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Monday, July 06, 2020

A New Series of Posts on Remote & Physically Distanced Teaching – Preparing for the Fall and Famous Last Words

In January, I had lunch with a law professor who teaches primarily online, and I told her that I knew nothing about remote teaching.  It just wasn’t something I saw myself getting into, I told her.  I can now file that under “famous last words.” Like most of you, I got a crash course in remote teaching this spring when I had to suddenly take my Securities Regulation course online.  The plan is for me to teach my Civil Procedure classes this fall in-person in a physically distanced classroom, but I obviously need to be prepared to take both classes online if the health conditions change. 

With that in mind, I’ve spent a good part of the summer trying to prepare for whatever the fall will throw at me and the rest of the legal academy.  I’ll admit that I may have gone overboard on this task, reading more books and attending more webinars than is probably healthy.   I’ve done a deep dive into this topic because I’m the Associate Dean for Faculty Development at the University of Richmond School of Law and I want to be a resource for the faculty at my school.  I’ve now collected a lot of good ideas from across the academy and other available resources, and I’d love to share them more broadly.  My series will try to summarize the most helpful ideas I’ve come across and create space in the comments for people to share other ideas as well.

To be clear, I’m certainly not an expert on online pedagogy, and I would never hold myself out as one.  But I am in a similar position to a lot of you – I’ve been a law professor for a while, I care a lot about teaching and pedagogy, and I’ve had to get up to speed fast on how to convert my classes for these new learning environments.   My goal is to share my learning so that we do not each have to recreate the wheel on our own this summer.   

Finally, a word about terminology.   I’ve seen a variety of terms used to describe the new learning environments that we may see in the fall.  For the sake of consistency, I plan to use the following three terms:

  • Physically Distanced Courses: These courses are taught in traditional classrooms with students physically distanced from each other, likely wearing masks.  There may also be a few students participating remotely through a monitor in the room.
  • Remote Courses: These courses are taught fully online through Zoom or another platform.  The sessions may be synchronous, asynchronous, or a combination of the two.
  • Hybrid Courses: These courses are taught through a combination of physically distanced and remote class sessions. 

Stay tuned for a post later this week introducing five steps for creating a physically distanced/remote/hybrid course!

Posted by Jessica Erickson on July 6, 2020 at 05:30 PM in Remote & Physically Distanced Teaching, Teaching Law | Permalink


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