Masters of Studies in Law (MSL) degree director featured in U.S. News and World Report article about online legal education

Photo of Crystal Richmond online MSL video-chatting her professor

Online MSL student Crystal Richmond, a paralegal from Atlanta, Georgia, talks with Professor Ellen Murphy about her coursework. Murphy is the law school's assistant dean for instructional design.

Wake Forest Law’s Master of Studies in Law (MSL) degree and certificate program director is featured in a U.S. News and World Report article about JD programs embracing online education.

Ellen Murphy, who is also assistant dean of instructional technologies and design for the law school, is featured in the following portion of the U.S. News and Report article, “Law Schools Experiment with Partially Online Learning,” published by Jordan Friedman on Nov. 7, 2016, that follows:

“For John Sears, a third-year Juris Doctor candidate at the Wake Forest University School of Law, the teaching style in a course last fall titled “Professional Responsibility” differed from his other classes. Rather than taking notes during lectures, the 37-year-old watched videos, listened to podcasts and answered multiple-choice questions remotely.

“He and his classmates then attended class in person and applied that material to group work, in-depth discussions, project-based learning and hypotheticals, says Ellen Murphy, Wake Forest law school’s assistant dean of instructional technologies and design, who teaches the course.

“‘It allows the in-class portions to be very focused on really prodding the concepts that are more difficult for people to understand,’ says Sears. ‘It gives you a chance to dig a little bit deeper into those,” rather than first absorbing all of the material.

“Sears isn’t alone. While the field of law has been slower than most to embrace online learning, some J.D. program professors are straying from the traditional teaching model and incorporating blended courses – those partially online, partially on campus – into their curriculums, experts say.

“There are currently no fully online J.D. programs accredited by the American Bar Association – though recognized online Master of Laws Degrees, or LL.M.s, and other legal master’s degrees and certificates do exist. A few law schools are, however, designating entire J.D. programs as blended to emphasize their convenience for busy adults.”