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October 19, 2007

Should law schools support/cultivate an on-line notes archive?

In this post at the Conglomerate, Lisa Fairfax talks about a company that sells "professional typed notes for daily class lectures" to undergraduates.  Lisa (and commentors) explores whether a similar market could develop for law schools student notes.

The post has me thinking about whether law schools ought to formally and officially support and cultivate an on-line notes archive for its students.  Such an archive could provide helpful (and needed?) assistance to students who get sick or otherwise end up missing multiple classes.  moreover, law schools developing a notes archive could urge students to use the archive as a supplement, rather than a substitute, to robust class participation.  And schools could stress that these archives would provide a better study aid than expensive commercial products that cannot be professor-specific.

My sense is that there is always an informal note sharing network that students help create (and regularly tap into) in various ways.  But these informal networks cannot provide nearly the assistance or quality control that could exist in an archive formally and officially supported by a law school.

Finally, I think the creation of such an official archive could help justify a professor's decision to ban laptops from the classroom.  If students have ready access to an effective notes archive, it seems a lot less problematic to bar students from using a computer to take notes in class.

Posted by DAB

October 19, 2007 in Teaching -- pedagogy, Technology -- in the classroom | Permalink


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For an even more interactive approach, what about basing such an archive on a wiki site, and encouraging students to make clarifications and updates?

Posted by: Meg Kribble | Oct 19, 2007 2:17:02 PM

I believe some student associations at law schools often serve as clearinghouses for course outlines.

Of course, in using notes prepared in earlier years, students should be aware that:

(1) course material changes from year to year;

(2) different faculty may teach the same subject in different ways, with different emphasis and expectations; and

(3) #2 above applies to a single professor as well.

Posted by: Anupam Chander | Oct 22, 2007 8:30:23 PM

SwapNotes runs an exchange among law schools -- they did a presentation at the CALI conference that was less contentious than I'd expected.

I've used wikis as a place for students to take notes on both class and on readings. It can really work great, especially if you get the students to organize themselves.

Posted by: Gene Koo | Oct 24, 2007 6:00:56 PM

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