I had the pleasure of giving a few presentations at this year’s CALICon conference, located at American University. The first conference I went to after starting at the Harvard Law Library was at American University, making this a homecoming of sorts: In 2014 I gave a 7 minute presentation on H2O at the LegalED conference; this year at CALI I gave two 1-hour long presentations on Perma.cc and H2O.
Discussing H2O was a natural fit for CALICon – “Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction” conference – given the H2O redesign’s focus on legal textbooks over other concentrations.
The session was fruitful, and I had the time to dig into a few different areas:
- The core precepts we considered integral to H2O as a platform: easy to read and access, easy to build a casebook on, ability to clone and remix others’ content, and ability to export the content as a potential print-on-demand text.
- Changes that we’ve made so far on the redesign, including ‘draft mode’ and the simpler user dashboard: while H2O’s old dashboard served as a collection-place of various items, H2O’s new dashboard serves as the launching point for users to access their casebooks.
- What’s next for H2O: CAP integration, improved export, and other enhancements such as the ability to share edit access to your casebook.
- Finally, challenges to H2O use and adoption: the workload required of an instructor interested in creating a new casebook (and how to ameliorate that); the continuing interest in paper texts despite the digital option, and how to keep up support for non print-on-demand users.
There was an good back-and-forth on what sort of faculty are more or less interested in digital, open casebooks, as well as helpful feedback from CALI member Elmer Masters (who’s been a part of CALI’s related eLangdell project for some time).
Thanks to everyone that came out and shared their thoughts – and see you next year! -Brett
We’re making moves here at LIL, with the recently redesigned H2O getting ready for a public roll-out. In the meantime, check out this flyer which we got the chance to disperse at the recent Creative Commons Summit!
Learning management system Canvas has been adopted by several of the schools at Harvard University, Harvard Law School included. Canvas makes classroom management tasks, such as messaging students, simple, and it also makes a great fit with H2O.
H2O’s playlist system for organizing materials makes sequencing content a breeze, while the annotator allows text and cases to be easily edited and marked up by instructors. Linking to H2O from Canvas is effortless – the link could be put on the front page of the Canvas site, placed in the Announcements are or even in a Canvas module.
An additional benefit of using H2O to organize materials is that H2O is an open, publicly-accessible platform. No need for students to log in to view it, and no worries about the materials disappearing after the course is completed – the same playlist can continue to be used, or it can be cloned and modified for the next semester.
Create your own H2O account today and get started!
Logo used with permission from Instructure.
An engaging article on open education resources was recently tweeted by Google CEO Eric Schmidt – in it the authors explore the burden that the rising cost of textbooks have placed on students, the ways it hinders their learning and the extent – or lack thereof – that the open-access movement has focused on rectifying this.
Expensive, underutilized textbooks often build a barrier between both the instructor and students. The students begrudge the expectation that they purchase a pricy text that feels more a boondoggle than essential resourceand the students and the educational success, with many students purchasing older versions of the texts to save money or deciding to not purchase one at all.
As the article notes, many STEM texts are predominantly composed of public research, but nonetheless carry price-tags of $250 dollars or more. Similarly, legal textbooks, or ‘casebooks,’ being composed almost entirely of public materials has led H2O to focus on them: as much of the text is already public domain but nonetheless published in texts costing $150 or more, incorporating them into an open, flexible digital platform was a foregone conclusion.
Read more on open education resources here – then check out H2O here!
Harvard Law School professor Howell Jackson, along with Michael S. Barr and Margaret E. Tahyar, recently authored a new text on the law and policy surrounding financial regulation. This text examines today’s financial sector, as its been shaped by the Financial Crisis and the reforms that followed.
The authors are using H2O to host the online supplements to their text. H2O allows them to continually update the book in response to developments and add additional teacher materials, with the playlist tracking the organization of the casebook.
Try out H2O yourself by creating a free account at http://h2o.law.harvard.edu!
The Library Innovation Lab is seeking a Ruby on Rail developer for a two year term.
The developer’s primary task will be implementing the redesign of H2O, one of our flagship projects. Below, two examples of the direction of the redesign:
Interested? See more on our jobs page!
This summer, in conjunction with Professor Spamann’s staff (as well as Berkman-Klein intern Kate Mays), the H2O team exported Prof. Spamann’s Corporations Playlist from H2O and undertook the legwork necessary to insert it into a design program and format it for print-on-demand.
We’re proud to present the end product- pictured below!
While a not-negligible amount of man hours were necessary to produce this, we’re working on streamlining this process. The end goal is to make the steps between exporting playlist and printing book as few as possible.
Watch this space for more on this front!
Interested in turning a playlist of your own into a print-on-demand version? Shoot us an email at h2o[at cyber.law.harvard.edu and let’s discuss!
With assistance from the H2O team, HLS professor Samuel Moyn has uploaded the materials for his International Law and Human Rights course, including case law, articles, and international organizations’ documents.
The materials for his course can be found here.
Interested in using H2O to upload your own course materials? Reach out to the H2O team at h2o[at cyber.law.harvard.edu, or create an account today!
With the wide range of law courses taught across the US, instructors having insight into how their peers structure their own courses can have significant pedagogical utility. H2O is a great way for faculty to be able to view syllabi of their compatriots.
One example is Prof. Bruce Mann, who teaches, among other courses, Property at Harvard Law School. While H2O isn’t his primary method of delivering materials to his students, his Property syllabus structure is on H2O, for others to view, interpret, and if they like, clone in H2O.
See Professor Mann’s Property syllabus structure here.
Questions or thoughts? contact the team at H2O at cyber.aw.harvard.edu!
Many instructors use H2O’s database of court decisions to compile a playlist that mirrors a customary casebook; others have taken advantage of H2O being a web-based platform, such as Harvard Law School instructor, Chris Bavitz. He has utilized H2O for his Music and Digital Media course. The Introduction section of his playlist demonstrates the range of items he draws on for this course:
In just this one section, Professor Bavitz has included a self-annotated case (Eldred v Ashcroft), sections of U.S. Copyright Law, a section of Larry Lessig’s text Remix, as well as links to articles on Huffington Post, New York Times, and Salon, as well as videos on YouTube and the PBS website.
Creating items to add to a playlist, such as the YouTube video used by Professor Bavitz, is very simple. After creating an account, you can click ‘Create,” select “video”:
enter the video title, and paste in the embed code copied from the YouTube video (see below):This creates a media item (video) that, when clicked, appears embedded in H2O:
Interesting in learning more? Visit http://h2o.law.harvard.edu to create a free account or email us at h2o[[at] cyber.law.harvard.edu.