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CaliBUG 2013 chooses Professor William Byrnes’ presentation on distance education pedagogy

Posted by William Byrnes on October 14, 2013


Last Spring, William Byrnes submitted a presentation proposal to the conference committee on the pedagogical reasons for, and addressing the challenges of, ‘flipping the classroom’, which was inevitably chosen for a forty minute slot.  William Byrnes pioneered online legal education in 1995, thereafter creating the first online LL.M. offered by an ABA accredited law school.   He is a key founding member of the Work Group for Distance Education in Legal Education that in 2013 published “Distance Learning in Legal Education: A Summary of Delivery Models, Regulatory Issues and Recommended Practices”.

William Byrnes said “I invited Jason Fiske to tag team the presentation wherein we swap back and forth at couple minute intervals to continually refresh audience interest.  Listening to one speaker for forty minutes can lead to distraction, fractionating between two complementary styles and perspectives allows the audience to refocus attention.”

William Byrnes and Jason Fiske presented on the topic of flipping the classroom at CaliBUG 2013 held October 11 in San Diego.  CaliBug had 280 attendants this year from California higher education institutions, representing administration and faculty of universities and colleges, as well as some So Cal public high schools.

Byrnes added, “I spoke to the pedagogical justification of flipping the classroom while Jason illustrated through examples how we are flipping the classroom.  By example, we showed captured  screens of videos, study guides, discussion forums, and assessment techniques.”

He continued, “I think it is important to start such distance education discussions by presenting the findings of the US Department of Education Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning –

A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies:

 “the meta-analysis of 50 study effects, 43 of which were drawn from research with older learners, found that students in online conditions performed modestly better, on average, than those learning the same material through traditional face-to-face instruction.’

 “Also during the presentation I drop in the quote from another article that:

 ‘Diverse groups of problems solvers – groups of people with diverse tools – consistently outperform groups of the best & the brightest’.”

 Jason Fiske chimed in, “the presentation today, and the massive interest in the system we are creating shows how the online Graduate Programs continue to lead as thought innovators and leaders in the continually evolving field of online education.”

Byrnes added, “Several institutions’ faculty approached us afterwards to establish follow up conversations.  CaliBUG has presented a very good opportunity for cross-fertilization with public universities in Southern California, like the UCs and Community Colleges, that are now exploring how best to leverage distance education to accomplish their missions of public education, as well as the private universities in attendance like USC, Loyola, and our neighbor USD.”


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