Friday, November 18, 2005

The Future of Teaching

What does the future hold for teaching legal research? A recent post on the Legal Writing Institute's Discussion List floated the idea of teaching legal research using online resources without access to a law library. Other list members commented that this is already occurring at online only law schools.

Whenever someone asks whether I will have a job in 10 years because everything will be online I can't help but think of the character Vox from the movie The Time Machine. Vox is the virtual compendium of all human knowledge seen here conducting a reference interview. (image source)

One of the reasons I don't think we will all be replaced by Voxes in the future is because of our teaching role. When we teach we decide what structure to give knowledge and how to impart it. We give students the human interaction they can't get from reading a textbook or clicking around a database.

Another reason we won't be replaced by Voxes is that someone will have to be around to manage such a device. Which leads me to an idea I have been kicking around for some time. At Oklahoma City University we are in the process of becoming an Apple Campus. If and when this happens I will be the technology guinea pig representing the library (ie: a new laptop, iPod and camera to play with, yeah!) One of my ideas is to deliver segments of legal research lectures through digital video and as podcasts. The challenge in doing this it to not cut yourself entirely out of the picture. Could I give out a password during the live lecture for students to come back and watch the lecture online? Surely we can learn something from the entertainment industry about giving away just enough free content online.

Anyone else experimenting with this?

I have really enjoyed being here this week. It has allowed me to pontificate on some things I didn't have time to get to in the article. I now head back to my "normal" blogging role as Contributing Editor of Law Librarian Blog.

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