Nirvana or Apocalypse Now: Distance Learning, For-Profit Education And the Concord Law School Story Washington University Law School October 6, 2006 Dean Barry Currier Concord Law School
Nirvana Emancipation from ignorance and achieving enlightenment? or… Kurt Cobain’s band and music that the older generation just did not get?
Apocalypse Now The imminent destruction of the world? or… A cutting-edge movie that helped fire the career of a great American filmmaker?
Concord Law School is a … For-profit Online Law School
For-profit vs. Not-for-profit Education • Not impure vs. pure; better: taxed vs. not taxed • For for-profits: access and cost advantages; focus on outcomes and accountability • Not for not-for-profits: disconnected business activities (IP, sports, memorial plots, selling direct loans; logo license, radio stations); discounted tuition/rankings; targeted philanthropy
For-profit Education: Scope and Major Players In addition to Kaplan, some major players: • Apollo Group (U. Phoenix, Axia): >300,000 students at 160+ campuses + online; 2005 revenue of $2.3 billion • Laureate: >225,000 students in 15 countries + online; 2005 revenue of $875 million • Capella: >16,000, graduate curriculum, fully online, students in all states and 63 countries • EDMC: >72,000 students at 72 campuses + online; includes Western State University College of Law; 2005 revenue > $1 billion • Cardean: consortium including Carnegie-Mellon, Columbia, Chicago, LSE, Stanford B-schools; MBA and MA/MS degrees • NYU undergraduate online degrees • U. Maryland online • Duke (and others in MBA space)
Concord is Part of Kaplan, Inc. Kaplan Mission Statement: At Kaplan, our mission is to help individuals achieve their educational and career goals. We build futures one success story at a time.
Kaplan Higher Education is a Major Player in the For-profit Higher Ed World KHE: >60,000 total students, >75 campuses in >25 states) and online KU: >20,000, HLC-accredited online university, certificate programs to Masters degrees
The Kaplan/ Connection “Kaplan became our most profitable business for the first time. Writing that sentence still feels somewhat amazing: ten years ago… Kaplan … was so small we recorded its results in the ‘other’ segment. Last year, Kaplan’s revenues were 40% of The Post Company’s. The education company employs 8,980 people, 55% of the company’s total full-time employees.” Chairman Donald Graham’s Letter to Shareholders, The Washington Post Company 2005 Annual Report
Distance Education Not the perfect solution for all education and… Not the end of life as we know it
Synchronous No F 2 F 100% F 2 F = Correspondence = Concord = A Course Asynchronous = Classroom
A Distance Learning Continuum • Distance learning: separation between students and teacher in time or space • A variety of ways to use contemporary distance learning approaches and technologies: • Class supplement • Hybrid course • Fully online course • Hybrid degree program • Fully online degree program
Distance Learning Vocabulary • Synchronous: real-time • Asynchronous: not at the same time • F2F: Face-to-face, students and teachers in one room • Chat: a distance learning class • Moderated or unmoderated • Text-based, audio, video or a combination • Can include whiteboard, PowerPoint, video clips, polling and other features • Message Board: Q & A; some say an asynchronous class, and others say a method of interaction that is not a class; can be moderated or not
Distance Learning Vocabulary • “Online” program: • Read the ingredients on the back of the box • Is the online program: • P.O. Box with a website? • Old-style correspondence sped up by e-mail attachment? • Completely self-paced, completely asynchronous? • Blended online and F2F curriculum? • A full, robust interactive experience for students and faculty? • There are many possible arrangements • Delivery mechanisms are part of the analysis; more important are what is delivered and who delivers it
Online Learning is Working Well in the University Environment • > 2.3 million students studying online in Fall 2004 semester, up 18% from Fall 2003 • The proportion of institutions which believe that online education is critical to their long-term strategy continues to increase, from 49% in 2003 to 56% in 2005. Growing by Degrees: Online Education in the United States, 2005 (The Sloan Consortium) • 97% of institutions report that students are as or more satisfied with online courses as with face-to-face courses. Entering the Mainstream: The Quality and Extent of Online Education in the United States, 2003 and 2004 (The Sloan Consortium)
Online Learning: the Higher Education Act • Elimination of the “50 percent rule” • Beginning of differentiation between traditional correspondence education and online learning
Online Learning: Accreditation Outside of Legal Education Statement of Commitment by the Regional Accrediting Commissions for the Evaluation of Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs Technologically mediated instruction offered at a distance has rapidly become an important component of higher education…. The approach of the regional commissions to these emergent forms of learning is expressed in a set of commitments aimed at ensuring high quality in distance education…. * * * The regional accrediting commissions are aware of the need for a collaborative approach which extends beyond their community, that others, particularly the states and federal government, have substantial voice in addressing quality assurance issues related to distance education programming…. [T]he eight commissions are pledged to continue to work individually and collectively with those agencies to achieve our commonly held goals of assuring the quality of academic offerings regardless of the medium of their delivery…. * * * As the higher education community increasingly expands educational opportunities through electronically offered programming, the regional commissions are committed to supporting good practice in distance education among affiliated colleges and universities. Doing so is in keeping with their mission to encourage institutional improvement toward a goal of excellence….
Online Learning: Accreditation Outside of Legal Education Best Practices for Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs … The[se] Best Practices … are not new evaluative criteria. Rather they explicate how the well-established essentials of institutional quality found in regional accreditation standards are applicable to the emergent forms of learning; much of the detail of their content would find application in any learning environment. … These Best Practices are divided into five separate components: 1. Institutional Context and Commitment. Electronically offered programs both support and extend the roles of educational institutions. Increasingly they are integral to academic organization, with growing implications for institutional infrastructure. 2. Curriculum and Instruction. Methods change, but standards of quality endure. The important issues are not technical but curriculum-driven and pedagogical…. 3. Faculty Support. As indicated above, faculty roles are becoming increasingly diverse and reorganized. For example, the same person may not perform both the tasks of course development and direct instruction to students…. 4. Student Support. Colleges and universities have learned that the twenty-first century student is different, both demographically and geographically, from students of previous generations. These differences affect everything from admissions policy to library services. Reaching these students, and serving them appropriately, are major challenges…. 5. Evaluation and Assessment. Both the assessment of student achievement and evaluation of the overall program take on added importance as new techniques evolve. For example, in asynchronous programs the element of seat time is essentially removed from the equation. For these reasons, the institution conducts sustained, evidence-based and participatory inquiry as to whether distance learning programs are achieving objectives. The results of such inquiry are used to guide curriculum design and delivery, pedagogy, and educational processes, and may affect future policy and budgets and perhaps have implications for the institution’s roles and mission.
Online Learning: Law School Accreditation • The ABA is the USDE-recognized accrediting agency for first-degree programs in law • All state bar admissions processes accept ABA-approved school degree • Arrangement is efficient and cheap for schools and states • Variations abound, but 95% of new lawyers each year come from ABA schools
Online Learning: Law School Accreditation ABA Standard 306 provides: • No more than 12 credits of distance learning courses may count toward JD • No more than 4 of these units allowed in any one semester • No distance learning in 1L • Given definition, 1/3 of all JD credit could be for distance learning
Distance Education in Today’s Law Schools • LMS: TWEN, LEXIS/Blackboard, eCollege, WebCT, Elluminate • High-tech classrooms (wired, generally; two-way video classes) • E-mail (through LMS or otherwise) • Classroom components of semester-long clinics/ externships • CALI lessons, and more in the supplement/study aid space • Administrative systems (registration, paying fees), school calendars, announcements/newsletters, and more • Library/legal information resources and services • Exams • Career service interviews • Online LL.M. and Master of Legal Studies Programs operating
Distance Education in Today’s Law Schools (Sidebar): An International Shot Across the Bow Excerpts from Online Tutorials to Replace Law Lectures Financial Times (June 12, 2006) • “… [Live] lectures [are] .. ‘ineffective and inefficient’ way of teaching…. (Scott Slorach, Director of LPC at the College of Law of England and Wales) • “… [L]aw students have to help fund themselves through law school with part-time employment and this technology allows them to work flexibly….” (Professor Slorach) • "We [the College or the UK generally?] are in an incredibly strong position globally because this technology can be used anywhere there is a computer. … [T]he UK is well-placed to dominate foreign markets because the Americans are still far behind on the development of distance learning." (Nigel Savage, Dean and CEO of the College of Law of England and Wales)
Concord Law School Basic Facts: Status • Began in 1998 • J.D. graduates can sit for California Bar Exam; operates as California “correspondence school”; regulated by both California CBE and California BPPVE • DETC accredited; institutional member of CHEA • Degrees: Juris Doctor (J.D.) [four-year part-time]; Executive Juris Doctor (EJD) [three-year, part-time, non-bar qualifying]; also authority for LL.M. and BSL degrees not currently using
Concord Law School Basic Facts: Faculty • > 20 full-time faculty & professional staff, distributed around the country; > 25 part-time/adjunct faculty; dozens of instructors/graders • Cooperating faculty from a number of ABA-approved schools (e.g., Arkansas, George Washington, Harvard, John Marshall-Atlanta, Loyola of Chicago, UOP-McGeorge, Montana, Tulane, Wake Forest, William Mitchell) • Dozens of instructors and graders • Administration in Los Angeles and Ft. Lauderdale
Concord Law School Basic Facts: Enrollment • Enrollment: ~1,400 JD; ~300 EJD • Students in all 50 states and a dozen foreign countries; 25-30% California residents • Average age: early 40’s • ~40% have advanced degrees
Concord Law School Basic Facts: Costs Concord tuition and fees: • Annual tuition, 2005-2006: $8,300. Total cost of JD degree was $33,200 • 4% increase for 2006-2007. Total cost of JD degree will be $34,600 Comparative data: • ABA 2005-2006, median cost of J.D. (annual tuition x 3 years): • Private schools: $86,010 (6% increase over prior year) • Public, non-resident: $70,518 (10% increase) • Public, resident: $36,321 (10% increase)
Concord Law School: Graduates • Through July, 2006: • 277 JD Graduates • 130 EJD Graduates • JD graduates from ~40 states, D.C., and abroad • In 2006 Concord awarded 106 JD and 59 EJD (165 total) degrees. Within that group: • 76 graduates (46%) held at least one other postgraduate degree; many had more than one • 12 PhD, 13 MD, numerous MBAs, an ED, several MPH, dozens of MA and MS degrees • Many of the country’s finest institutions were represented in the Concord student body: West Point, Naval Academy, Harvard, Yale, Berkeley, Stanford, Michigan, Sarah Lawrence, Howard, MIT, Columbia, Penn, etc.; there were also some students from other online universities and foreign institutions
Outcomes: ConcordGraduates Doing Well and Doing Good • Established family law mediation practice • General Counsel of a structural engineering firm • Solo practice in Juvenile Dependency Court in remote mountain town • Expanded established CPA practice to provide estate planning, wills/trusts services • Partner in three-person commercial law and litigation firm • Airline pilot serving as pro bono deputy district attorney 3 days per week • Corporate liaison work for Fortune 500 real estate company, conducting legally related real estate seminars (also a legal aid volunteer) • Director/regional VP for insurance company - regulatory affairs and compliance • Launched/runs IP Society in northern California directed to IP attorneys • Forensic accountant at major NYC firm (CA Bar member, doing some lawyer work at the firm) • Court TV Associate Producer, working on coverage of Saddam Hussein trial (job offer came from LEEP placement) • Dentist now doing forensic dentistry including on FEMA/demort teams, expert witnessing, risk management consulting • Lawyer at Finnegan Henderson, a major No. Virginia patent/IP firm (listed as patent agent on firm website since he is not a member of the VA bar) • Retired senior programming analyst for benefits for State of Alaska now doing pro bono work for AARP tax clinic, represents clients in US Tax Court, volunteers on municipal tax appeals board
Outcomes: California Bar ResultsFebruary 2006 Passing Percentages 1st time Repeater Overall Concord 43 20 35 Overall* 54 33 39 ABA-approved 57 43 46 All non-ABA schools* 26 10 13 CA Bar accredited 29 12 15 Correspondence* 26 9 15 CA Unapproved Residential 6 5 5 * Concord takers/passers excluded For this exam: • Concord’s 1st-time taker results would rank 15th of 20 CA ABA schools, beating 5 (note: small cohorts for some) • Concord’s first-time pass rate: 65% better than all other non-ABA schools and 65% better than other California correspondence schools • For 41 identified non-ABA schools, Concord graduates were 24% of takers and 34% of passers
Outcomes: LSSSE • LSSSE: Law School Survey of Student Engagement • Third year; builds on NSSE; done by Indiana U. Center for Survey Research • Sponsors: AALS, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Indiana University School of Education • 53 schools in 2005 - Harvard and down the prestige chain, Northeastern to Southwestern, more privates than publics, 7 California schools • 21,000/40,000 eligible students participated (34-73% response rate range; Concord rate was >70%) • Largest, most reliable law student survey yet done
Outcomes: Some Concord LSSSE Results 2005 Law School Survey of Student Engagement* Concord All LSSSE 1L/4L1L/4L Asked questions/contributed in class 3.04/3.13 2.61/2.83 Discussed ideas from class with Professor outside of class 1.74/1.89 1.97/1.89 Came to class unprepared (4=never; 1=often) 3.43/3.30 3.29/2.88 Provided academic support 3.42/3.62 2.78/2.59 Quality of relationships – students (7-1 range) 5.01/5.43 5.52/5.45 Quality of relationships – faculty (7-1 range) 5.93/6.46 5.26/5.11 Developing legal research skills 2.88/3.72 3.26/3.04 Thinking analytically and critically 3.53/3.66 3.38/3.30 Working effectively with others 2.32/2.42 2.39/2.34 Learning effectively on your own 3.62/3.79 3.17/3.10 Solving complex, real-world problems 2.79/3.06 2.53/2.52 Encouraged ethical practice of law 3.21/3.68 3.03/3.05 Entire educational experience 3.50/3.88 3.19/3.08 * Scored from 4 (high) – 1 (low), unless noted http://www.iub.edu/~lssse