Summer Updates: MOOCs, and UELMA

Summer is just beginning and I have a little extra time to follow up on some of my earlier columns. As usual I am focusing on open access resources for the frugal learner and researcher. I wrote about massive open online courses (MOOCs) two years ago and have been taking these free courses ever since.

My favorites so far have been the University of California at Berkeley’s Science of Happiness and Harvard University’s Poetry in America series. I most recently completed Poetry in America: Emily Dickinson. Both of these courses are offered by edx and I recommend them as entertaining and productive leisure time activities. I feel lucky that major universities are investing in and experimenting with these free online learning experiences.

If you want to take more serious courses, there are a variety of law related courses available through edx and coursera. Coursera lists 31 law courses, eight of which were active when I wrote this column. One of them, Freedom and Protest: Magna Carta and its Legacies is particularly relevant in this year of celebrating the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta. Edx lists 18 law courses, six of which were current and one upcoming in the fall.

I have written about the Library of Congress’s site,, which is slowly replacing Thomas by migrating older material and adding new material and functionality. On May 28th, their most recent updates were posted by Andrew Weber on the Law Library of Congress blog, In Custodia Legis. They have launched email alerts and have added treaty documents. They also have migrated the Federalist Papers over to the new site.

Over two and a half years ago, I wrote a blog post about the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act (UELMA). This uniform act was intended to guide U.S. states in providing authenticated legal material and making sure that it is preserved and is “reasonably available for use by the public on a permanent basis.” According to the Uniform Law Commission, UELMA has been enacted in twelve states and is currently under consideration in four more.

I will try to keep you updated from time to time on new developments in all of these areas.

Comments are closed.