Online Law Courses: Pros & Cons

By | August 17, 2019
online law courses

This article will try to clear the dicey position regarding the online courses by analysing both the pros & cons in a detailed manner so that students can make the right call.

In traditional universities, one gets to learn from the same old professors & from the same old books recommended by them or, what has been lying in the college library for decades. But in online courses, one gets to interact with the professors who are expert in their field. Unlike colleges where there is a deadline for completion of assignments and there is a compulsion to study on regular basis or passing in test becomes difficult and one has to attend the college for attendance, online courses lack these factors.

I. Introduction

Education is the identity of human beings. It’s the demarcating line between the other species and human beings. As Malcolm X has said, “it’s the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

Without proper education, humans will not only be able to take control of their life but also will be unviable to lead the society for the betterment of humankind. An educated person knows what action is proper at what time and at what place than in comparison to an uneducated man and tat what makes it a difference.

And in today’s time, when there is cut-throat competition in the job market for even the menial jobs (like for the jobs of sweeper, PhD students are applying for it) good solid educational base is important. But the problem with today’s society is that there are abundant numbers of universities catering the abundant number of students where else the job remained constant more or less. So in scenarios like that when one person is studying what his counterpart is studying, then getting a job in the market gets difficult.

Then it boils down to those who have special/additional skills or knowledge to any particular field. And, on the basis of these that the corporates recruit their fresh blood in their companies.

So nowadays it becomes redundant if one studies the vanilla course which all the students are studying in different universities, but rather what extra one study which makes the difference. So, crater the void, there is an emergence of online courses provided by different private companies which have taken the market by storm.

Introduced around the year 2010, each of these courses specialises in a certain particular area of the law, like some companies give an online course on M&A, some on Aviation law, some on contract drafting & likewise. Not only that, many NLU’s and state universities have also started to provide online courses as well like there are online courses of NUJS, GNLU and of Delhi University as well.

Another characteristic of these courses is the duration of the courses. Some are for a fortnight, some are of 1-2 months and some are even for a year (which usually is called Diplomas). So these courses provide knowledge which lacks in the normal academic courses like no academic courses deals with aviation or space law or even food law.

Online courses try to provide this specific knowledge relating to a specific field of law so that it achieves the dual objectives; firstly. Providing knowledge to the student which they would otherwise won’t be familiar with, secondly, increasing their job securing aspect in the different corporate sector as well.

But like every other thing, it had its disadvantages as well, like no teacher-student interaction which provides the scope for clearing the doubts on the spots, or the fact that most of these companies are not government certified, so one can’t be sure the quality of educations one may be getting after spending thousands of bucks in them.

This article will try to clear the dicey position regarding the online courses by analysing both the pros & cons in a detailed manner so that students can make the right call.

I. Pros of taking online courses

At first, the article shall be analysing the pros of taking the online courses and its impact on the lives of the students:-

1. Increase in knowledge

Normal education is done by almost all the student is in India, but the extra edge one can achieve is that from online courses.

This course increases one’s knowledge as these courses are specific to one particular area of law, so the course outline is specific to law and even the lectures and books are made of those people who are expert in this field.

So that students can get a detailed analysis of the law particular any particular field. So naturally this course shall increase the knowledge of the student regards to the particular subject of law in two aspects; firstly, in the theoretical aspect & secondly, in relation to the practical aspect of that knowledge, that is how the theoretical knowledge shall be applied to the practical problems world.

2.Flexibility

In regards to the traditional style of learning things, one has to be strict; that is one has to present in the class from a particular time period and one can’t be any late. One has to present every morning from 9 am sharp to 1-2 pm in the afternoon with a few breaks at a certain interval.

So the system was quite rigid and one has to follow no matter whether one is feeling sick or have some important task otherwise. But in online courses, since it’s self-regulated one can read any time one wants. It may happen that the student may be busy during the day but at night he is free, and he can complete the syllabus at that point in time. So it gives a lot of flexibility regarding the time of studying, place of studying as students can do group study with their friend in the library or at their friend’s house, and also in regarding the style of the examination as well.

The whole idea of an online course is to impart knowledge so their examination style is also unique like some uses online MCQ test to test the applicability of the principle learnt in the practical world. Other uses open-ended questions which need through research and brainstorm before writing the answer, the whole point is to ensure that the student learns the topic does not rote the principles.

3. Multitude of options

In schools and universities, the standard curriculum is set for all the students whether they like it or not or, whether they are as per the need of the society or not.

Online courses are not only tailor-made to suit one’s need, but there are varieties options are available to suit one’s need which is lacking in traditional universities.

Like, one is interested in corporate sectors there are a bunch of online courses applicable to suit their needs like there is one in M&A, one in contract drafting, one in securities law, one in tax law, one in corporate governance and many more. If one is interested in international law, then there is an online course on IHL, space law, working on UN, international human rights law and many more like that. So, if needs have command over the corporate area, then these series of courses can be done so that one can give holistic understanding over the topic.

4. Individualized learning

Not all students are same; some needs repetitive instructions to clear their doubts some get their doubts cleared in the first time itself.

Online courses are tailor-made to suit the needs of each student.

They further provide a personalised mentor who supervises on how to study the whole subject and in what manner, how much time is to be given, how to adjust it with other activities and likewise. So they make sure that students are not lost in the sea and that provide counselling, on-the-phone help and other different services so that one can have its doubts and confusion cleared regarding the subject.

Many provide subjects in learn-at-your own pace basis, which means there is no time limit that the course has to be completed in the certain time period, but rather it’s open-ended, it can be completed in either 2 days, or in 1 month or in 1 year as well.

5. Different learning platforms

In traditional universities, one gets to learn from the same old professors & from the same old books recommended by them or, what has been lying in the college library for decades. But in online courses, one gets to interact with the professors who are expert in their field. One gets to read those books or documents which are read by students of foreign universities.

Like if one takes Harvard’s online course on copyright, then one would not only be taught by their copyright teacher who is an expert in the field and is a teacher of an international repute but would also be given materials which are used by Harvard in their daily course. So, one would get to enrich their knowledge from different courses.

II. Cons of Online courses

Every aspect has two sides to it, similarly, the online course has its demerits which re as follows:-

1. Cost factor

It’s important to understand that college education and online education are independent of each other. It’s not like if one undertakes college education then one doesn’t need an online course or vice-versa. So normally NLUs cost about 2 lakhs per annum excluding other necessary expense. And adding to it, the expense of online courses, then the sum total is quite high.

Cost of online courses depends upon a few factors, like on subject matter of the course, the duration of the course, the company or university offering the course. But on an around few thousand bucks has to be shell away.

And if the course is being offered by a foreign university then the amount can shoot up to a few lakhs of rupees as well. So it becomes a deterrent factor which stops many students in undertaking online courses.

2. Lack of self-discipline

Unlike colleges where there is a deadline for completion of assignments and there is a compulsion to study on regular basis or passing in test becomes difficult and one has to attend the college for attendance, online courses lack these factors.

Many online courses are as per ones-own-pace, so it has the chances of making student procrastinate as it lacks disciple, so students instead of studying on a daily basis or, studying only at the time of exam, or instead of doing assignments in a diligent manner may just use different short-cuts tactics in completing it, so the whole point of undertaking online courses gets defeated.

3. Non-certification by government

Colleges and universities in India are NAAC accredited which certifies whether the university is an original one or a fake one and secondly, its standard- i.e. it gives certain score and on the basis of which it gives a grade like “A” or “B” grade university so that student gets the idea what is the quality of education in those universities.

But in case of online courses, there exists no such governing body. So there are high chances that some fake company starts to collect money and then gets dissolved or even worse stets to impart wrong and unnecessary information to the fertile minds which shall have long-lasting impacts furthermore, another problem which arises from this is that it’s hard to differentiate between two companies offering the same courses.

Without the basis of ranking or grading, it’s difficult to analyse which of the two companies are better. So problems like authenticity, quality comes into picture which also hinders young students in taking online courses.

4. Technological limitations

Now, most of the online courses are delivered through the use of modern technologies, lie through Skype and likewise. Now it creates a problem for those students who are not technologically well literate, like those coming from rural or from small towns, for them it shall be a huge problem to operate those things and shall create technological barriers.

Unless and until they find some other way of imparting knowledge, the online course shall be exclusively for those students who are well versed with the different types of technology.

IV. Conclusion

After analysing the importance and disadvantages of the online courses in today’s time, it can be said that advantages outweigh disadvantages by a very large margin and that it’s not the option for today’s generation, but rather an essential need to remain as relevant in present cut-throat competitions where every day there is a threat that somebody might replace you and that one needs to be updated with the development of the society. So it might deem expenditure, but it must be viewed as an investment in oneself for one’s better future.


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Author: Sagnik Sarkar

Sagnik Sarkar is currently studying BBA LLB in National law University, Odisha and is in his 3rd year. He is interested in mooting, writing a research paper and has publications in his name. Writing a research paper and mooting has helped him in his editing and formatting ability.

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