With law students, and law schools, moving to online learning, we thought it would be a good idea to see just how the learning experience has been thus far. We asked five Indian law students to share their experiences with one of the most popular online course providers, Coursera.

And this is what they had to say.

1. Course: Introduction to Intellectual Property

Affiliated with: University of Pennsylvania

Reviewed By:  Ipsita Kate, 4th year student at Pravin Gandhi College of Law.

Fees: Self-funded.

This course is conducted by Prof. Polk Wagner, and has three aims. First, to provide a basic introduction to Intellectual Property Law (IP), second, a review on 3 forms of IP and finally, to provide an insight on the other regimes for the protection of IP.

This course helped me understand the differences between various forms of IP. It also provides brief knowledge about the various policies and trade-offs related to IP. The course material is concise and simplified. The only drawback is the peer reviewed final assignment, which can get you a low grade in case it is not reviewed honestly by your peers. I personally found this course useful and would highly recommend this to any law student who is interested in IP laws.

2. Course: International Criminal Law

Affiliated with: Case Western Reserve University

Reviewed by: Grishma Mahatma, 2nd year student at Symbiosis Law School, Pune.

Fees: Self-funded.

The 8-week course covers a wide range of topics, beginning with the Nuremberg trials and the formation of the International Criminal Court, and going on to specialised defences and developing courtroom expertise.

The course had experts such as Prof. Michael Scharf who explained the concept of peace and justice and how justice is an important factor in order to attain peace. One could also study important conventions such as the Geneva Convention, and the SUA Convention on protecting maritime navigation.  I was also taught about forms of pre-trial such as self- representation, plea bargaining, exclusion of torture evidence and exceptions to the same

Each week’s explanation was done with the help of reading material and videos. There were some questions which were asked in the middle of the videos to make sure the concepts were clear. Also, simulations were provided after every week to have a better understanding of the topic. In the end, a 100-marker test with 10 questions each was also to be submitted in order to obtain a certificate.

3. Course: Children’s Human – An Interdisciplinary Introduction

Affiliated with: University of Geneva

Reviewed by: Abhishek B. Singh, 4th year student at Christ University, Bangalore

Fees: University funded. 

This course draws on the contributions of several academic disciplines including law, psychology, sociology, history, educational and health sciences, economy and anthropology, an interdisciplinary approach guides the student into a selection of critical issues concerning children’s rights.

This course aims to enable the students to gain insight relative to the development of this specific human rights category, as well as to the evolution of the challenges and violence’s faced by children over time and how society respond to it. Successful international programmes and strategies that are promoting child rights are highlighted in the course and also involve the international organisations that are working in the field of child rights.

A central portion of this course consists of a presentation of the international and regional standards on children’s rights and the related international and regional judicial and quasi-judicial bodies designed to ensure their implementation. The course is well structured and makes the student understand the concept of children human rights.

4. Course: International Humanitarian Law in Theory and Practice

Affiliated with: Leiden University

Reviewed by: Adhya Manickavelu, 4th year student at Christ University, Bangalore.

 Fees: University funded.

This course is hosted by the Kalshoven-Gieskes Forum on International Humanitarian Law, Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies of Leiden University. This course explores the regime of IHL and its application in cases of the various types armed conflicts. It highlights how the aim of IHL has been fostered by balancing humanity and military necessity through the Four Geneva Conventions and its Additional Protocols that preserves the interests and mandates behavior of persons in conflict. It also portrays examples of IHL’s usage or violation in the recent past, thus outlining the field’s successes and shortcomings.

This course not only accentuates the theoretical application of IHL, but by enabling a forum that enhances discussion and interaction with distinguished scholars and practitioners from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other esteemed institutions, underlines the practical applicability and its scope in the dynamic field of warfare and human rights.

Additionally, being an honors course, it provides an opportunity to the participants apply their learnings to a case study, thus enabling direct contribution to the development of IHL. This course captivates the participants and immensely contributes to translating lessons into potential career benefits.

5. Course: Introduction to English Common Law

Affiliated with: University of London

Reviewed by: Ipsita Kate, 4th year BLS LLB student at Pravin Gandhi College of Law.

Fees: Self-funded.

This course covers the factors that are most important to English law in detail that leaves one confident in your understanding of the English Common Law. The ability to discuss and compare your ideas with others is an interactive element that forces you to evaluate your ideas whilst also allowing you to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the legal system. It provides a very comprehensive review of English Common Law. The basics, such as common law concepts, were covered in sufficient detail.

More complicated topics such as the legal system in the UK was also covered in detail and were made easy to understand. I would recommend this to anyone who wants an insight to English Common Law system.

6. Course: Public Policy Challenges of the 21st Century

Affiliated with: University of Virginia

Reviewed by: Muskaan Wadhwa, 4th year  student at Christ University, Bangalore.

Fees: University funded.

The course public policy challenges of the 21st Century adopts a different route than the usual MOOCs on Coursera. Instead of the traditional lecture method, the course invites several policy advocates and captures their interaction with the students of University of Virginia.

This leaves you with not only a deep understanding of the policy issue but also how students our age would approach these issues in the future. Although modelled around the issues prevalent in the United States, the application of these issues is universal. One of the hallmarks of the course for me was the GT 2030 Planning Exercise which forces the participants and the students of University of Virginia to think over the possible policy challenges of 2030.

The lecture given by Dee Dee Myers, the first female US Press Sectary, is something that particularly resonated with me. She emphasises the importance of listening as a leadership skill, the necessity of homogeneity to foster robust problem solving, and how to overcome failures. I do however wish the course was more interactive by incorporating discussion forums where participants could debate over the policy issues of their countries to make it more relevant.


(If you have any recommendations on useful courses that law students can take, please leave your suggestions in the comments below)