"The casebook began with Langdell at Harvard Law School, and so it is reimagined by another Harvard Law School professor. Jonathan Zittrain and other developers, introduced a new electronic “casebook” today at a luncheon held at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.
The goal of the new system is not simply to provide students with a digital casebook, but a new suite of tools to help students and professors collaberate. The suite is called H2O and includes a syllabus (called a “playlist”), a question tool, casebook creation tool, and a “rotisserie” discussion tool “which enables a structured discussion. Users respond to a question, then are assigned discussion partners, who critique their responses.” The professor can also mark up the text using a resource called “collage” which “allows for tagging text, annotating it, and hiding portions of text without changing the original document.”
One key benefit to the system is to promote student discussion. “Students can outline and mark up cases they’re assigned to study and share them with a study group.” Another benefit is that it could help create new course structures. “I like contracts, I like torts, I’m not going to teach contorts because there’s no book for it. but if I can easily do my own bespoke syllabus drawing on the work of others, I could.”"
There is also a number of playlists available on the H2O website (see for example Chapter 2: Battery). Here, you get a brief overview of what is covered and how the cases fit together. Click on a case to see important aspects highlighted.
The inclusion of "Question Tool", a backchannel for live lecture feedback and questions may well be a valuable asset, especially for teaching large classes; and the Rotisserie, which is a structured forum for offline discussion of class content is designed to encourage class interactions outside the lecture.
Currently, the use of VLEs such as Blackboard, Moodle, WebCT etc are constantly under revision to inlcude various bells and whistles to support learning and teaching. Whilst bells and whistles are all well and good,technology-enhanced learning should be driven by the pedagogy rather than the technology.
The big difference here, is that the tools are specifically designed for legal education, albeit teaching by casebook.