Online Education Delivery Modelis: The Synchronous Model
In 2011, the inaugural meeting of the Working Group for Distance Learning in Legal Education took place at Harvard University. The workshop brought together individuals from many of the most active legal distance education programs as an opportunity to exchange information on the state and breadth of current practice while investigating those practices that may be best promoted to advance the field.
There are several models for delivering distance education and the curriculum taught in current programs. One such model is the “synchronous” model which more closely resembles traditional, in-class instruction. The California Desert Trial Academy College of Law (CDTA) allows synchronous learning through the CDTA Student Portal which allows students to stream classes live and at their convenience.
Synchronous learning occurs at one time, while teachers and students occupy different spaces. An interactive lecture in real-time is most analogous to the traditional law school classroom, thus allowing professors and students to make an easier transition to online teaching and learning respectively.
As television and video technology started to advance in the 1970s resulting in the invention of interactive television, schools began to experiment with what is now considered “synchronous” learning.
Today, free platforms such as Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts, in addition to a host of proprietary video conferencing applications and systems, allow faculty and students the ability to interact similar to the way they would in a live classroom. High definition systems delivered through high-speed internet connections has removed the annoying time delays caused by the constant buffering of the system.
A primary strength of the synchronous learning model is that it can connect faculty, students, and other participants who are located anywhere in the world in real-time. A real-time, interactive lecture may be facilitated by technology that is currently of such quality that even the most subtle interactions may be engaged in by a lecture’s participants immediately. The synchronous even allows professors to use the Socratic method and other types of instruction under this format.
Although advances in technology have made synchronous education possible, they have not necessarily made the utilization of this learning model simple. The synchronous model requires the resolution of certain subtle differences between live and online classes. The way the camera is pointing and whether all the students are “present” are examples of these differences. Additionally, there are significant technological considerations to manage such as those related to the feed’s audio and video requirements and operation.
A primary emphasis of the California Desert Trial Academy has been the implementation of an effective, useful, online distance learning platform. CDTA students have a wide variety of online resources available to facilitate and enhance their learning experiences at their convenience, especially now as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The CDTA College of Law trains, educates, and develops students to be exceptional attorneys and trial advocates. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.