Paul L. Caron

Friday, February 19, 2021

Santa Clara Hosts Virtual Conference Today On Defunding Casebooks

Santa Clara hosts a virtual conference on Defunding Casebooks today from 12:00 - 1:30 PM PT:

Santa Clara Law (2021)The conference will kick off efforts to broaden the movement to replace the for-profit casebook model with one that engenders collaboration amongst law professors, broadens the scope of those whose stories and issues are included in the legal curriculum, and saves students significant financial resources. To RSVP to the conference, CLICK HERE. For more background on Santa Clara Law’s development of an open-source criminal law casebook, CLICK HERE.

This will be a working meeting, with brief plenary sessions leading into subject-specific breakout sessions/working groups.

The shortcomings of static, for-profit casebooks–or why open-source, modular casebooks makes life better and easier for professors and students.

Here, we’ll discuss the inherent flaws of the existing for-profit casebook system. Casebooks have long been a costly, wasteful investment for students. They’re also sub-optimal for most law faculty.  Many of us spend a lot of time and effort teaching against the book, supplementing it with our own materials for many reasons, including the extent to which the established casebook cannon still fails to prioritize issues of diversity and inclusivity in case selection and articles. New editions often add little other than extra work updating syllabi and diminished resale value for students.

How to create open-source, modular, collaborative materials.

During this part of the workshop, we will describe how we (and others) have developed open-source casebooks–the ease with which we borrowed from existing open-source materials, the ways in which we selected new cases and materials, and information about existing platforms. The bottom line is this: for those who’ve learned to teach on Zoom, creating an open-source casebook is a cakewalk.

After a brief plenary discussion, we will break into small groups to facilitate subject-specific collaboration amongst those who want to begin working together on revising, creating, and sharing materials in given subjects.

The larger vision.

We will close the conference by considering ways we might build a national movement around defunding casebooks. We’re hoping you’ll be convinced, as we are, of the obvious social justice ramifications of the open-source movement. Casebooks are expensive and consist largely of open-source cases, and the shift to open-source, collaborative casebooks enables all of us to build stronger, values-aligned teaching materials. Together, we’ll brainstorm next steps.

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