Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Teaching Legal History Online

I imagine that many of you, like me, are devoting part of the summer to reconfiguring a legal history course for online--and not merely remote--instruction.  If so, in addition to whatever guidance your home institution is providing, consider consulting the American Historical Association’s recent initiative, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, “Confronting a Pandemic: Historians and COVID-19,” which includes the AHA Online Teaching Forum, and a Remote Teaching Wiki.  Among the resources is a link to Steven Minz’s twenty-two minute video, Engaging Students Online.  I’ve also been learning from some of the webinars conducted by teachers of business-school cases hosted by Harvard Business Publishing, as well as its audio series, Online Teaching Survival Guide.

The American Society for Legal History has created a Google Group Discussion, originally (as its title, Legal History Records Discussion Group, suggests) to promote exchange about digitized legal history sources but subsequently widened to include discussion of online teaching.  The recently updated Legal History on the Web, hosted by Duke University, includes a portal to Primary Source Databases/Web Archives, but I do not know of a legal-history-specific wiki, where we might make available to each other, say, short lectures to use as asynchronous components in our courses.  (John Fabian Witt’s short lectures on the legal history of contagious disease in the United States would be an example.)  We cannot maintain such a wiki on Legal History Blog, but we do encourage interested legal historians to join the ASLH discussion group–especially if they are already members or promptly join ASLH–and I’ll monitor comments to this post to gauge interest.

Update: @RachelGurvich is way ahead of me. H/t: LPK

--Dan Ernst

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