Distance Learning

Students in DC and students at Albany Law attend class.

Albany Law School uses a variety of electronic delivery methods for classes offered at a distance. Web-based course materials may be accessed from work, home or any location where a student may have Internet access.  Some courses may have a mix of distance learning components and elements that require a student to come to class on campus. Distance learning is designed to be convenient and accessible but also meet the same demands and requirements of a traditional face to face law school class.

Several courses at Albany Law School offer "synchronous" instruction which is characterized by live or "real time" two-way communication between student and professor and student to student. This will normally involve one or more instructional delivery technologies such as IP based videoconferencing at designated sites or virtual sessions involving streaming media or live chat room discussions. In the synchronous mode, there is a requirement that the teacher and student synchronize their meeting times for instruction and interaction. Synchronous instruction here is offered through the use of the computer application Adobe Connect and the use of Tandberg classroom IP videoconferencing systems.

  • Adobe Connect is a web based system that also has the capability to broadcast live audio and video any place where the student has high speed access to the Internet.  To participate in this option, a student only needs the free Adobe Flash plug-in installed on his/her computer.  A microphone and webcam is optional. This software has been tried by several classes such as, Legal Professions and Contracts. It has also been used successfully by students enrolled in Government Ethics.
  • Our Tandberg 770 and 6000 simply extend the conventional classroom through high-end IP videoconferencing technology.  Classrooms at more than one location are linked to permit a professor at one of those locations to lecture to students who are assembled at the same time in other locations (where IP videoconferencing is supported.)  For students, this is a two-way interactive experience. It enables the professor to hear and see the students and vice versa. It has been used successfully enabling students to participate in an externship in Washington DC to take a Government Ethics course taught at Albany Law School.

Most of the courses at Albany Law School offer "asynchronous" learning resources.  These resources include the use of web-based platforms that allow students and teachers to interact through virtual course material access, discussion boards, chat rooms, and assignment postings, through anytime, anywhere, web based portal access. They are used primarily to supplement and not supplant the live classroom experience.

  • Westlaw's TWEN is the web-based management and delivery system used by most professors to deliver primarily text based course content. The professor can have syllabi, assignments, class readings, grading, testing, and discussion features accessible to students through TWEN.
  • LexisNexis' Blackboard Learn is also a web-based management and delivery system.  It offers options similiar to those in Westlaw's TWEN.
  • CALI's Classcaster is an online portal that provides students with access to podcasts of classes and special campus events, and related weblinks and documents.  Classcaster also offers professors the ability to host class blogs and for students to be able to comment on the blog posts.
    CALI Spaces is an online portal that provides students with access to course material such as notes, outlines, syllabi, bookmarks, briefs, discussions, wikis, digital video/audio files and MediaNotes files. MediaNotes is a video/audio tagging application which allows  a professor to analyze/annotate student video/audio performances. This service is used primarily by professors teaching Clinic courses.
    Apple's iTunes U ( coming in the future) requires students to use the free multimedia computer application iTunes which gives them quick and easy access to play back and organize audio and video content on their computer or on a portable media device. This content will be accessible through Albany Law's iTunes U portal where students can download audio and video content from class lectures, guest speakers, school events, and more.

    Helpful Resources

    TWEN Faculty Quick Reference Guide (.pdf)
    TWEN Student Quick Reference Guide (.pdf)
    Adobe Connect Student Instructions (.pdf)
    Adobe Connect Guide for Instructors (.pdf)
    Interactive Videoconferencing in Distance Education Guide (courtesy University of Idaho)
    ABA Standard 306 Instructions for Classcaster (.pdf)  CALI Spaces and Digital Recording Tips (.pdf)
    MediaNotes Online Manual

    Overview of Government Ethics Online: