Online education is truly a marvel of our contemporary digital society. We live in a time where anyone with an internet connection can take free online courses from prestigious colleges and universities across the country without paying a single penny. These are full-blown courses with substantive curriculums and rigorous coursework, all available at the click of a link.
Such is the case for such Ivy League institutions like Harvard, Yale, and MIT, all of which offer free open online courses on any number of subjects offered at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Anyone with an internet connection can take a comprehensive biology course from Yale, or try their hand at the basics of computer programming at MIT.
The ambitious law student looking for further education could find a number of courses out of this embarrassment of riches that could seriously benefit them in their future studies and as a well-rounded individual in general. Here are just a few offerings that I think would appeal to law students.
Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature
Yale University offers this free online course from their renowned Department of Philosophy, originally conducted in 2011. Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature is taught by Professor Tamar Gendler. The course “pairs central texts from Western philosophical tradition…with recent findings in cognitive science and related fields.” Professor Gendler has her students read classics from the likes of Plato, Kant, and Hobbes and then asks that they apply the philosophies and lessons within those texts to relevant current events and social problems.
Students who take this course will explore fundamental issues such as mortality, justice, happiness, and being on a deep and profound level. The material might not be for the faint of heart, but that shouldn’t sway deep thinkers from viewing and learning from Professor’s Gendler’s lessons.
Ethics and the Law on the Electronic Frontier
The next course is offered by MIT and it involves a candid and rigorous discussion about the intersection between cyber space, law, and ethics. The course materials are taught by three professors, Prof. DaneilWeitzner, Prof. Harold Abelson, and Prof. Michael M.J. Fischer who provide comprehensive notes, study materials, and copies of exams from the original class conducted back in 2005.
Though the class is nearly 10 years old, the big questions raised here are still relevant to current discussions going on with regards to internet regulation. Who controls the internet? Should the internet even be controlled by a single entity? What laws should be drafted to deal with the seemingly endless number of gray areas produced by web policies? Mull over these questions yourself as you leaf through the materials in this course.
Introduction to Copyright Law
The final course on my list is another law course from MIT, though this one covers copyright law. Instructor Keith Winstein takes his students through the basics and the finer nuances of contemporary copyright law in a series of video lectures offered by the university. The course is a wonderful introduction for any law student thinking about divining into one of the fastest growing areas of law today. Students will learn the dimensions of copyright law as it relates to a number of subjects including music, education, software licensing, and movies.
Patricia Garza writes about the intersection between technology, higher education and education policy for a number of web publications. Patricia often covers topics like online college accreditation, trends in mobile technology, and technology in the classroom. Feel free to leave Patricia any questions or comments you might have!