Akron Law to introduce blended online J.D. program

 
It's not easy going to law school if you're a non-traditioanl student. You may have a full-time job, children and a yearning for 8 hours of sleep.    
 
The University of Akron School of Law hopes to make it less demanding. It's introducing an innovative program — unique among Ohio law schools — designed to make law school more accessible to part-time students.
 
Beginning fall 2020, the new Blended Online Juris Doctor (J.D.) program will allow part-time students, in the first two years of their four-year program, to attend classes in person just two nights per week and complete the rest of their coursework online.
 
“During these first two years, students can take the remaining courses on their computer each week at a time that fits their schedule — in the morning before work, in the evening after work, or over the weekend,” said Christopher J. (C.J.) Peters, dean of Akron Law. 
 
The online courses will be delivered in weekly “modules,” or units, consisting of the professor’s prerecorded, interactive lectures and related readings, discussion boards and assessments, said Emily Janoski-Haehlen, associate professor, director of the Law Library and associate dean for academic affairs and institutional excellence at Akron Law. 
 
“This program is the right approach for us, as 20-25% of our J.D. students are typically enrolled in the part-time program,” she added.
 
Akron becomes the latest school to add a hybrid J.D. part-time program that's similar to other existing ones. Schools with hybrid programs include: Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minn., Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Seton Hall University school of Law in Newark, N.J., Touro College — Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in Long Island and the University of Denver Strum College of Law.
 
While Akron Law has been offering online courses since 2002, the American Bar Association restricted the number of credit hours that could be earned online to 15 hours. That amount was increased to one-third of total credit hous — about 30 hours for most J.D, programs. It's likely other schools will begin experimenting with the the concept, given how online learning is becoming more acceptable. 
 
“We’ve gotten positive feedback from the students who’ve been participating in the program, as well as from their professors,” Peters said, adding that the school plans to create online versions of some upper-level courses for students in the third and fourth years of the part-time program.
 
He said the law school has also expanded its weekend, summer and intersession course offerings in recent years, providing students more flexibility compared with traditional night-school programs. 
 
 
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