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William Mitchell to offer online courses for law degrees

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William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul will soon become the first law school in the country to offer students half of their courses online, the Star Tribune reports.

The college is scheduled to announce Wednesday details of its new hybrid option, which will allow students to spend only a week or two on campus each semester. The rest of their coursework can be done online.

The program, which has been approved by the American Bar Association, is a first for a fully accredited law school. The ABA accredits 203 law schools across the country.

The program will begin in 2015, where students can spend 12 weeks taking classes online at home and participating in webcasts. The work online will account for about half of the credit hours of the courses.

The other half of the coursework will be taught on campus, where it will be completed through marathon sessions at the beginning and the end of the semesters, the Star Tribune said.

The blog Inside Higher Ed said the program was approved by William Mitchell's Board of Trustees Tuesday night, where President and Dean Eric S. Janus made a statement about the integrity of the program.

"Our message is that this is not an online J.D. degree," Janus said. "This is a J.D. degree that has very substantial and rigorous face-to-face components that I think are going to be designed in a unique way to help people become more prepared to practice law."

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