Saylor.org Professor Profile: Dr. John W. Rooney

Continuing our Consulting Professor Profile series, I’d like to introduce you to John W. Rooney, Ph.D., J.D.  

Hi John, and thank you for taking to the time answer a few questions! Can you please tell our readers what you’re currently working on for the Saylor Foundation?

Certainly!  I’m currently putting the finishing touches on BIO306 Botany. I’m also midway through the designing of LAW205 Intellectual Property.  I’m particularly excited about Saylor’s foray into the Legal curriculum arena.

You certainly have a lot on your plate! What keeps you busy when not designing and peer reviewing Saylor.org courses?

I’m currently designing and teaching courses in law to nurses pursuing their Legal Nurse Consultant Certification at NHTI in Concord, NH.  I’m also teaching science coursework at Franklin Pierce University, as well as on-line at South University.  In addition, I’m doing some contract Patent and Trademark work for some local law firms(In addition to having a Ph.D. in Genetics, I’m also a Patent Attorney.)

Did anything in particular prompt you to participate in Open Education?

I found the idea of free, open source, education compelling.  I’ve never felt that money should be a bar to someone obtaining an education, but until now, it almost always has.  One’s socioeconomic class shouldn’t limit their access to an education. 

Has your work with the Saylor Foundation impacted your approach to teaching in a classroom setting?

I often use Saylor (and other open source college) courses as adjunct sources for my students.  Saylor has wonderful lectures, readings,and assessments that my students have told me they find extremely helpful.

What advice would you give to other professors embarking upon the Open Education space?

The Open Education space represents a wonderful opportunity to teach to a huge, varied group of students and to make a positive contribution to society–precisely the reasons we have entered this profession.  I encourage my colleagues to take part in designing Open Education courses, or tapping into them as an useful, adjunct resource for their “live” courses.

Feel free to share anything else that comes to mind!

As I mentioned earlier, I’m particularly excited about Saylor moving into the legal curriculum field, which traditionally has been a very expensive and exclusive one.  I’m not saying that one should be able to become a licensed practicing attorney through Saylor’s courses [laughs], but these courses aren’t necessarily designed with that in mind.  I think they will be extremely valuable as an adjunct source of legal education for law students, lay people interested in the law, and people studying for their bar exams.  I can easily see the Saylor legal courses serving as a perfectly adequate substitute for the extremely expensive commercial bar review courses which are traditionally taken.  Law school is expensive enough without paying thousands of dollars more for a bar review course.

Thanks so much, John! 

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