Entire Caselaw Access Project (CAP) Database, Accessible via H2O!

Now that the Caselaw Access Project has gone public, it’s worth pointing out that the OER materials/free casebook creator H2O is fully integrated with the CAP database: the text of any of CAP’s 6.4 million cases can be used in H2O.

To use a case from CAP in H2O, when viewing a draft casebook you’re working on, click Add Resource, then Add Case. Type in the case’s citation – for example, “410 U.S. 113” – then click Search. Select the case and it will automatically be added in full to your casebook. You can then make annotations to this case, as well as move it to the location you’re wanting it in your casebook.

Find out more about the CAP project at case.law, and create your own H2O account at http://opencasebook.org!

OER Materials Beneficial to Students, Per New Study

According to a newly released study by Achieving the Dream, implementation of Open Education Resources (OER) found “significant benefits to instruction and student learning experiences” in addition to the cost savings passed on to the students.Over 60% of students reported that their overall quality of their learning experience was higher in comparison to a typical, non-OER course.

“The study indicates that, based on two years of implementation across scores of colleges, OER can be an important tool in helping more students—and particularly low-income and underrepresented students—afford college, engage actively in their learning, persist in their studies, and ultimately complete,” said Dr. Karen A. Stout, Achieving the Dream president and CEO. “Data show that even using the most conservative estimates, cost savings are significant and that OER content plays a role in helping strengthen instruction and learning across not just a few courses but entire degree pathways.


Though creating OER materials can take more time than using traditional, pre-made materials, students appeared to be more engaged with the learning experience and found the materials more relevant and interesting.

H2O is a leader in the field of creating OER for law materials – be they full casebooks, supplemental materials, or simply a place to collect resources for your class. Create an account today at https://opemncasebook.org !

Casebooks on Amazon, created on H2O

Several instructors have utilized H2O’s export feature to export their casebooks out of H2O and after some clean-up, load them into a print-on-demand service (such as Amazon CreateSpace) and offer the text as a print book at a fraction of the cost of a traditional casebook. Here, a selection of casebooks created on H2O, now offered as a print text through Amazon:

Create your own account on H2O, then begin making your own casebook or clone and begin remixing an existing casebook!

H2O’s new location, and draft/published feature

H2O has a new home! Check out the new and improved H2O here: https://opencasebook.org , create an account and start building your own casebook!

One of H2O’s newest features is the “draft” and “published” modes for a casebook.
If you click the Revise button while viewing one of your casebooks:

It creates a separate, draft version of this casebook that you can makes changes to.

Once you’ve made the desired changes, return to the Casebook tab, and click the Publish button, located in the same spot Revise was. This merges all changes into the published casebook, and removes the draft casebook. Having separate draft and published versions of the casebook keep your students (and anyone else accessing your casebook) from seeing something different every time they visit the page, if you happen to be in the midst of changes.

If you have an active draft version of the casebook, you can get to it via your dashboard – accessible by clicking the H2O logo in the upper left. The yellow band appearing across your casebook will take you to the draft mode, clicking anywhere else on it takes you to the published version. See below:

Questions? Reach out to us at  h2o at cyber.law.harvard.edu!

H2O at CALICon 2018!

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

H2O, at a Glance

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!

Canvas and H2O: a match-made in (online learning) heaven

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.

The “Other” Open-Access Debate: Educational Resources

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!


New Materials on H2O: Jackson, Barr and Tahyar’s Financial Regulation: Law and Policy

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!