The Challenge & Promise of Teaching Law to the Masses:Why Social Science MOOCs are Special

Sheridan Center for Teaching & Learning

Prof Ebrahim Afsah, Univ of Copenhagen Can the constitution be taught in 140 characters or less? Law, literature & similar subjects seem uniquely unsuited to the attention span of the typical internet user, when cute cat videos & partisan gore is just a click away. Online education has the potential to drastically improve access to high-quality education. In contrast, social scientists & lawyers remain skeptical about the possibility to teach difficult or controversial topics that require nuance, textual subtlety & above else, personal interaction. It is feared that the anonymity & superficiality of online interaction inevitably lead to a race to the bottom of civility, academic rigor & intellectual curiosity when substantially difficult concepts involving deeply held moral & religious beliefs are to be taught. We will address these fears & see how one of the most controversial of topics -Muslim public law- could indeed fruitfully be taught to tens of thousands of people across the globe (Spoiler alert: it can. And it is fun.) Register at