Anna Wiberg of Lund University on the Introduction to European Business Law MOOC

By Anna Wiberg

Anna WibergSome weeks ago, Lund University’s first MOOC, Introduction to European Business Law, started.  It is an introductory course that teaches students the essentials of European Business Law. For some students it may also be followed by studies at the Master’s Programme in European Business Law at Lund University in Sweden.

Members of Lund University’s law faculty were chosen to create the MOOC because of their previous experience in making films for online courses.  I am one of the librarians on the faculty that helped create the course.  I appear on films throughout the course that focus on how to find and use European Union materials.  My colleague, Annika Hellbring, and I created the PowerPoint slides and talking points that appear on these films. The aim of these films is to support students taking the course; to make it easier to find and read the documents you need during the course or when practicing European Union law.

The faculty is often involved in new areas and projects and for many years I was part of a project that the faculty had together with the law faculties in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. This included many discussions and teaching sessions in both Lund and Vietnam. It was therefore natural for the law faculty and the library to collaborate in a MOOC.

The actual filming process for the MOOC occurred in August 2014. It was both scary and interesting to be in the studio, to use a teleprompter and to act in front of the camera for the very first time. When sound, picture and speech were put together by the production team and when I finally saw the films, I was impressed by the construction, even though it is hard to ignore the somewhat odd feeling of watching myself on the screen.

I began my employment at Lund University in 2003.  There are six librarians on the Lund University faculty with me, all specialists in different areas. An extensive part of our work is to support our researchers, to educate the students in information skills, to handle the European Documentation Center and of course, to build excellent printed and digital collections. Besides many other things, I mainly work with teaching the students how to search, find and evaluate legal documents. I enjoy working closely with the students and I find it challenging to support the students to develop their information literacy. The library is well integrated in the law faculty and has an ongoing discussion with the teachers about the learning outcomes in the area of information skills.

I am sure that the faculty will produce more courses and more films, and I would not hesitate to be involved again.

In the meantime, for a refresher on European Business Law research, join the MOOC for free!

Upcoming MOOCs on Foreign, Comparative, and International Law

By Loren Turner

A MOOC is a massive, open, online course offered by premier universities to students around the world without charge. Anyone with an internet connection can enroll in a MOOC course and pursue their studies on a variety of educational topics.

The three most popular platforms offering MOOC courses are: edX, Coursera, and Udacity. EdX provides MOOCs created by Harvard, MIT, and Berkeley, and is the only not-for-profit MOOC provider. Coursera and Udacity are for-profit providers and competitors that offer MOOCs from other premier institutions. Despite for-profit status, Coursera and Udacity do not charge students for MOOC courses unless students opt to join the “signature track,” which verifies student identity for current and future employers.

Initially, law schools were hesitant to offer MOOC courses in legal studies. But, within the last year, law schools have begun to embrace the idea as a way of exporting their brands, programs, and faculty to a global audience.

Last month, I, along with 7 other faculty members of UF Law (including Claire Germain, FCIL librarian, Associate Dean for Legal Information, and Clarence J. TeSelle, Professor of Law), completed the MOOC we launched in partnership with Coursera, titled The Global Student’s Introduction to U.S. Law. Although our MOOC focused on U.S. Law, comparative and international perspectives were encouraged in the video lectures, discussion forum prompts/posts, and research assignments. For example, Claire Germain recorded a video comparing the French and American jury systems. Also, Professor Sharon Rush prompted students to write discussion forum posts comparing the U.S. Constitution with the constitution of students’ home countries, which sparked a fascinating conversational thread for the benefit of all. Lastly, one of the three research assignments embedded in the course required students to explore the CISG database hosted by Pace Law School as part of their introduction to contract law.

If you are curious about MOOCs and would like to join one for fun (or for serious study), consider the following MOOCs directly related to foreign, comparative, and international law topics:

  • English Common Law: Structure and Principles (Available on the Coursera platform. Taught by Adam Gearey, Professor at the School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London. Class is currently ongoing.)
  • International Human Rights (Available on the edX platform. Taught by Olivier De Schutter, Professor at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, and at the College of Europe (Natolin). Class has ended, but students can still register and view class archives.
  • Introduction to European Business Law (Will be available on the Coursera platform on January 5, 2015. Will be taught by a variety of faculty at Lund University. If you enroll in the course now, you’ll receive notice via email when class begins.)

Or, visit the edX, Coursera, and Udacity platforms for a full list of MOOCs in any topic area of your choice. Keep in mind that many MOOCs, like ours at UF Law, may initiate and encourage FCIL conversations even when the MOOC focuses on domestic law.

Have fun MOOCing! And please consider sharing your MOOC experiences (for better or worse) with the rest of us by commenting on this post or by volunteering to write a blog post about the MOOC course(s) you joined.