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Studying Law in Virtual 3-D

A new law school opened last week, although it has no bricks-and-mortar campus, charges no tuition and is open to anyone. Called The State of Play Academy, its classes take place in a multiuser virtual environment (MUVE), where students and teachers adopt avatars and meet on the campus of the University of There. This virtual academy has a very real dean, Lauren Gelman, associate director of the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society. As a matter of fact, you can attend one of Gelman's classes this week. Today and Thursday at 5:30 Pacific time, she is teaching Blogging and Liability, covering the statutory and First Amendment protections applicable to bloggers.

Other lecturers at the academy so far are Temple Law professor David Post and Colin Rule, a leading expert in online dispute resolution. The State of Play Academy is sponsored by New York Law School and is an outgrowth of the State of Play conference. Keep track of academy news at its blog.

The State of Play Academy is not alone in legal education's move towards MUVE. Harvard Law School this semester launched Law in the Court of Public Opinion, a live course for Harvard Law students that is also offered to the public in a MUVE format through Harvard Extension School. The course covers creation and delivery of persuasive argument via new media. It is taught by Harvard Law professor Charles Nesson, his daughter Rebecca Nesson and Gene Koo. Unfortunately, the MUVE course is full, but videos of the course are being posted online free for anyone to view, and photos of both the virtual class and the live one are available through flickr.

To enter the State of Play Academy's virtual world, you will need to download the software platform from A $10 upgrade version adds voice and audio. The academy's site provides more information. Harvard's program uses Second Life. Written instructions and a video tutorial on installing the software and creating your avatar are here.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on September 19, 2006 at 03:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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