Monterey College of Law announced today that each of its law professors who are teaching core courses will receive an Apple® iPad as part of the law school’s innovative program to provide iPads to each one of its students and faculty. This past August, the school was the first law school in the US to provide iPads for each law student as part of a unique program developed with BarBri, the country’s largest bar review company. This latest initiative will make Monterey College of Law the first US law school to provide iPads to both students and professors.
According to Mitchel Winick, President and Dean of the law school, “the student iPad initiative has exceeded our expectations in only a few months. It was an easy decision to move forward and include our faculty.”
“Our law school is an evening program taught by adjunct faculty members who have full-time day jobs as practicing lawyers and judges,” said Winick. He pointed out that the objectives of the program include, “enhancing educational effectiveness, making faculty jobs easier, and bringing an element of novelty and fun into the mix.”
Stephen Wagner, president of the faculty senate, noted that, “the initial challenge for some of the faculty will be learning how to use the new technology.” Michelle Welsh, a long-term member of the faculty and former president of the faculty senate, pointed out that, “fortunately, many of us have kids, and in some cases grandkids, who are more than happy to get us up to speed quickly.” Welsh has been pilot-testing an iPad since December and reported that it was very useful in preparing for the Spring Semester while traveling. “It was really nice not having to carry a 10 pound book around,” said Welsh. In addition to the unofficial tutoring, the law school will be scheduling faculty iPad training programs and workshops during the Spring Semester.
One of the immediate objectives will be to involve the faculty in the iPad-based academic support network that the students have developed. “Students began using their iPads this past Fall Semester to share course outlines, access and organize on-line resources, organize virtual study groups, and take advantage of on-line BarBri practice exams,” said Elizabeth Xyr, one of the student coordinators of the program. “The law school’s innovative approach provided iPads and access to the BarBri academic support materials,” said Xyr. “However, our students have taken it a step further by integrating social networking, identifying useful apps, and using cloud technology to coordinate and share supplemental study materials.”
“It will be very interesting to get the faculty directly involved in the student’s iPad-based educational community,” said Winick. “In the traditional classroom model, the teacher designs and strictly controls the learning environment. As part of this initiative, we are asking our students to play a leading role in improving the educational process.” Winick believes that this makes Monterey College of Law’s program unique, even among other higher education iPad pilot programs.
“The integration and adoption of the iPad program will allow students to sharpen their knowledge of the substantive law and improve their writing skills,” said Wagner. “It will surely inspire more robust and vibrant class sessions. This by no means signals the end of the traditional case-study method. In fact, it has probably raised the bar and will be sure to foster a greater dialogue in class.”
MCL’s commitment to technological innovation is unusual for a law school. Although a number of universities have initiated iPad pilot programs during the Fall Semester, Monterey College of Law is the first out of more than 200 accredited law schools to provide iPads to both students and faculty.