Yvonne Dutton and Shawn Boyne, IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Principal Investigator: Yvonne Dutton, associate professor, IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Co-principal Investigators: Shawn Boyne, professor, IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Project Title: Innovating Existing Online Courses for Practice Readiness

Funding Level: $10,000

Abstract:

This project will enhance the IU McKinney School of Law’s online programming on a macro level by implementing a range of innovations in several existing online courses that have been delivered, or are being delivered presently, to law students. The target is “practice readiness.” Law students face an employment environment in which lawyering skills are highly valued at the entry level. In addition, law schools’ primary accrediting agency has imposed requirements of practice readiness in the curriculum. The innovations targeted here will improve learning outcomes while also addressing regulatory requirements improve learning outcomes while also addressing regulatory requirements. The School of Law has substantial experience delivering live experiential learning to its students. Online pedagogical techniques that offer opportunities for students to engage in practice-ready exercises have much promise as complements to live experiential offerings. Indeed, the online environment provides students the chance to practice legal skills and communicate their application of legal knowledge in a distance environment. This is important because today’s graduates will not only interact “in person” with courts, clients, and colleagues; they will also frequently interact “online.” Experiential practice-ready teaching and learning may be the most natural pedagogical technique in online law teaching.

The ultimate goal to be achieved in continually innovating in online teaching at IU McKinney is to establish a “signature pedagogy” for a legal education with a technically sophisticated student body and employer base. The practice-ready innovations we seek to develop with this round of grant funding are a step toward that result.