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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Course Preparation Project: Part 1: Choosing a Casebook

The first step in the course preparation process is choosing a casebook.  For a new professor, the choice of a casebook sets the tone for the entire course.  It's extremely important to choose a book that matches one's pedagogical goals, as the casebook provides all or most of the material for the course.  Changing a book is difficult and time-consuming, creating a level of lock-in after the initial choice has been made.  But with dozens of books available and bookstore deadlines looming, the choice can often feel rushed and incomplete.

This first part of the course preparation project will involve a series of posts -- one for each course -- in which new, junior, and experienced professors can discuss the process of choosing a casebook.  Each post will essentially be a host for discussion in the comments. 

Here are some suggestions for your comments:

  • Professors New to the Course:  Why are you teaching this course?  What are you looking for in a casebook?  What did you like or dislike about casebooks you've used (as a professor or student) in the past?
  • Experienced Professors: How did you choose your casebook?  What do you like and dislike about it?  Do you use any of your own separate materials?
  • Casebook authors: What is unique about your book?  What were your goals in constructing the book?  How should a new professor use your book?

Statutory supplements and other texts will be considered in the next set of posts.

Also, folks who are just starting out should make sure to order a set of the relevant casebooks from the legal casebook publishers.  Here is the information for the bigger presses:

Be sure to call and order your complimentary review copies.

Posted by Matt Bodie on May 10, 2007 at 03:29 PM in Teaching Law | Permalink


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