Thursday, September 09, 2004

USPTO employee Dec. 2003 valedictorian at virtual Concord Law

The class rooms at Concord Law School are virtual. Mass lectures are taped and video-streamed; real-time online classroom discussions are conducted through a combination of Real Player audio and a form of instant messaging that allows teachers to direct oral questions to individual students -- and demand immediate answers, as in a brick and mortar law school, except that the students type the replies in for all to see.

The average age of a student is 43 and about 40 percent already hold at least one advanced degree. Clifford Crowder of Winchester, Va., age 59, is older than average. A training and quality assurance specialist at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Crystal City, Va., Crowder graduated in December, 2003 and was valedictorian at the graduation ceremonies -- real, not virtual -- in Los Angeles, where the school has offices. Concord is owned by Kaplan Higher Education, a division of Kaplan Inc., which in turn is owned by the Washington Post Co.

On June 25, 2004. from his chambers in Washington, D.C., Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia conducted an hourlong online colloquium with more than 400 Concord Law School students, answering their questions and expounding on the rule of law.


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