At the age of 17, you are not allowed to drink alcohol or vote but, by the time you start Year 11, you are expected to know what you will do for a job for forty-odd years.
Add to this the evolving expectations of employers, and the fact that employment market predictions indicate that most people will have up to 17 jobs across 5 completely different industries throughout their career, and your dream job at 17 years of age can feel outdated by 25, let alone 30 or 40.
By the time your school reunion comes around, you may have realised that 17 was not the best age to choose a career. You may want to start again and do that degree you wish you had chosen the first time around – but now you have a job, a mortgage and maybe even a young family. Starting from scratch may not be an option.
The online Juris Doctor from the Australian National University is an external postgraduate law degree that allows you to change direction in your career, without abandoning your job or leaving your community.
The JD (Online) is not simply the equivalent of an ‘on campus‘ law degree that has been uploaded to a website along with a prescribed book list. Half the fun of university life is the opportunity to collaborate with peers and experts, and to learn through discussions and the sharing of ideas – the JD (Online) at the ANU is designed to be interactive.
Juris Doctor programs director, Associate Professor Mark Nolan, explains that the program is tailor-made and designed by experts in legal education with a proven track record in teaching online.
So we’ve been able to draw on that experience and think ‘what is the best way to engage a student online, and what’s the best way to prevent them feeling isolated’?”
The course is designed to use Problem-Based Learning (PBL) which sets it apart from other online degrees.
You get provoked by a case or a problem. You discuss with the other people in your small group of eight or so what role you are going to take to do some research,” he said.
You then come together and produce, for example, a collective document, which is a way to again be collaborative.
And then that document is passed to the law lecturer, who then gives you feedback on that. Then you go again with another cycle in the problem-based learning cycle.
It’s a deeper way of learning because you’re learning with others in a team.”
From the Top-End to the Apple Isle
Margot Kelly chose the ANU JD (Online) because she wanted to study at a high-ranking university like the Australian National University, without leaving her burgeoning career as an agricultural reporter in Burnie, Tasmania.
Like many professions, there’s a lot of overlap between the legal world and other industries, and I can see a lot of doors open up for me by marrying my experience in the agricultural space with a legal qualification,” she said.
Kirsten Jongsma, a human resources manager in Darwin, has been working in industrial relations law for several years and now she wants to pursue a career as a policy maker within the sector.
Although she has lived and studied in Canberra, she didn’t want to leave her life in Darwin and was glad to still have the chance to study with ANU.
I chose ANU to do my law degree because when I was doing my research it really stood out as one of the most prestigious law universities in Australia, and it also offered the course that I wanted to do online so that was the best choice for me,” she said.
It works for me because I get to stay where I want to be, which at the moment, is Darwin.
But I also love that if I want to leave Darwin, I don’t have to leave the degree. It means that I can just take that with me and I can go wherever I want.”
Learning by discovery
Associate Professor Nolan says that the course design prepares students for a career in law, whether they want to work as a solicitor, barrister or policy maker, or to use their legal skills in another profession.
It’s learning by doing and it’s learning by discovery,” he said.
What we are essentially training you to do is to learn in a way which is inherently flexible; online, but still collaborative, still personal, still developing the skills that you need to develop as a lawyer, even though we may never meet you face-to-face.”
The ANU Juris Doctor (online) is uniquely designed for part-time students seeking to study online with one of the world’s top-ranked law schools. The ANU Juris Doctor (online) allows students with a non-law Australian bachelor degree, or international equivalent, to gain the academic qualification needed for a career in law, legal practice and related sectors.
This post is proudly sponsored by the Australian National University College of Law.