By Amanda Reilly
One of the central duties of the traditional institution of jury was to preserve popular conceptions of justice and evaluate the power of the government—to determine the truth or falsity of factual allegations and to maintain impartiality. Yet over time, the institution of jury in America has lost its efficacy, also diminishing to some extent the art of deliberation in our society. A new massive open online course (MOOC) is an experiment in reclamation, empowerment, and problem solving, and will blend case studies and virtual, synchronous participatory learning for a novel and impactful educational experience.
JuryX: Deliberations for Social Change, a new, free HarvardX online course launched by Harvard Law School Professor Charles Nesson, challenges students to examine and rethink the concept of jury, as well as to be active participants in the deliberation process. During the 12-week course, students are introduced to not only historical legal cases but also case studies about social issues, such as the decriminalization of marijuana and efforts to legalize it in Jamaica, the potential for the Olympics and World Cup to advance education around the world, identity and anonymity as they pertain to the NSA leak by Edward Snowden, and the problem of increased police brutality against young black men, crystallized in the hashtag #icantbreathe.
JuryX encourages students to exercise and hone their deliberation skills, exploring techniques for participating in juristic discussions on numerous topics and debating solutions to contemporary social problems. This course also reconceptualizes experiential learning online by employing multimedia case studies; Unhangout, a platform for video chat discussion groups; and open social media (e.g., Facebook and Loomio). JuryX case studies will later be available for download through HLS Case Studies. Register for the MOOC here to get an exclusive look!
Course Code: HLS3x
Classes Start: March 10, 2015
Course Length: 12 weeks
Amanda Reilly is the Program Associate at HLS Case Studies.