Conflict and Cyberspace: Online Dispute Resolution (Legal Studies 491O) - Spring 2005

Professor: Alan Gaitenby, 106 Gordon Hall,

Offline Office Hours: TuTh 11 – 12, by appt.
Online Office Hours: Email anytime (though don’t expect instantaneous replies). I’ll also be in the course chat during those same times and possible at other announced times depending on the week

TA: Callie Gray,

Online Office Hours: M 10-11 in the course chat

General Description: This hybrid distance education course introduces students to the evolving field of online dispute resolution (ODR). This course will focus on the history / evolution of ODR, nature of online practices / interactions / disputes, ODR systems and applications, and the future of information technology to conflict avoidance and/or management.

Structure: Course will consist primarily of online content and activities– however we will have periodic class meetings here on campus. Online content will be in the form of readings (Files or URL’s to be provided), audio lectures (MP3 or other files), chats and threaded discussions with the professor and various guest lecturers, and participation in simulations or other ODR exercises. Offline content will be reading (at least one book – to be announced later in the semester) and some face to face lecturing / discussion / activities in class. Students will participate in online dispute resolution exercises utilizing different online platforms and dispute resolution techniques (i.e. mediation, negotiation, and arbitration). In addition, the class will offer online interactive seminars and exercises with prominent ODR guest lecturers.

1) submitted written work / quizzes (40%);
2) participation in discussions, chats, and exercises / simulations (20%);
3) exam / project (40%)

Note: Students can expect one quiz and / or written assignment per week.

How does a hybrid online/offline class work? The online course site ( is the backbone for this course. Students will get assignments, announcements, etc. there and will submit all work there as well unless otherwise noted. Students will be expected to have internet access and be moderately comfortable with web interfaces and downloading / uploading files. We will have an as yet undetermined number of regular class meetings during the course of the semester (will be posted / announced in due course). Course is divided into weekly sessions (see syllabus outline), each is represented by an icon on the homepage of the coursesite. The coursesite is a dynamic entity, growing throughout the semester, students will need to get used to regularly accessing it for upcoming events, work, assignments, etc. We will do our best to keep you posted and on track using the emailing and other communication utilities.

Schedule: January 26, 2005 – May 11, 2005

Materials: Most materials will be online. We will be using one book, I hear what you say, but what are you telling me? The strategic use of nonverbal communication in mediation, Barbara G. Madonik. To Order Please Visit:

Platform: The course will be facilitated using UMass WebCT distance education platform (


1. Introduction (week of Jan. 24 - offline) – Course introduction, review of basic ADR components, practices, history, applications. What is Conflict? What is Conflict Resolution? Is it the same as Dispute Resolution? What do we know already about dispute resolution? Why is it important to have a multitude of means for resolving conflict? Place of power in conflict and conflict resolution? From that, can we imagine the use of IT in dispute resolution writ large? Movement from conflict to politics and the place for identity? Readings (to be completed by the subsequent class): “Some reflections on conflicts management in Cyberspace,” Karim Benyekhlef, (read Introduction and Section A); “Online Dispute Resolution: Implications for the ADR Profession,” Dan DeStephen and John Helie,; “Five Surprising Lessons,” Lawrence Susskind,

2. ADR / ODR primer (week of Jan. 31 - offline) – Introduce ODR, contexts where ODR might apply / might not, so-called proffered advantages / disadvantages of ODR, acronyms of ODR, types of ODR – go over reading from week 1. Online Assignment(s): Listen to first set of lectures by Colin Rule, former Legal Studies adjunct and current chief of dispute resolution at – view attendant powerpoints (both available on coursesite). Readings: Intro and Chapter 1 to Online Dispute Resolution, Resolving Conflicts in Cyberspace, Katsh and Rifkin,; Draft of “Online Dispute Resolution,” by Gaitenby in The Internet Encyclopedia,; Chapter 1 in ODR for Business, Rule,; Quiz

3. ODR History and Context (week of Feb. 7 - online) – General overview of ODR’s development, review the early experiments, non-profit and academic, Internet boom/revolution, integration, standards efforts, evolving applications. Online Assignment: Colin Rule’s second set of audio lectures and powerpoints (See appropriate module on Course Homepage) Reading(s): “115 and Counting: The State of ODR 2004,” Melissa Conley Tyler,; “Technical Aspects of ODR: Challenges and Opportunities,” Ernest Thiessen and John Zeleznikow,; Quiz: Week 2 (Jan. 31) material quiz online (must take between Thursday 9.00 pm EST and Friday 9.00 pm EST – See Quiz module on Course Homepage); Online Discussion: Threaded Discussion on Identity begins 2/9 (see Discussions section on homepage); Chats: We will meet in class chats during class time on 2/9 – check homepage for schedule and further instructions.

4. ODR Applications (week of Feb. 14 - online) – A look at Ecommerce (B2B, B2C), Insurance, Workplace, Multiparty public disputes, International, other ODR applications. Online Assignment: Colin Rule’s third set of audio lectures and powerpoints. Reading(s): Chapters 4,5 in ODR for Business, Rule,; Online Discussion / Chats: The Identity Exercise – See Week of Feb. 14 Module on Homepage for this; Quiz: Week of Feb. 7 material quiz online (must take between Thursday (2/17) 9.00 pm EST and Friday (2/18)11.30 pm EST); Written Assignment: None.

5. ODR Applications Continued (week of Feb. 21 - online) – From ADR to ODR, Online Communication, New Challenges and Skills, Online Processes and Standards, Mastering the Technology, Designing ODR Systems. Online Assignment: Colin Rule’s fourth set of audio lectures and powerpoints. Reading(s): Chapters 3, 4 from Katsh and Rifkin’s Online Dispute Resolution; Online Discussion / Chats: None; Quiz: Week of Feb. 14 material quiz online (must take between Thurs. (2/24) 9.00 pm EST and Friday (2/25) 11.30 pm EST); NOTE: There is no online / offline class meeting this week due to President’s Day Holiday.

6. ODR and Issues of Culture (week of Feb. 28 -online) – Online Assignment: Audio and PowerPoint lecture by Daniel Rainey, Director of Alternative Dispute Resolution Services, The National Mediation Board – to be uploaded late week of Feb. 21 (Available in the Module on Homepage for Week of Feb. 28); Reading(s):Culture, Language and Online Dispute Resolution,” Siew Fang Law and David Peter Leonard, RMIT University and Dispute Settlement Centre Victoria – Australia, Dept. of Justice; “The Cultural Vacuum in Online Dispute Resolution,” Sharanya Rao, Associate Director of Programs, Envision EMI Inc. Online Discussion / Chats: Threaded asynchronous discussion.

7. International Application of ODR (week of March 7 -online) – Melissa Conley Tyler - Melissa is the program manager for the International Conflict Resolution Center at the University of Melbourne - and continuation of last week’s activities with Dan Rainey;

8. Spring Break (week of March 14)

9. International Applications of ODR (week of March 21 - online) – Sanjana Hattotuwa, Content and Strategic Engagement Consultant of; Online Lecture(s): Audio and PowerPoint lectures by Sanjana Hattotuwa of (i) Overview of Sri Lanka; (ii) Overview of technology and tsunami relief efforts; (iii) Overview of Info Share, it's work and vision; (iv) Info Share’s virtual One-Text process. NOTE: please see the module for week of March 21 for the files. Online Reading: (i) Sanjana’s personal observations a month after the tsunami hit; (ii) Daring to Dream - Sanjana’s article on groupware and peacebuilding; (iii) On Technology and Disasters; (iv) Info Share's tsunami relief work; (v) Info Share's Peace Library; (vi) Tsunami Relief via Laptop - article on Info Share’s technology after the tsunami

10. Online Auctions and Mediation (week of March 28 - online) – Mark Eckstein ( mediator) will be available in the threaded discussion forum ( to engage w/ students. Online Reading: “Mediating Screen to Screen,” pp. 135-147 from Katsh and Rifkin’s Online Dispute Resolution. “Skills – Trust and Communication,” pp. 147-155 from Katsh and Rifkin’s Online Dispute Resolution AS WELL AS ADROnline Monthly April/May 2000 -particularly: Harvard’s Berkman Center Online Course - Trust and Non-Trust in Law, Business, and Behavioral Science: The Meaning of Trust; Developing and Maintaining Trust in Work Relationships; What is Trust?; Trust, Precarious Treasure I, Trust, Precarious Treasure II, Forms and Facades of Trust, Net Service Sells Online Seal of Approval; Ethics and Standards of Practice, pp. 155-162 from Katsh and Rifkin’s Online Dispute Resolution;

11. Cyberweek 2005 / Platform Practicum – (week of April 4 - online) – Conflict Lab hosts simulations in which groups of players on opposite sides of challenging conflicts engage each other in a structured negotiation process. Through memorable experiences and just-in-time coaching, players learn negotiation, communication, leadership, team building, critical thinking and conflict resolution skills.

12. Platform Practicum – (week of April 11 - online / offline TBD) – Graham Ross (founder of ClaimRoom) PRELIMINARY INTRODUCTION (Powerpoint on ODR and TCR - See Week of 4/11 module for file)





13. Platform Practicum – eRoom (week of April 18 - online/offline TBD) – Colin Rule, Center fellow and head of ODR at eBay, will facilitate a multiparty exercise using eRoom platform technology. 1. Class will meet in very briefly to get instructions, etc. - otherwise we are online this week. 2. We will do a role play / simulation using the eRooms we used for the Identity exercise earlier in the semester.

14. ODR and Communication with Barbara Madonik, President, Unicom Communication Consultants Inc. (Part 1 - week of April 25 - online/offline TBD) – Assignment will be reading some excerpts from Ms. Madonik’s book along w/ a case and then having a structured discussion w/ her in our ODR Office chat room at the coursesite.

15. ODR and Communication with Barbara Madonik (Part 2 - week of May 2 - online/offline TBD)

16. Course Wrap up – May 11

Copyright 2005 Alan Gaitenby. Teachers are free to copy these materials for educational use in their courses only, provided that appropriate acknowledgment of the author is made. For permission to use these materials for any other purpose, contact the author.