University of Dayton to offer new hybrid J.D. program

The University of Dayton School of Law has received American Bar Association (ABA) approval to begin offering a hybrid J.D. program, which blends online and on-campus instruction. The University of Dayton joins three other law schools in offering the unique learning experience, which many laud as being a key part of the future of legal education. The University of Dayton program starts in August of 2019. The school is now accepting applications. Here's a link to the program's website.

The University of Dayton will partner with 2U, Inc. to develop and deliver the hybrid J.D. degree. This is the first J.D. program for 2U, which partners with top universities around the world to deliver quality digital education.

"We are thrilled that the American Bar Association recognized the value of our innovative format and look forward to taking this next step in the evolution of providing legal education," said University of Dayton President Eric F. Spina. "We are confident that 2U — with its 10-year proven track record of placing the highest value on student outcomes — will help us deliver quality legal education."

Dayton law faculty will teach students through weekly live classes and faculty-developed interactive coursework on an online platform, and students will come to the University of Dayton campus for one week each semester for additional live classes and networking opportunities. Just as with the on-campus J.D. program, Law@Dayton will feature substantive exploration of legal doctrine as well as skill-based education to prepare students for the practice of law.

The format is similar to what a few select other law schools offer. Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minn., launched the nation’s first J.D. program in 2015. Southwestern School of Law in Los Angeles and Syracuse University College of Law in upstate New York also have received ABA approval to start similar programs.

They are causing considerable excitement because the programs allow students who may have not have access to law school to obtain a J.D. Some prospective students may live too far away or can’t afford both tuition and living costs. Some have full-time jobs and can’t afford to quit them to go to law school.

Dayton’s program will include innovative enhancements such as 2U’s Bidirectional Learning Tool, which allows faculty to employ the Socratic method online and students to interact with and receive feedback from classmates and professors in real-time.

2U's platform works seamlessly on mobile devices, allowing students to complete their assignments from anywhere. Like all Dayton law students, students enrolled in Law@Dayton will have the opportunity for practical hands-on legal work experiences with a supervising lawyer — known as externships — in their communities. Identification and placement of the externship opportunities will be facilitated by the University of Dayton School of Law externship office and 2U.

Faculty will reinforce the knowledge and skills obtained in the online environment and apply them in the context of real-world situations to hone students' problem-solving skills during REAL (Relevant Experience & Applied Learning) Week when students are on campus, according to University of Dayton School of Law Dean Andrew Strauss.

“2U has led the way in delivering quality online degrees in new academic disciplines, and we’re changing perceptions of what’s possible in online education,” said 2U CEO and Co-Founder Christopher “Chip” Paucek. “We’re ecstatic to announce another pioneering program, this time in legal education. The world is changing, and the University of Dayton understands that even the most established institutions need to think beyond traditional brick-and-mortar education and toward meeting the needs and demands of today’s diverse range of working professionals. We’re excited to continue working with President Spina and to build on our work with the University of Dayton.”