Teaching

One of the Berkman Center’s top priorities is education. Faculty, fellows, and staff affiliated with the Center engage in teaching activities that address complex legal, technological, social, and business issues; examine questions of both public and private law; and integrate relevant international and domestic legal considerations from a global perspective.

These efforts reach students from Harvard Law School and various other Harvard University graduate programs (including the Harvard Graduate School of Design and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences), Harvard College, and Harvard Extension School, as well as interested members of the general public.

The Center places a premium on innovation in pedagogy, with an emphasis on interdisciplinarity, peer-learning, and mentorship. The Digital Problem Solving Initiative serves as one example of a novel teaching and learning initiative, offering participants an opportunity to enhance and cultivate competency in various digital literacies as teams engage with research, design, and policy relating to the digital world The Berkman Center also hosts Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, a first-of-its-kind law school clinical program founded in 1999. The program is designed to offer students real-world opportunities to advise clients on legal issues relating to technology, intellectual property, privacy, online speech, and the like, under the close supervision of practicing attorneys.

The Berkman Center seeks to develop and deploy technology that enhances educational opportunities for instructors and learners alike. The H2O online textbook platform, developed by Berkman Center Director Jonathan Zittrain, demonstrates the Center’s commitment to building tools that allow students and their teachers to engage with course materials.

Finally, the Berkman Center prioritizes engagement not just with Harvard students, or within the academic community more generally, but with the broader public. Efforts such as the Center’s reading group series and the online CopyrightX course taught by Berkman Center Director Terry Fisher reach a wide audience and invite a diverse range of participants to wrestle with issues at the heart of the Center’s work.

Below, this list of Berkman-affiliated courses represents a partial list of these offerings.


Comparative Online Privacy – Spring 2015

Online privacy has become a major issue for Internet users, technology companies, online business, researchers, and policy-makers around the world, as more and more personal information is collected, aggregated, shared, and used across a wide variety of contexts. Policy-makers on both sides of the Atlantic - and globally - have been responsive to concerns expressed by users, consumer organizations, activists, and academics, and have proposed an important series of new laws, regulations, and other privacy-enhancing instruments at the international and national level. At the same time, the approaches aimed at regulating the respective information practices on the Internet - targeting social networking sites, online advertising, data aggregators, and the like - as well as the details of the proposed privacy norms are highly controversial.

Copyright – Spring 2015

This course explores copyright law and policy. Approximately two thirds of the readings and class time are devoted to the American copyright system; the remainder are devoted to the major relevant multilateral treaties and to the laws pertaining to copyright and "neighboring rights" in other countries. Substantial attention is paid to the efforts of philosophers, economists, and social theorists to justify, reform, or abolish the copyright system.

Cyberlaw Clinic – Spring 2015

The Cyberlaw Clinic, based at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, engages Harvard Law School students in a wide range of real-world client counseling, licensing and transactional, litigation, advocacy and policy projects and cases, covering a broad spectrum of Internet, new technology, and intellectual property legal issues.

Rhetoric and Public Discourse – Spring 2015

Some of our questions: What roles do and should intermediaries play in setting our topical agendas and shaping conversations around them? What impact does and can money have in influencing opinion on a large scale? What new modalities exist to facilitate conversation and closure among parties who disagree in good faith? Should advocates and agents be treated the same as those who claim to be speaking for themselves? Are there ways to identify and mitigate discourse grounded in bad faith, a.k.a. truthiness?

Teaching Copyright – Spring 2015

Teaching Copyright Return to Course Catalog Professor William Fisher Spring 2015 Course Meets: T 7:00pm - 9:00pm 2 classroom credits Note: The credit breakdown for this course is as follows: three total credits -- two classroom credits and one writing credit. This course is designed for students who are interested in deepening their knowledge of copyright law and gaining experience with law teaching. Each student in the course will be a Teaching Fellow for CopyrightX, an online copyright course taught by Prof. Fisher to roughly 500 students worldwide.

Law and the Global Health Crisis – Spring 2015

Many developing countries are already facing or will soon face health crises arising from the increasing incidence of communicable and non-communicable diseases. This Reading Group will explore potential legal and market-based interventions to mitigate the human and economic toll of such diseases. Particular attention will be paid to ways in which pharmaceutical companies, governments, and NGOs might contribute, individually or collaboratively, to the alleviation of the crisis.

Cyberlaw Clinic – Winter 2015

The Cyberlaw Clinic, based at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, engages Harvard Law School students in a wide range of real-world client counseling, licensing and transactional, litigation, advocacy and policy projects and cases, covering a broad spectrum of Internet, new technology, and intellectual property legal issues.

Aesthetic and Interpretive Understanding 51: The Cosmos of the Comedy – Fall 2014

This course provides an in-depth exploration of Dante Alighieri's 14th-century masterpiece, the Divine Comedy, from the standpoint of the history of Western poetry, language, religious belief, geography and science. Particular attention is paid to Dante's dialogue with ancient authors such as Plato, Aristotle, Virgil and Ovid, as well as to imaginative mappings of Hell, Purgatory and Paradise.

American Jury – Fall 2014

With mythic origins in Magna Carta, a history intimately connected with struggles for liberty, cornerstone of constitutions of the states and United States of America, the American jury was once the bulwark of our liberty and the foundation of our law. Our class will engage the jury as history and practice. We will find it sick, institutionally speaking, weakened by racism wrapped in legalism, and urgently in need of competent legal representation, which we will seek to provide.

Computer Science 187: Computational Linguistics – Fall 2014

Watson is the world Jeopardy champion. Siri responds accurately to "Should I bring an umbrella tomorrow?". How do they work? This course provides an introduction to the field of computational linguistics, the study of human language using the tools and techniques of computer science, with applications to a variety of natural-language-processing problems such as those deployed in Watson and Siri, and covers pertinent ideas from linguistics, logic programming, and statistical modeling.

Cyberlaw Clinic – Fall 2014

The Cyberlaw Clinic, based at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, engages Harvard Law School students in a wide range of real-world client counseling, licensing and transactional, litigation, advocacy and policy projects and cases, covering a broad spectrum of Internet, new technology, and intellectual property legal issues.

Internet and Society – Fall 2014

Our class will engage in understanding and building a public realm in cyberspace. Dedicated to the memory of Aaron Swartz, we will consider the history of the Internet, its generative capacity for expanding our public realm, public access to open knowledge, and Internet-mediated civic engagement and political participation.

Law of Surveillance – Fall 2014

New laws and new regulatory approaches are now under consideration to assist and constrain the intelligence community and law enforcement authorities. Meanwhile, private actors have access to enormous amounts data and are unsure how to respond to government requests. This seminar will cover readings in doctrinal surveillance law and related issues.

Marketing – Fall 2014

The objectives of this course are to demonstrate the role of marketing in the company; to explore the relationship of marketing to other functions; and to show how effective marketing builds on a thorough understanding of buyer behavior to create value for customers.

Contemporary Issues in Foreign Intelligence Gathering - Spring 2014

We will discuss how an intelligence community's activities can be meaningfully communicated to the public while respecting its sources and methods; how agencies might internally reconcile their various missions to protect the public and protect public values; and what a set of authorities and limitations for intelligence collection might look like if a clean slate were available on which to develop them.

Copyright - Spring 2014

This course will explore copyright law and policy. Approximately two thirds of the class time and readings will be devoted to the American copyright system; the remainder will be devoted to the major relevant multilateral treaties and to the laws pertaining to copyright and "neighboring rights" in other countries.

Cyberlaw Clinic - Spring 2014

The Cyberlaw Clinic, based at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, engages Harvard Law School students in a wide range of real-world client counseling, licensing and transactional, litigation, advocacy and policy projects and cases, covering a broad spectrum of Internet, new technology, and intellectual property legal issues.

Digital Platforms - Spring 2014

The Internet operates in layers, and so does much of the technology that hooks up to it: PCs, mobile phones, tablets. Nearly two decades ago those platforms were conceptually simple: a "generative" base offered by one manufacturer, on which any third party could build. (Think: Windows and the programs that run on it.) Some efforts by platform makers to tip the scales in their favor in the layer above resulted in extended controversy and regulatory efforts, such as over Windows coming bundled with Internet Explorer. Today platforms are just as vital but far more complex. We have hybrids like the iOS and Android operating systems or the Facebook and Twitter platforms, where the platform makers offer their systems as services rather than products, influencing and sometimes outright limiting connection between users and independent developers for those platforms. How should we think about these new platforms? What counts as a "level playing field," and what responsibility, if any, is there for public authorities to enforce it? What lessons, if any, do the prior tangles offer for today?

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