Jul 21
2009
5:30 PM

Law Class Uses Wiki as Its Textbook

Law professors struggle with how they can use technology in their classes and teaching. Some professors have banned laptops, saying they can just be a distraction. But in California, one group began teaching law courses using Second Life.

When University of Iowa law professor Lea VanderVelde was preparing to teach a class on employment law last semester, she decided to divide the states up and give a few to each student to research extensively, and to post their work on a wiki site, using Wikipedia software.

By the end of the semester, her class had created a 1,300 page wiki, the largest of any wiki created for use by the university.

Ms. VanderVelde said that in recent years, many of her students brought laptops to class to take notes, and she knew that many of them were online and perhaps perusing Web sites or playing solitaire.

“There’s a huge debate in the university community on whether we should block Internet in classrooms,” she said. “In this classroom, the laptop had a purpose. I gave the laptop a job.” Read more here.

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