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Conducting class from the Netherlands, Jackson providing Washburn students valuable experience

Prof. Jackson is teaching a Clinic class from The Netherlands to Washburn students.

From Washburn Law Alumni Newsletter - Fall 2018

A stolen bicycle wasn’t enough to sour Professor Janet Thompson Jackson’s feelings about living abroad in the Netherlands. Bicycles are the main mode of transportation in Groningen, where she is teaching at the University of Groningen and living for a year with her family.

Prof. Jackson is teaching a Clinic class from The Netherlands to Washburn students.“We did what many Dutch people do,” she said. “I jumped on the back of my husband’s bike and he gave me a ride to dinner.”

She and her family spent the summer of 2009 in the Netherlands when she taught a study abroad class. They loved the experience and knew they wanted to return. She’s now teaching her Washburn Law Clinic transactional course remotely, connecting via computer from the Netherlands while her students are in a classroom in Topeka. She will also teach a Masterclass on leadership for the Groningen Honors College and a Legal English course to the Groningen law students.

Students learning remotely get to experience the technology essential to the future of law practice. That’s one of the benefits of Jackson’s course.

“It’s generally the consensus that law schools are not keeping up with the technological needs of the law profession and legal delivery of services,” she said. “One of my goals is to provide a technological base for my students to be able to deliver legal services, not just locally where they are, but globally. I want them to feel very comfortable having conversations with other lawyers, their clients, with third parties, any place in the world, and be proficient in their technological communication in doing so.”

A Groningen colleague will give a guest lecture to Jackson’s Washburn students during the year, and her Washburn students are invited to participate in Jackson’s leadership class.

“I’ll be inviting my Clinic students to participate, so they can actually be in a virtual classroom experience with international students,” she said. “My Clinic students are encouraging other students to sign up next semester while I’ll still be here. For me, that’s a sign it’s been a good experience.”

Prof. Jackson teaches a Clinic class from The Netherlands to Washburn students.

Expanding on distance learning is an initiative of the law school as new regulations allow students to take up to 30 credit hours remotely. Classes can be taught in real-time via web conferencing – like Jackson’s – or professors can offer students recorded lessons and other materials in an online portal. Classes can also be a hybrid of both models.

“It’s definitely worthwhile exploring all of those possibilities,” Jackson said.

The new law school building will expand on this with multiple state-of-the-art spaces, giving students options to do externships outside of Topeka while still being fully engaged with their courses, classmates, and professors back on campus.

Jackson and her family are loving their experience abroad. Her husband is a pastor who’s connecting with non-profit organizations to work with refugees. Their daughter is at an international school, learning Dutch and French and taking ballet.

“We fell in love with the country,” she said. “I’m excited about taking what I’m learning here from my European colleagues and from the technology use and applying it to our expanding distance learning program at Washburn Law.”

Ichabod Washburn statue

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