How To Teach Law Online


Judge's Gavel Placed On The Table Near Folders

Do you want to know how to take your existing law classes online?  I have been teaching around the world for a Fortune 500 company for over 15 years both online and in person.  Let me share my experience to make your life easier.

When you move your law course online you will have to think about whether you teach live or student self-paced.  You will have to think about pricing as there are different expectations online.  You will also have to think about how you will create and host content and market it to your students.

Here’s what we will cover in this article:

  • Outline Your Course
    • Course Title
    • Topic / Niche
    • Target Audience
    • Pricing Model
    • Marketing
  • Create The Training Content
    • Hardware
    • Software
  • Host Your Course Online
    • Learning Management System
    • Third-Party Teaching Platform
    • Custom Website
  • Live Classes
  • Useful Resources

Now that you understand what you need to do to take your law teaching online let’s dig into each topic and see exactly how you can do that.

Outline Your Course

Generally, every Law class follows a syllabus or a curriculum. If you outline your course depending on your curriculum, managing, and conducting your law classes will be more efficient, and easy.

There are four key factors to keep in mind before outlining a course:

  1. Course Title
  2. Topics
  3. Target Audience
  4. Pricing Model

Course Title

If you are planning to put your course online on the web, then choosing the perfect title for your course is necessary. You will need to think about a title that works well with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The reason you need to do this is because Google and other search engines rank closer to the top of the search results web pages that make it easier for them to list your content and course.

This might not be the case for you if you are teaching for your school. But if you want to put it on the web, you have to make sure it works well with Search Engine Optimization(SEO).

There are 5 key characteristics of a great course title:

  • Less than 60 characters – google only shows this many in search results
  • Audience Focused – think of the level of your students
  • Specific – narrow down the niche
  • Entice the Students – catchy marketing name
  • Using SEO keywords – using the google alphabet soup or keyword research methods
  • Check Competition – you need to google your course title and see how many courses
    are out there already and how good those courses are.  How
    could you stand out?

If you want to learn more about course titles and how to create a catchy one for your online Law class I suggest taking a look at the following article:

ARTICLE: How to Choose a Catchy Name for a Training Program

Topics

Organize your course according to the curriculum’s 

  • Chapters
  • Assignments
  • Quizzes
  • Questions
  • Discussions etc.

Arrange the topics and the course in relevant groups. For example 

  • Labour Law
  • Family Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Professional Ethics
  • Law of Torts & Consumer Protection Act
  • Constitutional Law
  • Law of Evidence
  • Arbitration, Conciliation & Alternative
  • Human Rights & International Law
  • Environmental Law etc

From there, you can progress step by step according to your curriculum. These topics will help you keep track of the ongoing progress. It’s also good for students to learn more efficiently.

Target Audience

Picking a target audience and knowing that the audience is key to a successful course.  You need to know what you will assume about the existing knowledge of your students and what they are hoping to gain from the course.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Age
  • Basic Knowledge (K-4)
  • Entry-Level Biology (4-9)
  • Mid-Level Biology (High School Students)
  • Advanced Biology (Vocational and University)
  • Gender
  • Geographic location
  • English language competencies
  • Prerequisites (educational background)
  • Learning style
  • Language, Literacy, and Numeracy (LLN) skills
  • Job Role

Moreover, you can narrow down the reason why you are creating this Law course:

  • As part of a formal qualification
  • To train
    • My staff
    • My customers
    • My volunteers
  • Hobbyists
  • Others

Once you have a profile of the learner then you can continue with pricing and content creation.

Pricing Model

Before you create your training course you will need to decide on whether you will need to be paid for the course you create.  Are you doing it just for the love of it or do you need to get an income to live on? There are many things to consider when you are deciding on the price.

What to consider when choosing a price:

  • Your Time
  • Hosting Costs
  • Maintenance Costs
  • Course Costs
  • Creating Content
  • Hosting the Course
  • Software and Tools
  • Third-Party Licenses
  • Third-Party Commissions (paid to people who sell your course)
  • Target Profit (typically at least 30%)

Keep in mind that if you are planning on hosting your training content on a third-party teaching platform then you will have to work under their pricing model. Depending on the platform you choose you will have to deal with substantial discounts automatically applied by promotions they may have.  A perfect example of this is Udemy that if they sell a course for you takes more commission and will heavily discount your course.

If on the other hand, you host your own course your costs will be a lot less but developing a demand and the traffic for your course may be a little more difficult.  We will discuss these later with hosting.

To learn more about the pricing models you can use when teaching biology online I suggest taking a look at the following article:

ARTICLE: 10 eLearning Pricing Models Online Teachers Must Know

Marketing

The only way to let students know that you will teach law online is through advertising. If you fail to reach your audience, all your efforts for creating, and organizing the content will be in vain. On the other hand, monetizing your content can become a source of income for you as well.

Don’t just create a training course and assume people will come.  And once you have made the training for your audience then you have a warmed-up audience that is more likely to convert to students in your courses.  Typically a 3% to 5% conversion rate of your website traffic to students is a good rate if you have warmed them up on your blog first.

If you are teaching for an institution then you don’t have to advertise your course. But here’s the interesting part, just like notes, and books, the content you create for online Law classes is reusable. Since it can be shared or used online, you can reuse the contents anytime you need, anywhere you need.

Create The Training Content

The first, and foremost thing for teaching online is creating course content. Typically offline law classes require books, presentations, case studies, etc. You’ll have to convert them into online usable content. Once the content is created, you can also reuse them for other courses.

For more information about the content types you can use online check out this article:

ARTICLE: The Ultimate Guide to eLearning Content Types

Hardware

Law classes require a teacher to interact with the students. Since you are taking your course online, you might add these items to your shopping list

Laptop / Computer

A laptop or computer is a must. You have to manage your web activities online. And for that, a laptop is a perfect choice of hardware. 

Camera

 If you plan to create video content on your topics, you should get yourself a good camera. It will help you grow your online presence. You can also use your smartphone if you’re tight on budget

Microphone

You will have to interact and discuss a lot of topics with your students. And you might need to record yourself. So a microphone is optional hardware for you to buy.

Software

There are heaps of software packages you can use to create your training content and below you will find a list of some of them.  Your Learning Management System (LMS) will allow you to add all of these types of content to your training course.

Text

The most popular tools you can use to create and edit text are:

To create a training manual in print or digital format you can use:

Graphics

If you want to capture screenshots to use it as training content you can take advantage of:

Here are the graphics editing applications:

Audio

Among the most popular software used for audio recording and editing are:

Video

To edit video recordings you can use:

For a more thorough guide to eLearning content types you can look at this article.

ARTICLE: The Ultimate Guide To Creating eLearning

Host Your Course Online

For students to see your course when completed you need to put it on a website for them to be able to see it.  You can create your course directly on some of these website tools or create it offline and upload it later depending on what the website allows you to do.

The most common types of educational content hosting are:

  • Custom Website
  • Content Management System (CMS)
  • Learning Management System (LMS)
  • Third-Party Teaching Platform

There are certain advantages and disadvantages to each method. Below I have listed the most popular picks for each category as well as a set of advantages and disadvantages.

Custom Website

This is the least common of the options above due to the high cost of creation and maintenance and it is also difficult for you to make changes to the website yourself.  This option is only really picked if you have specialised requirements from the website and something like Khan Academy is a good example of this.

Content Management System

A majority of the websites on the internet use some form of CMS that is just a website that is built in such a way to make it easy for people to create and maintain websites with limited IT knowledge.  The largest of these is WordPress with over 50% of the CMS market.

If you own a business with a website or the company you work for does then it probably uses a CMS already.  This means each person throughout the business can update the web pages in the website that directly relate to them.

There are plenty of educational plugins you can install into these types of websites to host your training course on them.  It depends on the CMS as to what plugins are available but they all have a searchable plugin library.

Here is one you could use if you were using WordPress:

https://wordpress.org/plugins/search/lms/

Learning Management System

LMS are a specific form of CMS that are designed specifically for use in education.  They have all the tools you need to teach online directly built into the website itself as well as the ability to create and manage training courses and create your basic website pages.

The most popular LMS are:

Using one of these you will have a website that is dedicated to education online and you have the full control of your content and pricing as well as how you market your training courses.  This is generally the option chosen for people wanting to write multiple courses and have full control of their business and maybe have many courses.

There is however the requirement to set up your website yourself and there is some maintenance time required as well.  For the paid tools above they can bundle this work into your quote if you don’t want to do it yourself.

Third-Party Teaching Platforms

You can host your training course on a third party website if you want to limit your maintenance and just manage the course only.  They will however depending on the website choose how you get paid for your course and some will even force pricing or discounts on you.  So be careful to read the terms and conditions as they may come back to bite you later.

The most popular third-party teaching platforms are:

Live Classes

Law courses offline take a huge amount of time in classes. Often some fundamental laws and theories must be discussed face to face. How do you simulate that classroom environment online?

Honestly, you can’t. But you can use online video conferencing platforms to engage and discuss with students. The most popular platforms available right now are

  • Zoom
  • Google Meet
  • Skype

They all provide free and paid options with more or fewer features. Use any one of them which is convenient for you and your students.

Although they might not be the same as a regular classroom, you can still simulate a class like environment. Tips for getting the best out of online classes are:

  • Create engaging content
  • Interact with students more
  • Keep the classes short
  • Use online whiteboards to write, and discuss

Law classes might need you to create a virtual court for discussions. You can group participants in Zoom video calls to simulate that environment. Students can discuss among themselves in those subgroups.

Useful Resources

I know you probably have a whole heap of law resources already but here are a few more you can use to support your training online. By keeping yourself up to date with these courses and comparing your course to theirs you can be sure you are keeping up with the industry standards in teaching law.

Udemy Law Courses

https://www.udemy.com/topic/law/

Here are some of the Law courses on the world’s biggest video tutorial website.  While you can get some free training on Youtube there is no guarantee of quality.  Never pay the full price for a course just wait for the next heavy discount that they do very frequently.

Coursera

https://www.coursera.org/browse/social-sciences/law

This most of you will probably know at one of the two major University free subject portals where you can enrol in law courses for free.  These can be done for most countries and worth looking at if it has been a while.

EdX

https://www.edx.org/course/subject/law

The competitor for Coursera is Edx in free online university courses so this is another one you should keep in your list to keep yourself up to date and see what others are teaching online.

Justia

https://www.justia.com/

This is a free USA based Law and Legal information website worth bookmarking as a resource website.

Harvard Law Recommended Resources

https://hls.harvard.edu/dept/ocs/prospective-students/recommended-online-resources/

This is the Harvard Law recommended online resources which is always a good place to get started on how you can research and keep up to date.  These are recommended resources for prospective students.

USA Government Law Portal

https://www.usa.gov/laws-and-regs

This is the starting point for law in the USA and don’t forget similar websites no matter where in the world you are.

Glen Brown

I am a Technical Trainer and Manager with over 20 years experience in IT, Education and Business. I have multiple qualifications on each topic including post graduate qualifications. I have a passion for sharing knowledge and using technology to do this. If you would like to know more about me please see the about page of the website.

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