Legal Hackathon

A group of 25 Harvard Law School students worked around the clock the weekend of Feb. 22 to confront the question of content-use policies for HarvardX, and what they may mean for Harvard University and the future of education.

The first-ever Legal Hackathon, sponsored by the Dean’s Office and the Harvard Law Entrepreneurship Project and Harvard Innovation Lab, was based on earlier computer programming hackathons in which programmers have collaborated to solve computer software questions.

Working in teams of four, students participated in brainstorms, a teach-in on copyright fair use and Creative Commons licensing, and a panel discussion on the future of Edtech with the CEOs of Boundless Learning, and the Boston Startup School and an expert from Wikipedia. Also joining the discussion were Dean Martha Minow, Professors Lawrence Lessig and Jonathan Zittrain ‘95, and key members of the edX program, a not-for-profit enterprise of Harvard University and MIT that offers online learning to on-campus students and to millions of people around the world.

On Sunday, the students presented their model policies and participated in a discussion with Dean Minow. “After the presentations, we had an utterly fascinating conversation with the panelists that lasted about an hour longer than we had scheduled,” said Daniel Doktori ’13, an organizer of the event and one of the dean’s liaisons to the Harvard Innovation Lab. “This was a great example of Dean Minow’s commitment to alternative methods of legal education and her support of student-led initiatives.”