very tempting, particularly the Harvard label. But as their webpage notes, they're expecting students to devote at least 8-hours a week to preparation and participation. I just don't have that sort of time.

Besides, mostly working pro se, I whipped in Tolkien estate in Seattle federal court in a dispute over my Lord of the Rings chronology, Untangling Tolkien. I created a good enough case for fair use, the opposing law firm bailed out rather than face concurrent motions for summary judgment.

After that experience, studying copyright law would be a bit like taking Basic Mountaineering 101 after doing Everest. I already know more about copyright than I ever want to have to apply again.

Posted by: Michael W. Perry | Dec 30, 2012 2:21:11 PM

Meh. ABA accreditation standard 306 is still in place, and a degree from an ABA accredited institution is still required by law in most states before you can take the bar.

Posted by: Steven E | Dec 30, 2012 6:52:31 AM