Thursday, August 23, 2018
Law.com, Denver Law Joins the Hybrid J.D. Trend:
More law schools are transforming their part-time programs to hybrid formats, with the University of Denver Sturm College of Law as the latest to go that route.
The school this month launched its new hybrid professional part-time J.D. program, which combines online and in-person coursework, with 35 students.
Students will come to campus eight weekends each semester for live instruction, with online classes offered in between. The hybrid program replaces the school’s traditional part-time program, where students attend classes on campus. The change is designed to make the program more accessible to working professionals and those with family commitments, according to the school.
While some schools have shut down their part-time programs in recent years as J.D. enrollment overall has waned, others have replaced traditional and evening part-time programs with hybrids, as online education gains credibility.
Loyola University Chicago School of Law announced in 2015 that it was ending its night program and replacing it with a weekend program that combines in-person and online instruction. Seton Hall University School of Law followed suit the following year. And Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center also launched a hybrid weekend J.D. program this fall. ...
Still other schools have received variances from the American Bar Association to exceed its limits on J.D. credits earned through online courses, including Mitchell Hamline, Syracuse University College of Law, Southwestern Law School and the University of Dayton School of Law. Regent University School of Law has also requested a variance, though the ABA has yet to announce a decision.
It remains to be seen whether newly adopted rules allowing more online credits will speed the movement toward hybrid programs. The ABA this month increased the allowable number of online credits from 15 to as many as 30 and dropped its prohibition on online courses during the 1L year. (The new rule stipulates that up to a third of credits may be taken online, which will range from 28 to 30 at most law schools.) That change will enable hybrid programs that don’t rely on ABA variances to shift more coursework online.