Miami Law's Dean Patricia D. White, as well as the deans from the Australian National University College of Law, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, New York Law School, the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, and Southwestern Law School, recently agreed to begin a joint conversation on how law schools can collaborate to use technology more effectively in legal education. The law school deans met in New York on April 15 and 16 for a conference titled "Future Ed." Spearheaded by New York Law School and Harvard Law School, the conference was designed to swap ideas on how to update legal education, increase practice skills training, rein in costs and come up with ways to translate ideas into action.
The deans' discussion group will focus on how law schools might work together to explore ways to facilitate blended and online course and degree programs at these schools and more broadly in legal education; the possible development of a web site to provide access to learning opportunities and information about a wide variety of legal topics; the creation of a marketplace to bring together those who want to build and sell learning objects, activities, and games with students and others who want those opportunities.
"This conversation is about ways to leverage technology to both improve what we do and address cost issues," said Dean White.
When it comes to forging the digital path, Miami Law notably has already begun taking steps to incorporate technology into teaching. Some classes have moved entirely online with cross-global participation from students and faculty members. This semester, a virtual academic model brought together students from law schools on three continents with faculty, practitioners, and entrepreneurs to explore innovation in legal education and practice. Miami Law also offers a distance learning option for its LL.M. in Real Property Development.
As conversations among the deans progress, the focus is expected to include the possibilities of having classes that are more flexible and not necessarily fixed to traditional educational structures, and classrooms that are geared to accommodate a student's online experience that may be reflective of the real-world legal environment.