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Monday, June 7, 2010

Adding On-Line Lectures

Summer term here at SIU starts in less than a week, and I'm teaching a basic trial ad course, primarily to rising 3Ls. Because of a scheduling glitch with the registrar's office, the arcane details of which I still don't fully understand, I learned after registration had closed that I was going to have to split the class into two sections and hold class an additional day each week.

I have no adjunct support for the summer term. Furthermore, the notification from the registrar's office came with only a couple of days left before finals Spring semester, so we had to come up with a quick solution that would not inconvenience the students and would maximize resources and available time.

Our associate dean was a tremendous help to me in formulating a solution to our problem that would neither inconvenience the students nor run afoul of university or ABA rules. Rather than meeting in person for that extra day, I will instead offer on-line materials for the extra day. ABA rules permit up to 1/3 of a class to be presented electronically (podcasts, webcasts, computer instruction, etc.) without having to comply with distance learning rules.

So--here's what we're doing. There are four class meetings scheduled each week:

1) A plenary class session on Mondays, with both sections in attendance.

2) A lab on Tuesdays for section 1.

3) A lab on Wednesdays for section 2.

4) The remaining required class session will consist of on-line lectures from the Stetson ARC, as well as a couple of extra assignments and exercises.

What I hope to do is have the students get all lecture material from the ARC. That way, when we meet in our plenary sessions on Monday, I can have maximum time available for drills and critiqued student performances. This will permit the students to practice and improve before their graded performances in the labs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

In my case, the on-line stuff from Stetson is a good fit because I use Charlie Rose's book.

I finalized the syllabus together over the weekend, and I think the on-line component of the class should work out well. I'm excited to try it, because I've always found it difficult to balance necessary substantive lectures with the time needed to critique students and give them a meaningful opportunity to improve.

Has anyone else tried something similar? If so, what did you think?


  1. At Stetson we have been using a supplemental online component for several years now. For the most part it works well. The trick is in making certain that you have a proper quality control of the online information.

  2. This is where I'm taking a real leap of faith! :)

    Actually, I think the ARC has already done this. I haven't found a bad lecture yet. I've assigned lectures from a variety of lecturers. Charlie, of course, has lectures keyed to his book, but there are also other lectures with different perspectives for each of the advocacy skills.

  3. Our hope when we created it was to showcase very differnt styles and attitudes about teaching various skills. I think of it as an "open source" approach to creating teaching notes. The idea is to reach the student, and a core value in doing so is that students are not now, and have never been, a one size fits all.

    It is a living resource, but we are happy with it to date.