MOOC Launch: 18,000 sign up for new online intro to U.S. law

The University of Florida Levin College of Law is joining the MOOC revolution on a global scale. The law school’s first Massive Open Online Course began May 1, with The Global Student’s Introduction to U.S. Law.

The course is free and open to all — admission to UF is not required — and is intended to appeal particularly to pre-law undergraduate students and international lawyers or students contemplating further study of the U.S. legal system. By June, there were 18,000 students from across the globe signed up for the course.

“Our new MOOC provides an opportunity to literally anyone with computer access anywhere in the world to learn more about U.S. law and our legal system and for some to learn whether pursuing a career in law would be personally interesting and rewarding,” UF Law Dean Robert Jerry said.

The eight-week course offers an overview of the U.S. legal system and how it compares to other legal systems around the world, and is taught by an eightmember team of some of UF Law’s top faculty members and scholars. Students will leave the class with basic concepts and terminology in the fields of constitutional law, criminal law and contract law.

“For curious students, the MOOC is a great opportunity to explore — and not just to explore the subject, but also to explore UF Law,” Jerry said.

Last year, the University of Florida became the first university in the state to offer MOOCs, with almost 100,000 students enrolled in four courses at the time of launch last spring.

Through its partnership with MOOC industry leader Coursera, UF Law stands to gain expertise in designing, marketing and staging a course for tens of thousands of students at a time. Coursera’s invitationonly consortium includes 98 universities worldwide. UF is Coursera’s only member in Florida.

Students can register at any point after the course begins. They will not receive credit for coursework.