Educational Technology and the Social Web

June 21, 2008

Laptop Hard drive encryption

Filed under: Education and Technology — Ken @ 2:06 pm

Live blogging from CALI 2008: Thomas Ryan and Timothy Divito from Rutgers School of Law – Camden are discussing laptop encryption. They recommend all deans, department chairs, faculty, clinical staff, admin staff, and clerical staff have encrypted drives. They posit that most laptop thefts are not for the purposes of identity theft but rather for the system itself and that the majority of thefts are inside jobs. Regardless of the impetus, rules and regulations require disclosure of the theft to all who may be affected. This is obviously an undesirable situation.

They reviewed many different products but are highlighting two today: Free CompuSec and Truecrypt. CompuSec’s nicest feature is GlobalAdmin which is a central management system. CompuSec supports Windows (2000, XP, Vista) and Linux and has additional sw packages such as single sign on, encryption of CDs, Floppies and other removable storge, single file encryption, SafeLan (for network storage) and VOIP encryption. Time for encryption: 40GB drive, 3-4 hours, 80GB, 6-7 hours.  

Truecrypt now offers full disk encryption. It is an open source product. It differs from CompuSec in that its original purpose was to encrypt individual files. Accordingly, it’s install is very quick-only two files. TrueCrypt forces you to burn a rescue disk with the key while CompuSec stores this key in a file which you can store anywhere-USB key, network share, CD, etc.  TrueCrypt is recommended for single laptop encryption for advanced users while CompuSec is recommended for multiple systems because you can use the same key for each system. 

It seems easier to deal with full time employees of an institution if the hardware is owned by the school. What is less clear is how schools deal with students who often use their personal machines when working on client files particularly in clinics. What policies and procedures should be in place to protect client data on student machines?  Should schools ban the use of student personal machines when working on client cases?  Should schools provide students with encryption tools?  Or should schools mandate students have encryption software much like they would mandate the use of an administrators password?  There are no easy answers here but it’s clear schools need to do something to address the risk of confidential information becoming exposed due to theft or loss.

June 20, 2008

Radical Evolution

Filed under: Education and Technology — Ken @ 1:40 pm

Book Cover of Radical Evolutio    Live blogging from CALI 2008: Joel Garreau is a student of culture, values, and change. Most recently he is the author of  Radical Evolution  Joel is a reporter and editor at The Washington Post and principal of The Garreau Group, the network of his best sources committed to understanding who we are, how we got that way, and where we’re headed, worldwide. He has served as a senior fellow at the University of California at Berkeley and George Mason University, and is an affiliate of the James Martin Institute for Science and Civilization at Oxford.

OK. Let’s see where this goes. Joel is describing a scenario of super humans, enhanced human beings, silent messaging…this is interesting. He’s arguing that Moore’s Law is leading us to a place where this kind of ability will be possible. Look around, he suggests, Barry Bonds, Dolly the sheep, brain implants, these technologies are here and are advancing fast.

I think I’ll read his book.

June 19, 2008

Joining Deliberate Practice Methods with Technology to Advance Legal Skills Instruction

Filed under: Education and Technology — Ken @ 7:19 pm

Live blogging from CALI 2008:  Larry Farmer is a true proponent of deliberate practice.  His work on using deliberate practice is compelling.  While deliberate practice is not for every type of law class there are subjects where it is applicable.  MediaNotes supports this type of practice.  He developed this software to support deliberate practice in his teaching of interviewing and counseling skills. Students capture their work using MediaNotes and a web camera. Student reviews their video and makes comments on salient moments in the video. Adjunct faculty member reviews video and provides additional feedback. One interesting note…students are told if they excel in the class they will be entered into a pool to participate as adjunct faculty the following year.  Each class, four to five students really buckle down on the work because they want to teach.

Implementing a digital repository using BePress Digital Commons

Filed under: Education and Technology — Ken @ 6:36 pm
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Live blogging from CALI 2008:  This presentation is a view from two schools, University of Georgia Law School and University of Maryland School of Law, about their implementations of BePress’ IR technology.

IR: an institutional repository is a means to collect the intellectual digital output of an organization; includes a variety of formats, provides open access to materials, collects and orgs output into one virtual location.

SSRN v Digital Commons:Digital Commons by BePress
Factors to consider:
Level of promotion: SSRN favors the individual, while digital commons prioritizes the institution.
Depth of Content: SSRN contains only text documents; digital commons allows a variety of file formats to be included.
Search Engine Visibility: SSRN at one time only allowed search engines to look at metadata. This may have changed recently.

Their conclusion: SSRN and DC are not redundant; each serves a different population.

Obtaining Content:
– building buy in is key but you need to build a strategy to promote awareness.  they populated each category with one representative document and included at least one document from each faculty member
– ease of submission is critical. you can deploy direct submission and/or mediated submission. Mediated gives more control over the content.
-Feedback to faculty is provided in digest form on weekly basis.
– Clear content policies should be developed. for example, they created a popular media category to distinguish this from scholarly content. And they encouraged faculty members to set up selected works pages.

Copyright Procedures:
1. Assume permission from your own authors
2. List out all existing publications and sort by type, e.g., journal entry, book, etc. and manage copyright with centrally. Do not put responsibility on the faculty member.
3. Batch requests for contacting each journal to ask permission to upload identified articles both to Digital Commons and the author’s own web page (selected works).
4. For newer works, encourage authors to include these rights in any future publication agreements.

UM School of Law also uses BePress. They include student work as well as faculty.  They use it in a similar moderated manner as University of Georgia.

BePress is a hosted solution and provides a niche service to higher education.

Online Services for your Law School

Filed under: Education and Technology — Ken @ 3:43 pm

Live blogging from CALI 2008:  USC Gould School of Law has implemented iTunes U, You Tube, and Google Apps in the last year.  USC Law relies on central university for network, email, and CIFS. Law students complained about email the most so USC Law IT looked to Google apps for mail. Students have mail, calendaring, documents, and sites, and will eventually have blogs. USC Law decided to move to Google Apps because they felt it would grow with  student expectations.   IT prepared a well rounded training web page but found that most students didn’t need training.  50% of their student body was using Google mail prior to migration. USC Faculty and staff are on Exchange for mail and calendaring. However, USC Law has accepted the issue with subpoenas by agreeing to work with Google’s general counsel to fight the subpoena but since Google owns the content, they ultimately can do what they want.  This is a huge red flag in my opinion.  USC developed a YouTube channel for the purposes of outreach.  They set up a main University channel then each school in the University have their own channel. USC Law is not using it for class recordings yet but has primarily added content for prospective students and advertising.  USC decided to have adds on their videos; YouTube shares 50% of ad revenue with host institution. USC also set up a spot on iTunes U. USC students only see content for the classes in which they are enrolled.  They also have a public view for non-USC students.  Apple limits USC to one terabyte of space.  USC law has used profcast to sync audio with powerpoint slides before uploading to iTunes U.

Transforming Legal Education

Filed under: Education and Technology,Social Software — Ken @ 2:12 pm
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I am here at the University of Maryland School of Law attending CALI 2008.  I will be live blogging for most of the sessions I attend. Here’s the opening plenary.

The title of this year’s conference is Transforming Legal Education.  John Mayer is opening the session with slide montage of all previous CALI conferences to Alice Cooper’s “Eighteen”. The opening plenary is by Paul Maharg from Glasgow Graduate School of Law. He recently published a book “Transforming Legal Education”.  His themes for today: signature pedagogy, transactional learning, SIMPLE (SIMulated Professional Learning Environment), Into the future.

Transforming Legal Education book coverA main focus of his book is how simulations can be used in the teaching of law. Thorndike and Dewey in the 1920s had opposing views of how we understand education. Thorndike’s view won out according to Maharg, a view that emphasized a teacher dominated classroom. Dewey promoted experiential learning. See Dewey’s Lab school for more information. Four key themes to Maharg’s book: experience, ethics, technology, and collaboration. Maharg’s school promotes transactional learning, a specific form of problem based learning that is distinguished by active learning. In Educating Lawyers (Carnigie Study) the signature pedagogies are surface structure, tacit structure, deep structure, and shadow structure which are fundamental features of the case method. Marhag argues that his four key themes align with the signature pedagogy themes but this exposes gaps in how law is taught. For example, our use of technology is based upon the characteristics of deep structure, we’re forced to deploy technology in a way that fits outcomes of deep structure pedagogy.

Glasgow School of Law has developed an open source simulation environment that promotes transactional learning. It is being used not only in the teaching of law but other disciplines such as social work and architecture. A demonstration of SIMPLE shows us a very clean interface and an example project in the tool. Students are divided into groups of four, documents are prepared by adjunct faculty and they mentor and guide the students. The student’s goal is to achieve a settlement in 12 weeks. Project criteria include a body of evidence that is used to measure student learning and progress. Student feedback says that they learn extended teamwork, real legal fact finding, real legal research etc.  Plagiarism and free loading are guarded against because of the style of teaching, situational, project, collaborative work.

Going forward, SIMPLE will grow to include 3D simulations, perhaps data from Google Earth, and other resources to make it a more rich environment for learning. A little more on transactional learning from the SIMPLE web site:

What is transactional learning?

The common denominator in the use of the SIMPLE application is the legal transaction. The team has developed the concept of ‘transactional learning’, with the following characteristics:

  1. It is active learning – transactional learning goes beyond learning about legal actions to learningfrom legal actions.
  2. It is based on doing legal transactions – students learn about the practical realities of legal actions.
  3. It involves reflection on learning – for example documenting a file, thinking across transactions, reflecting upon group process.
  4. It is based on collaborative learning – students help each other to understand legal concepts and procedures by discussing issues, reviewing actions in a group, giving peer feedback on group work, and so on. In other words, students begin to learn how to leverage knowledge amongst themselves, and to trust each other’s developing professionality (learning about know who and know why, as well as know what).
  5. It supports holistic or process learning – in seminars and lectures and in their reading students engage with ideas and form understandings of legal concepts, documents, actions and the like. However such learning is ‘part to whole’ – the SIMPLE application provides opportunities for ‘whole to part’ learning, and for learning about legal process.

Blog: http://zeugma.typepad.com
Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/paulmarha
SIMPLE Foundation: http://simplecommunity.org

June 20, 2007

CALI Conference

Filed under: Education and Technology — Ken @ 4:09 pm

I’m currently returning from The Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction annual conference in Las Vegas. Besides the average daily temperatures of 104 degrees, the conference was once again a great learning experience and a chance to catch up with colleagues from other law schools. The foci of this year’s conference were the realities of IT in legal education, what works, what doesn’t, how technology is changing legal education and what changing technology has in store for the future of legal education. I’ll post my notes and thoughts soon, once I’ve had a chance to ruminate on them a bit more.

May 2, 2007

Democratizing Internet Video

Filed under: Education and Technology,Social Software — Ken @ 3:48 pm

It has been sometime since my last post but what better topic to resume this blog then to comment on the explosion of video on the Internet and how this can be leveraged for educational purposes. A colleague from Canada whose blog I read occasionally has an interesting post on a video aggregator from getdemocracy.com. Democracy has produced a vodcast player that allows you to subscibe to internet video delivered via RSS. YouTube, GoogleVideo, blip.tv and the like have enabled millions to post their own content but little of it has any true value in a traditional educational setting. However, with the Democracy player imagine the possibiltities where web 2.0 meets the law school curriculum: a recent report recommends that law schools do a better job of connecting legal practice to teaching and learning so that students are more prepared for the practice of law when they leave law school. One way to supplement this effort may be to bring students into the courts to observe proceedings. Outside of clinical experiences and moot court students may never see the inside of a court room during their time in school. Enter court web casts. Several state courts record their proceedings and stream the video or audio to the web. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in fact webcasts oral arguments live and also provides an archive of past proceedings. With the Democracy player, one could find this video and in effect set up channels dedicated to real court room proceedings. Arguments could be analyzed, dissected, and discussed. Video allows one to not only study the merits of an argument but the body language and non-verbal communication that well-skilled practitioners wield so artfully. But alas, many of these courts do not provide their content via RSS so one is still required to manually check for new content. All in good time…

March 1, 2006

Blogs in Legal Scholarship

Filed under: Education and Technology,Social Software — Ken @ 4:31 am

I recently attended a conference called “Bloggership: How Blogs are Transforming Legal Scholarship” hosted by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. The conference addressed how blogs are affecting the legal academy and featured 20 or so leading law professor bloggers.

The first session of the day focused on whether law blogs are a form of legal scholarship and featured three law professors with three different views that helped shape the debate. Professor Doug Berman from Ohio State University opened the session. He argued that the traditional medium of legal scholarship, namely, law review articles, while still important are an antiquated medium. Most people, in fact, most law professors and students rarely read them in their entirety. There shear length is overwhelming and he cited examples from the 1950s, 1970s, and 1990s to demonstrate how the average law review article in length and in the number of citations has doubled with each succesive generation. Prof. Berman takes the position that blogs should be a part of legal scholarship. They enable law professors to reach a wide(r) audience and break down the barriers to access inherent in more traditional forms of legal scholarship.

Professor Lawrence Solum from University of Illinois had in my opinion the most compelling position of the session. He began with the premise that blogs certainly have plenty to do with legal scholarship but that blogs themselves aren’t the driver of transformation. Other forces such as the emergence of the short form, the obsolesce of exclusive rights, and the trend towards the disintermediation of legal scholarship are acting to reshape legal scholarship. Each of these forces reduces search and access costs to legal scholarhsip. The blog facilitates these forces but is not in and of itself the only form these forces can take.

Professor Kate Litvak from the University of Texas took an opposing position. She argues that blogs have no affect on legal scholarship, that a blog lacks privacy and well-specified rules, two properties necessary for the fostering of early ideas, and that blogs are more akin to a water cooler conversation that has been bugged than to any form of scholarship.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this session happened during the introduction of the session. Professor Paul Caron from the University of Cincinnatti and the Editor-in-Chief of the Law Professor Blogs Network

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