Paul L. Caron

Sunday, March 8, 2020

The Impact Of COVID-19 On Legal Education

CoronavirusRay Campbell (Peking), The Great Mass Online Teaching Experiment:

For many years, I've been fascinated by the possibilities of online teaching. Things like MOOCs and flipped classrooms seem to offer real opportunities to teach in new and better ways. All the same, I've been busy with other things, and actually making the leap to offering online instruction never quite made the list.

Then came Covid-19. My students are sequestered in apartments all across China, and the Peking University School of Transnational Law campus in Shenzhen is empty. I've chosen not to return to China after the spring festival, but have been hunkered down in Chiang Mai, Thailand, waiting for the situation to gain some clarity. The clarity that has gradually emerged is that we aren't going to be teaching face-to-face for at least a while, and we're taking all our classes online. ...

It's been a challenge to move everything online, but it seems to be working. Here are some quick thoughts. As my experience deepens, I might be back with more thoughts.

Bridget Crawford (Pace), Tips for Teaching Law Classes Online in the Event of a COV-19 Shut Down of Law Schools:

I've been teaching Federal Income Tax and Wills,Trusts & Estates in mixed live/online formats since 2009. I put together a short video [here] for colleagues with thoughts about how to teach law classes in distance formats, whether synchronous or asynchronous, if the public health situation requires us to do so. The video does not address technology issues (i.e., what format is best for any one particular class), but rather offers thoughts on big picture issues/concerns when moving a traditional law class on line. A few of the tips are idiosyncratic to my school (i.e., who to ask for help supporting a particular program), but most of the tips are applicable across the legal academy.

To summaries, my tips are these: ...

Orly Lobel (San Diego), Coronavirus & Academia:

As academics we travel quite a bit, probably too much for what is responsible energy wise. So cutting back air travel seems like a wise idea even under normal circumstances. But I am wondering how others are deciding about their upcoming professional travels.

There are also so many questions that can and should be asked about the viral spread that law professors can put on their agenda. Here are some:

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Thinking About Higher Education, Legal Education, and Covid-19:

[W]hat can higher education do? Some have thoughts elsewhere, and, to be sure, many with many good ideas should be heeded. ... [H]ere are a few thoughts, inspired by Prof. Karen Grepin’s Twitter thread.

Anticipate the local disruption of canceled study abroad programs. ...
Begin recording or live-streaming lectures now. ...
Accommodate sick leave for students and staff. ...
Increase exam flexibility. ...

I don’t have great answers. I only offer a few thoughts and hope universities and law schools are anticipating these big-picture changes that could happen in a very short time period and that could have lingering effects through the 2020-2021 academic year.

In a sign of the times, Monday's faculty workshop by Kathleen Delaney Thomas (North Carolina) to present her latest paper, Taxing Nudges, at Washington & Lee has been cancelled due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

For complete TaxProf Blog coverage of the coronavirus, see here.

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