Part 1 [PowerPoint ]

Distance Education: Implications for
Physical Facilities
Bricks, Bytes And Continuous Renovation
ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar
Law School Facilities Committee
March 2006
Dean Barry Currier
Concord Law School
Concord website, usually:
For the moment:
Concord is a …
Law School
Why Me?
• A Surprising Choice?
– Dean of a cyberspace law school
– Never taught an online class
• But:
– Long-time interest in distance learning
– Had a hand in the development of Standard 306
– Relevant experience in fixed-facility world
– Good understanding of Concord LMS and program
– New gig provides opportunities to understand how nonlaw school world is embracing distance learning
• Show Up Anywhere to Say a Few Words About Concord
Distance Learning: the Continuum
• Distance learning: separation between students and
teacher in time or space
• A variety of ways to use contemporary distance learning
approaches and technologies:
– Class supplement
– Hybrid course
– Fully online course
– Hybrid degree program
– Fully online degree program
= Correspondence
= Concord
= A Course
= Classroom
Distance Learning is Coming to
a Law School in Your
In Fact, You Are Already Doing It
• Student-teacher and student-student
interactions: TWEN, LEXIS/Blackboard, Email, BBS, classroom components of
semester-long clinics/ externships, CALI
• Plus: administrative systems (registration,
paying fees), library/legal information,
school calendars, take-home exams,
career service interviews
ABA Standard 306:
What the Law of Law Schools (Now) Allows
• No more than 12 credits of Distance Learning courses may
count toward JD
• No more than 4 of these units allowed in any one semester
• No distance learning in 1L
• Up to 1/3 of the work for which credit is awarded can be by
distance learning before a course becomes a “D”“L” course
that counts against the 12 credits [Int. 306-3]
• Interpretations require interactivity, infrastructure, support,
training, plan [Int. 306-4, -5, -6, -8]
Accrediting Community Accepts Distance Learning
Regional Accrediting Commissions’ Statement of Commitment for the
Evaluation of Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs
Technologically mediated instruction offered at a distance has rapidly
become an important component of higher education…. The approach of
the regional commissions to these emergent forms of learning is expressed
in a set of commitments aimed at ensuring high quality in distance
As the higher education community increasingly expands educational
opportunities through electronically offered programming, the regional
commissions are committed to supporting good practice in distance
education among affiliated colleges and universities. Doing so is in keeping
with their mission to encourage institutional improvement toward a goal of
Accrediting Community Accepts Distance Learning
Best Practices for Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs
… The[se] Best Practices … are not new evaluative criteria. Rather they explicate how the
well-established essentials of institutional quality found in regional accreditation standards
are applicable to the emergent forms of learning; much of the detail of their content would
find application in any learning environment. …
These Best Practices are divided into five separate components:
1. Institutional Context and Commitment. Electronically offered programs both support
and extend the roles of educational institutions….
2. Curriculum and Instruction. Methods change, but standards of quality endure. The
important issues are not technical but curriculum-driven and pedagogical….
3. Faculty Support. …[F]aculty roles are … increasingly diverse…. For example, the same
person may not perform both the tasks of course development and direct instruction to
4. Student Support. …[T]he twenty-first century student is different, both demographically
and geographically, from students of previous generations. These differences affect
everything from admissions policy to library services. Reaching these students, and
serving them appropriately, are major challenges….
5. Evaluation and Assessment. Both the assessment of student achievement and
evaluation of the overall program take on added importance as new techniques evolve. For
example, in asynchronous programs the element of seat time is essentially removed from
the equation. For these reasons, the institution conducts sustained, evidence-based and
participatory inquiry as to whether distance learning programs are achieving objectives. …
Virtual High School Marketing is Booming
Online Degree and Certificate Programs are Growing
Online Learning is Here, Here to Stay and
Working Well in the University Environment
• > 2.6 millions students studying online (Fall 2004 semester),
up 37% from Fall 2003
• 88% of higher education institutions report that online learning
is “important” or “very important” for long term strategic plan
(92% of doctoral/research universities).
• 97% of institutions report that students are as or more
satisfied with online courses as with face-to-face courses.
Entering the Mainstream: The Quality and Extent of Online
Education in the United States, 2003 and 2004 (The Sloan
Distance Learning in Legal Education: Neither the
Perfect Solution Nor the End of Life as We Know It
• Distance learning done well adds interest, depth, and perspective
that can make the traditional environment better; focus on how to
use distance learning it effectively in our law schools.
• We can learn to live well with distance learning in law schools by:
– Remaining curious and skeptical about all teaching
methodologies, not just distance learning; and
– by considering that
• it’s evolution, not revolution
• it’s additive, not substitutional
• there are lots of possibilities (e.g., hybrid programs)
• it works well in many contexts – people and program
matter more than format
• facts count, but so does what your intuition tells you
Facilities Implications
• More or less?
• Flexible
• More individual, semi-private space (cubicles
where students can take a class online –
watch, type, listen)
• Small group space (classes; projects)
• Larger classroom space for remote professor
• More tech space
• Power, power everywhere
• 24/7 access
• Library – facilitate remote access and
use of collection, including document
• Support remote delivery of services –
registrar, career services
• Parking to facilitate coming/going
• Facilitate meetings – faculty, staff, students –
done remotely
• Facility that embraces connection of school
with community and lives of students, faculty,
• More branch and satellite facilities, taking
school to where students, faculty, staff are
rather than the converse
• Accommodates many modes, many providers
Concord Law School:
A Brief Introduction and Overview
Concord’s Corporate Context
Concord Basics
• Began in 1998, California “correspondence school”
• Four-year, part time J.D. program; also an EJD,
non-bar track degree option
• Graduates can take California Bar Exam
• DETC accredited
• Enrollment: 1,400+ JD; 300+ EJD
• Average age is early 40’s; 40% have advanced
• Cost of JD degree: $33,200
• Students in all 50 states and a dozen foreign
countries; 25% are California residents
• Faculty: ~110 professors/instructors (~25 full-time)
ABA Faculty Working with Concord
• Colleagues from a number of ABA law schools participate or
have participated in Concord’s program of legal education
as lecturers, classroom professors, course developers,
• Professors come from a variety of schools including
Arkansas, Cornell, George Washington, Harvard, John
Marshall-Atlanta, Loyola of Chicago, McGeorge, Montana,
New Mexico, New York Law School, North Dakota, Tulane,
Wake Forest, William Mitchell
• A number of full-time Concord faculty have experience as
faculty members at fixed-facility ABA law schools
A Day in the Life of a Student,
Concord Style
Get to School, Arrive at Front Door …
Go On In …
Grab the School Paper …
Get Organized …
Read the Casebook Assignment …
Take a Quiz …
Get Some Feedback on Quiz …
Get Feedback on That Essay You Completed a
Couple of Days Ago…
Listen to a Lecture …
Go to Class …
Check Out a New Case or Reference from
Class, Readings, Lectures …
Participate in Student Life …
• Join SBA, Student Organizations
• Be in a study group
• Hang out in the cyber-hallways, cyberlounges
• Support a fellow student in need
• Raise money for a worthy cause
• Complain about “the administration”
Go to a Lecture or Forum …
Take Exams …
Take Exams …
And If All Goes Well … Graduate
Concord: A Work in Progress
(Like Every Good School)
We need to
Deepen and broaden curriculum
Build a full skills program
Improve Academic Support
Improve Library/Information Resources
– Improve career services
– Increase career opportunities for graduates
– Figure out what “faculty” means in our
context; work on governance
Concord: A Work in Progress
(Like Every Good School)
We want to work with law schools, the
profession, the accrediting/bar admissions
community, publishers, tech community, and
others to:
Expand access to legal education
Make it work better for students
Moderate cost increases
Help protect and improve our legal system and
promote the rule of law throughout the world
California Bar Examination Results
February 2003 – July 2005
Other correspondence*
*Excludes Concord passers/takers
Passing Percentages
1st time
• First –time pass rate and overall pass rate during this time
exceeded the first-time pass rate of 4 California ABA-approved
schools and a number of non-California ABA-approved law schools
with significant number of first-time takers during this period
• Concord’s first-time pass rate was 62% better than all other nonABA California schools and 28% better than other California
correspondence schools
Student Engagement and Satisfaction at Concord
2005 Law School Survey of Student Engagement
53 Law Schools, 21,500+ student responses*
Asked questions/contributed in class
Came to class unprepared (4=never; 1=often)
Provided academic support
Quality of relationships – students (7-1 range)
Quality of relationships – faculty (7-1 range)
Developing legal research skills
Thinking analytically and critically
Working effectively with others
Learning effectively on your own
Solving complex, real-world problems
Encouraged ethical practice of law
Entire educational experience
Go to same school, if had to start over
* Scored from 4 (high) – 1 (low), unless noted