Legal education and pedagogy in the virtual environment: experiences and challenges
Keywords:Legal education, Pedagogy, Educational Institutions
Legal education is one of the most dynamic fields as it deals with varied interest groups and provides an array of programs including undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate and doctoral programs along with various courses and it is this diversity that raises very pertinent questions regarding the pedagogy to be employed. The researcher in this paper shall address these pedagogical questions with respect to the evolution of legal education and learning in India drawing parallels from across the world. The need for convergence of ideas regarding the teaching, understanding and learning of law between the faculties and students arise as knowledge sharing in today’s world is not traditional anymore. The modern legal education focuses on exchange of information from all sides especially with the advent of Internet and the shift to virtual classrooms. In this paper, the researcher will analyze this need to shift virtual classrooms and examine various methods of teaching with special focus on the “NETGEN”. The researcher shall also delve into the issue of change in the approaches of various law schools in India and in the world where online teaching is a mandated choice because of the pandemic due to the spread of the COVID-19 infection, leading to a lockdown in most of the countries. This shift from physical space to virtual space has raised concerns for the legal fraternity, however, for the educational institutions; the UGC and BCI in India have suggested certain changes to tackle such extraordinary circumstances. Yet, in such stressful times for the faculties, the students and even the staff, the challenges are manifold ranging from infrastructural limitations to connectivity to the transitions in the pedagogy. The researcher shall address these issues along with focusing on aligning the same with the primary objective of preparing the students not only for career prospects but also to cope with the diverse work environments available in the ‘legal service industry’. Furthermore, the merits of online teaching and the need for educational continuity shall also be highlighted while providing some pedagogical suggestions for the faculties. The aim of this research is to acknowledge and concede with the transition in legal education from physical classrooms to online classrooms and successfully use the different learning models available for both the faculties and the students. In the end, the researcher shall focus on best practices regarding the use of technology to welcome new techniques while ensuring fulfillment of outcome based learning.