Harvard Law School is starting 2013 with its first ever foray into free online education. For the spring semester, the Ivy League institution is hoping to demystify copyright management complexities for the general public with a 12-week course touching on digital innovations and legal implications.
"Considerable attention will be devoted to the relationship between copyright law and creative expression in a variety of fields: literature, music, film, photography, graphic art, software, comedy, fashion and architecture," the course description states.
The school also intends to break the mold of how public online education is delivered. According to The National Law Journal, the program will differ from traditional massive open online courses (MOOCs) in that students will be broken off into classes of no more than 25 and expected to follow a more formalized learning approach. Although there are no prerequisites, student are expected to devote at least eight hours a week to their studies and complete a three-hour test at the conclusion of the semester.
According to Education Week, program advocates are optimistic that presenting course content in more engaging ways will foster greater understanding. Instead of constricting content to static books, lessons will be shared via many of the same media distribution and production models at the center of digital copyright debates.