Are law schools poised for innovation ? Three case studies of law professors teaching online in American J.D. Programs

Jaworowski, Susan
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2013]
The purpose of this qualitative case study is to describe the characteristics of three law professors teaching online courses to determine what type of adopter they were. This study used the Rogers diffusion of innovation theory, and specifically analyzed the participants on whether they were innovators or early adopters. These analyses are typically done using a quantitative approach, but this study used a qualitative approach in order to provide a rich description of innovator characteristics. Methods of data collection were online interviews with the three participants, all of whom were full-time faculty at American law schools and whose courses were available to J.D. students. Interviews were transcribed and coded, individual case studies described, and themes were explored. The three participants were found to have the characteristics of innovators under the Rogers diffusion framework. The themes of self-motivation, problem-solving, and persistence were found, which placed them into the innovator category. The findings on the issue of communication revealed that the participants were not opinion leaders at their own law schools, but that they were actively involved in communications with peers at other law schools who were exploring the adoption of the innovation of online law school courses. The results have implications for proponents of online education in law schools in terms of recognizing the differing characteristics of innovators and early adopters, and the reasonable expectations of each.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2013.
Includes bibliographical references.
Rogers diffusion of innovation theory
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