SANS Institute | Legal 523

My SANS course (Law of Data Security and Investigations) is available in both live delivery and recorded listen-from-where-you-are format.

Live Concert vs Recording

The difference between the live delivery and the recorded delivery is like the difference between a live concert and a recorded song. The former is a physical, multi-sensory experience where we discuss, debate and learn through interaction how to think differently about a difficult topic. The latter is a recording of my voice, matched with slides & notes.

Obviously many people are unable to attend the live event. But the live event is more fun and engaging. The interaction is more than just a formal exchange of words between the students and me.  It includes the full range of human communication, like hand gestures, facial expressions and manipulation of props like the flip chart and my over-wide necktie. It includes the students talking to each other, both in the open classroom and privately during the breaks.

In a live classroom I tape handwritten posters on the walls so as to reinforce key ideas. Then I point to those posters when they are relevant to the conversation. The classroom becomes a three-dimensional learning environment; students learn things by just turning their gaze from one wall to the next.

The Education Flows in Both Directions.

I have benefited immeasurably by teaching the course since 2003. SANS students are smart, and they teach me. They tell me war stories. They help me understand how technology works in practice. I constantly change the course in reaction to what I learn from students. 

The process of writing, delivering and updating that course also makes me a better lawyer. It expands my base of experience. It lets me test arguments and ideas. Over the years I have suggested lots of measures for managing legal risk (like saying one thing or another in a contract or in terms of service), and students have disagreed with me. I then refine or change my ideas.

So the education is a two-street, especially in the live classroom.

P.S. We work hard to make the OnDemand version of the course the best it can possibly be. And we continue to improve. For example, in two weeks SANS and I will be shooting a new Introductory video specifically to support the OnDemand version. As technology improves, OnDemand is becoming a richer experience . . . even though it will be a while before OnDemand is as compelling as a bunch of people all together in a real classroom.
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