Most Law Students Are Comfortable With Online Learning: Survey

More than 75% of law students are comfortable with online learning, according to the Law School Survey of Student Engagement of Indiana University.
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  • Over 8 out of 10 law students over the age of 40 are mostly to very comfortable with online discussions.
  • Less than half of students are comfortable with accessing online academic resources.
  • Only 10% of law students are mostly online.

Most law students are comfortable with online learning since the pandemic, a new law school survey finds. However, students aren't entirely used to the online learning environment and feel less comfortable accessing academic resources.

The findings were published as part of the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE) of Indiana University, which considered more than 13,000 responses from students enrolled at more than 70 law schools in spring 2022.

According to LSSSE Director Meera E. Deo, more than 75% of law students are comfortable with nearly all features of online learning, including faculty and peer-to-peer interactions and final exams.

The survey also found that comfort with live online discussions increases with age: Almost two-thirds (62%) of students 23-25 were mostly or very comfortable, while 86% of students over 40 were mostly or very comfortable with live online discussions.

The study found that 50% of law students took at least one fully online or mostly online course.

Besides being comfortable in an online environment, the study found that almost 90% of online and in-person learners are learning to think critically and analytically.

Despite students' apparent comfort and the advancements in online learning during the pandemic, only 10% of law students are mostly taking their classes online, with 20% having a hybrid mix of online and in-person courses.

According to the survey, less than half (47%) of online students are mostly or very comfortable with online learning accessibility.

However, most students are less comfortable accessing or are unable to access learning support. Some don't know that certain services — such as academic success or writing centers — exist.

Despite resource accessibility issues, 76% of law students still have a positive online learning experience. According to the survey, mostly or entirely online students experience more flexibility with non-academic responsibilities like work and family.

First-year, mostly in-person law students reported a positive law school experience, and mostly online first-years reported even higher satisfaction with their law school experience (80% vs. 81%). Most second- and third-year students also said they had a positive experience, but reported less satisfaction with law school than all first-year students.

Third-year online students reported the least overall satisfaction (69%), which the survey speculates might be due to disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic.