Popularity of Online Learning Grows In Law
More law students are having favorable views of online learning now, a new report shows.
A Gallup-AccessLex report found that 73% of hybrid students and 72% of online students this year rated their programs as “excellent” or “good,” a significant increase from 2021 when only 51% reported the same, Inside Higher Ed reports.
The report is based on 820 completed web surveys with currently enrolled J.D. students across 137 law schools. Gallup conducted surveys from February 16 to March 16, 2022.
PANDEMIC’S ROLE IN ONLINE J.D. PROGRAMS
The pandemic has played a significant role in the popularity and growth of online law school. Prior to 2020, less than 10 law schools offered hybrid programs, and ABA-accredited law schools were only allowed to offer one-third of their credits in an online learning format.
Experts say the sudden shift to online learning in 2020 may have been a big reason why many students viewed the new learning environment negatively early on.
“It wasn’t what they signed up for, the sudden loss of in-person contact with their professors and peers was acutely felt, and school administrators and faculty had to adjust to a distance-learning format on the fly,” the authors of the report wrote.
ONLINE CLASSES MORE ‘EMOTIONALLY DRAINING’
While the overall view of online programs has shifted more positively, many students still see online classes as more draining than their in-person counterparts. According to the report, 63% of students report feeling “emotionally drained” after online classes. Only 48% of in-person students reported the same.
If there’s one benefit of online learning, it’s the greater flexibility and access that it provides. And that may be one of the main reasons why it’s here to stay.
“Three or four years ago, we used to talk about remote learning as a last resort—something that students would only be willing to do if they, for example, lived in a rural area or had a job that absolutely prevented them from participating in regular synchronous law school classes,” Tom Cobb, a law professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, tells Inside Higher Ed. “Post-pandemic, it’s becoming more and more normal for students to participate in remote law classes, even if they’re not in a situation that requires it.”