Semester Summary

Facts, insights, and musings from the spring 2010 semester.

  • Average grades:  Real Estate Law 87.9/3.35; Internet Law 88.9/3.41; Intro to Law 86.9/3.30
  • Number of A/A- grades: Real Estate Law 14/10 (27%/19%); Internet Law 19/7 (37%/13%); Intro to Law 16/7 (31%/13%)
  • Number of students who elected grading option B:  Real Estate Law 5/9.6%; Internet Law 5/9.4%; Intro to Law 10/21.3%
  • Number of students whose letter grade increased because of option B: Real Estate Law 4; Internet Law 2; Intro to Law 5
  • Number of students whose letter grade decreased because of option B: Real Estate Law 0; Internet Law 0; Intro to Law 0
  • Number of students who complained about or asked for the chance to do extra work to increase their course grade:  0  (this hasn’t happened in years)
  • The number of students who visited office hours was historically low this semester.  Some of my law faculty colleagues had the same experience.  Previous posts have speculated inconclusively why this is so.
  • I plan to scrap and rebuild real estate law by discarding the Jennings text and shifting to a case- and problem-based curriculum.  Real estate law does not pose as many broad and cutting-edge policy issues as Internet law, but it is filled with juicy family squabbles, obnoxious neighbors, vile slumlords, nasty tenants, greedy developers, over-reaching regulators, and other human-interest drama that was lacking from the text.  I’ve not resolved who best to feed the law to students–a custom outline of the relevant terms, concepts, and principles?  That will require lots of work for me to prepare.  A canned commercial law-school outline of real property law?  Possibly too broad, technical, and dry.  A law-for-non-lawyers handbook?  Good materials but too topic-specific, e.g. they deal only with landlord/tenant law, or buying a house.  Topic-specific web-based content?  I’ve not located one good authoritative site, so the material will be of piecemeal quality and consistency.  Right now I’m leaning towards the custom outline while continuing to explore the alternatives.
  • I completely overhauled Internet law last summer.  Changes for the 2010-2011 academic year will be less dramatic, mostly updating existing cases, blending more cases into the text (like Krinsky v Doe in the Anonymous Speech chapter), finding more recent and more interesting cases for a few topics, and adding transitions and expository material to the casebook.
  • Internet law topics that deserve more course time:  privacy, the DMCA, and licensing (including Open Source, Creative Commons).
  • I’m going to move the order of Intro to Law topics to put more course time into business organizations.  Some other topics will have to move to make this happen, although I don’t know what.

One thought on “Semester Summary”

  1. I like your idea of reorganizing the Real Estate Law. The textbook was often dry, and my favorite part of the course was the cases. Future students could benefit much more from this plan.

    I still regret not taking Internet Law. There's always law school (if I go that route).

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