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Proposed amendments to Guideline 7.11 (Distance-Education Credit) of the Guidelines for Accredited Law School Rules.
Guideline 7.11 of the Guidelines for Accredited Law School Rules restricts California-accredited law schools (CALS) as to the total amount of credit they may offer students for classes taught outside of a traditional classroom. Currently, the CALS are limited to a maximum of 12 semester units (or their quarter equivalent) of credit for classes offered in a J.D. degree program taught remotely using “distance learning” technology. Today, such technology relies almost exclusively upon the Internet to offer either a synchronous (“real time”) or asynchronous (taped video or audio lectures or written correspondence) virtual classroom. Guideline 7.11 also restricts the number of units to four that students may be taught using distance learning in a given semester and it bars the use of such technology in any class offered in the first year of law study.
Since Guideline 7.11 went into effect in 2009, the Internet-based technology used in all forms of distance-learning education has improved significantly and it is now common place in a variety of fixed-facility law schools, including those approved by the American Bar Association. A proposed amendment to Guideline 7.11, which would eliminate the prohibition of the use of distance-learning technology in first-year classes, appears to be an appropriate one for consideration at this time.