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Wiki-What? Reflections of a Cyberlaw Professor on an Alternative to the 'Final Exam Only' Grading System

Eric Goldman, of the Santa Clara University law school faculty, who blogs over at Goldman's Observations, has a lengthy post detailing his experiment with offering students in his Cyberspace Law class (yes, that's really what it's called) the option to have a portion of their grade based on something other than the final exam. Thank god Professor Kingsfield didn't live to see this.

Goldman gave his students the option to have 20 percent of their grades determined by drafting wiki entries on appropriate cyberspace law topics. Twelve of his 45 students chose to do so; none of them took him up on the offer to collaborate with each other in the process.

Goldman details the logistics of getting the entries (all of which are linked in his post) publication-ready, including word counts, time spent on edits, etc., and winds up on the fence about whether he will offer students the option in the future. The "gory redlines" he gave back to the participants may be a good introduction to partner markups of briefs for those firm-bound, but what do you think, readers? Is the wiki exercise appreciably different than having a student write a research paper, other than the fact that, as Goldman points out, the final work product isn't relegated to a file drawer somewhere? Will soon-to-be lawyers be able to live with the fact that mere mortals might try to add to or change their entries? When will Legal Blog Watch be worthy of a Wikipedia page like Above the Law?

Posted by Eric Lipman on February 25, 2010 at 03:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)


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