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April 03, 2015


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Just saying...

From reading the article: Sounds like this may cost more $$ than it saves if there are co-deans and duplicate admins and staffs and libraries and courses and faculty, etc., etc.

Given distance between the schools, doubt faculty will want to teach on both campuses and admins can't work on both.

I worked at a multi-campus (non-law) school and no $$ were saved, pain to have video faculty conferences, etc., real pain to have to drive to different campuses for meetings.

What was Rutgers's reason for doing this again other than that they have two sub-par law schools and the one in Camden is probably close to closing????


The non-administrative savings would likely come from single offerings of subjects, rather than duplicated offerings for dwindling populations of students on each campus. At first, this would permit reduced use of adjuncts on both campuses and foregoing podium visitors to cover subjects while a professor is away, since students could take the course remotely with video using a faculty member at the other school. Wouldn't happen with core classes, but it would with the upper-level electives. Longer-term, they could locate entire programs, including clinics or curricular specializations, at one or the other campus and students could choose campuses based on the programs residing there or could visit for a semester or a year to take those classes.

Just saying...

Anon: Sounds very inconvenient for students, especially evening students, and I think both campuses have evening programs. Newark and Camden are a good hour apart and that is with no traffic (a condition that never exists in NJ). So it is the students who are going to have to drive (and pay for gas) and have to build a schedule around when classes are offered on another campus and then have to sit what will likely be less-than-ideal videoconferencing of a lecture and tolerate tech problems, etc., etc.


Just saying - It may be pedagogically questionable, but online classwork would likely be more convenient for students because it could presumably be offered both in real time with chat capability for questions (or audio for questions) as well as archived for viewing later. Moreover, it sounds like you may have gone to law school quite a long time ago, because watching classes online is hardly novel stuff technologically. As a practical matter, at many, if not most, law schools today, videotaping live classes is fairly common, with some professors videotaping all of their classes. Students often review the videos even after attending the live class, especially LLM students where there are language issues. Moreover, lots of law schools are offering courses either entirely online for their own students in flipped classroom approaches or co-taught with a professor at another law school where the students at both schools are in a live class and watch a professor on a video screen at the other school. It is only competitive factors among law schools that prevent independent schools from offering courses online in niche areas to students at another school, but there is a lot of logic to it. After all, why should Kansas try to offer Entertainment Law, for instance, when their students may be better off taking an online Entertainment Law course from a professor at UCLA? Rutgers is just eliminating the competitive factor, which may allow them to do this depending on the relative areas of strength in the two schools.

This isn't to say that what Rutgers is doing is the right thing. After all, Widener is breaking up their two campus approach and operating separate law schools after years of having campuses in Wilmington and Harrisburg, so they haven't found the approach to be that successful. Plus, it may make more sense to close one down rather than have two independent schools, neither of which is very strong. There may be political factors keeping the two campuses where only one is necessary. I'm just saying there is the possibility of cost savings with this approach and those savings, at least over time as faculty attrition occurs, could be meaningful and could enhance, rather than harm, the students educationally.


Buildings and video screens (ie either approach) do not enhance students educationally. One of the most amazing fallacies in vogue today is that technology is resulting in better learning outcomes. Not mainly. Not even close.

In any event, these technological possibilities likely have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with this decision, and it is EXTREMELY unlikely that benefit to students was even a blip on the radar screens of the decision makers.


anon - of course not. You're inventing a straw man if you think that is what was being discussed. This was just a response to the original comment that there will be no cost savings.


My first thought on seeing the news was to wonder if this was an action taken to ward off any possible renewal of the efforts to merge Camden with Rowan University...

Like I said, pure speculation. I don't really even remember how the Rowan thing ended. I just remember a lot of Rutgers folks being against it.

Just saying...

Anon: The IT departments in the two law schools I worked at reported to me. I was responsible for bringing technology, including smart classrooms to both, so regardless of when I went to law school I am quite familiar with classroom technology and video-conferenced classes. The fact is that despite law schools investing many millions into this technology, most profs do not voluntarily use it for a whole host of reasons. So are Rutgers profs going to be forced to use technology to communicate and teach students on the other campus (unlikely).

As anon stated, the situation of taking a class at a distance, regardless of the technology used, is not optimum for students, esp. if they have no opporunity to inter-act with their professors on the other campus in person.

Of course, this discussion on how Rutgers will handle things is all speculation, but something tells me that if this move is to save money, it is going to happen on the backs of students.


I suspect that this will eventually end with one campus closing (I would guess Camden). This is a way to ease into it.


Just saying - I don't know what law schools you worked it, but this is all being done at law schools all over the place (although no one calls it videoconferencing anymore), it is being done without tech glitches, and if you worked at law schools where the profs didn't tape the classes routinely, then that was a culture problem that is pretty easily weeded out by the Dean if they are motivated. Now, that doesn't mean it is being done or used in a way that is pedagogically sound or that this isn't all worse for students. It's just that this is the way to cut costs. In fact, if it costs more, it's because it is being done with the intent of making it as close to live action as you can make it, which means in a way that burdens the students the least. So, we're in agreement that if this were to be done as a cost-saving move, it would probably be done in a way that ends up hurting students.

Having said that, many, many, many 2L and 3L students, especially at top schools, currently watch lots of their classes on tape (if they watch them at all) rather than come to class because they know the classes are being taped anyway (attendance being only loosely monitored notwithstanding the ABA requirements). So, students are voluntarily opting for the less pedagogically sound approach already.

Just saying...

Anon: Taping a class, which my staff did all the time for religious observations, as well as a host of other reasons, is far different from offering a live, interactive, real-time class (you do not like the phrase video-conferencing). What are you talking about here?

Are you suggesting that students at Rutgers will have to sit through taped classes in which they have no opportunity to inter-act in real time with the prof and other students because that is what your most recent post implies?

Do you know the the ABA Standards allow? Simply watching a class on tape does not cut it.
You have revealed yourself to be a fraud on this issue.


Just saying - The point I was making in the second paragraph is not that schools wouldn't offer a live option that is ABA compliant, but that the class would be archived and students would watch it delayed, just as they do all the time now despite the fact that it is probably inferior pedagogically. In the first paragraph, I was talking about a variety of approaches already in use all over the place, ranging from dual cameras with audio to live chat options, both in law schools and in other departments.

Bottom line, human costs are still a lot more expensive than tech costs (especially when most schools already have the tech capacity installed), which is why your statement that they won't save money with a merger is not necessarily correct, assuming they are indeed willing to forgo duplicate teachers in both campuses. That was the original point.



The original point was that the two schools are "merging."

JS ... questioned the "real" reason, and you took the thread off on cost savings associated with technology.

You then concluded: "I'm just saying there is the possibility of cost savings with this approach and those savings, at least over time as faculty attrition occurs, could be meaningful and could enhance, rather than harm, the students educationally."

I, for one, took issue with that conclusion. My view was that technology rarely actually improves learning outcomes, and that improving learning outcomes and saving money by means of technology associated with distance learning were both irrelevant factors with respect to the decision to merge the two schools.

Since then, your point has become somewhat diluted. Whatever the benefits and detriments of distance learning, the fact remains that it is highly unlikely any of what you are so passionately defending here had anything to do with this decision.

As stated above, it is also my view that the interests of and benefit to students, like use of technology to save money on professors, also had little or nothing to do with this decision.


This cost-savings development is ironic in light of neighboring Widener's move.

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