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October 6, 2007

Top blawgs for would-be law school innovators

The folks at Blawg Review have created this meme throughout the blawgosphere urging the creation of a "list of blawgs that are 'simply the best.'"  Rather than jump into the "best" game, I thought it made more sense here to list what I consider the be the most important blawg reads for would be law-school innovators.  Here goes (in alphabetical order):

I am sure I am leaving out some useful reads, so perhaps readers in the comments will flag other blogs that talk about legal education and its possible reforms.

On a tangential front, I think someone (perhaps the folks at Law Blog Metrics) ought to be tracking and analyzing which types of blawgs are making the most best 10 lists.

Posted by DAB

October 6, 2007 in Blogging by lawyers and law professors | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 4, 2007

Mac Users Only: Install Boot Camp Now

Apple’s Boot Camp, which permits users to load Windows XP onto their Mac laptop, has thus far been a “beta” product. Apple has announced that that Beta will expire this month when Leopard is released. Our information technology director, Jamie Butler, tells me that he has been assured that:

“if you already have Boot Camp installed, your computer will continue to function normally. You should have no problems using your existing windows partitions. Apple is disabling the ability to create additional partitions. The idea is that if a student hasn't installed windows prior to the release of Boot Camp, they will be required to purchase the new version.”

This slight technical detail may seem irrelevant to Law School Innovation, but Mac users at many schools are required to use Boot Camp to access the (alarmingly) Windows-only exam testing software ExamSoft. Thus, if you don’t have Boot Camp already installed, would prefer not to buy Leopard, but still would like to use ExamSoft, you might want to install it now.

Anupam Chander

October 4, 2007 in Technology -- in general | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 3, 2007

Do we want on-line production and/or faculty-edited journals to bring the demise of traditional law reviews?

Larry Solum, Paul Caron and others (myself included) have written thoughtfully about the future of legal scholarship, justifiably focusing on the impact of technology on traditional forms of law review production and dissemination.  Somewhat less discussed, though perhaps no less important, is a seemingly growing interest among legal scholars to cultivate faculty-edited journals as an alternative to traditional student-edited law reviews.  (This recent announcement that Harvard Law School professors are launching a new faculty-edited journal, to be called the Journal of Legal Analysis, is Exhibit A documenting this trend.)

Though many are now noticing and effectively describing the modern (and rapid?) evolution of legal scholarship, I have still seen relatively little normative analysis of these trends.  Specifically, I wonder if readers think we should embrace or resist movement away from traditional student-edited law reviews as the primary outlet for legal scholarship. 

Perhaps because I am a blogger and an editor of two distinct peer-review journals (the Federal Sentencing Reporter and the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law), I tend to endorse the modern migration away from traditional student-edited law reviews.  That said, I hope (and expect) that student-edited law reviews will always play a significant role in the universe of legal scholarship.  I also suspect that the work of promotion and tenure committees will be the most important "market force" shaping these realities.

Posted by DAB

October 3, 2007 in Scholarship -- online, Scholarship -- traditional | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 2, 2007

USC Law Students Adopt University-Branded Google Apps for Education

USC Law is the first school in the university and one of the first law schools in the nation to implement Google Apps for Education, an online suite of communication and collaboration tools including Gmail (e-mail with 2 GB of storage per account), integrated chat, and applications for calendaring and document and spreadsheet production. Read more about it. See also an overview of Google Apps for Education being added to the USC curriculum. -- Joe Hodnicki

October 2, 2007 in Technology -- in general | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 1, 2007

Scoring Class Participation

We remember it from our own student days:  The social costs of volunteering too often in class.  At some schools, it was even common to play @#$*@ bingo, where the names of talkative fellow students took the place of letters and numbers on a bingo card.  At the very least there was some social pressure not to offer opinions during a lecture.  Now, as professors, we see things from the other side as we try to get our students to discuss policy issues  freely in class.  Certainly, there is the occasional student who talks too much, but the larger problem for law teachers is more often getting anyone to venture an opinion.  This is especially true in large lecture classes where a broader discussion would be a good change from the usual routine once in a while.

From what I have seen, law teachers employ three basic approaches to this problem (where it exists):

1)  Ignore it, and simply lecture without student input.

2)  Rely on the tactic of calling on students specifically, rather than seeking volunteers.  This is especially common with the straight Socratic method.

3)  Provide an incentive to volunteer, such as making it a part of the grade in the class.

The third method is the most pro-active, but requires the professor to keep careful notes, and injects an additional measure of subjectivity into the grading process. 

Is there a better way?

-- Mark Osler

October 1, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack