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August 22, 2008

What if a dean prohibited some faculty use of technology...?

My (half joking) questioning of Eugene Volokh's one-laptop experiment has generated some fun and some serious discussion in the posts and comments at The Volokh Conspiracy:

In the course of responding to one of these posts, I started to ruminate on how law school faculty might react if deans started also to impose some restrictions on the use of technology within law school.

Specifically, I wondered aloud how law faculty might feel if a dean decided to prohibit all professors from using power-point in class AND/OR from using TWEN to post announcement AND/OR from communicating with students through e-mail?  The dean might (reasonably?) assert that he genuinely believed law schools were more personal and more effective when all professors did things the old-fashioned way --- using the chalkboard, putting announcements on paper, talking to students in their offices.

How do you think most law professors would react to a tech ban on some of their common modern communication methods?

Posted by DAB

August 22, 2008 in Technology -- in the classroom | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 21, 2008

Experimenting with a one-child one-laptop policy

Chinaflagvirus I am intrigued and a bit surprised by this post at The Volokh Conspiracy, titled "Experiment with a No-Laptop Policy for Class."  Despite the title, it appears that Eugene Volokh will permit one laptop in his (upper-level?) class, but only for a designated note-taker to transcribe notes that must be shared with collective group.  Eugene justifies his forced experiment this way:

Several law professors at other schools, including some I know well and trust, have conducted such an experiment, and report that they have gotten great results.  Class discussion, they say, is much better.  Students are less distracted, both by things on their own laptops and on their neighbors'.  Students don't feel pressured to take verbatim notes (since that's very hard to do in longhand on notepads), and instead focus on identifying the important points and tying them together.  Students are therefore listening more actively, and are more ready to discuss things and answer questions.

Also, most of the other professors report, anonymous surveys at the end of the semester show that most students like this system more than the normal laptops-OK rule.  (The few exceptions report that students are on balance indifferent to this new system.)  So it sounds like a win-win, which is why I decided to try it here as well.

After the semester is over, I will ask you folks to anonymously report back on the results; you will then also be able to compare your in-class experience in this course with your in-class experience in the other courses, which to the best of my knowledge aren't conducting this experiment.

Not surprisingly, Eugene's one-laptop policy for his classroom has generated lots of interesting comments.  An early comment by A.W. explains part of my surprise about Eugene's decision to embrace this command-and-control approach to his classroom:

[F]rankly, for a libertarian, its funny how quickly "libertarian" professors turn into an authoritarian on this.  If students want to check drudge, shop, or god forbid, visit your site, what is it your business? Really.

Another commentor (jokingly?) calls out Professor Volokh for his "commie-pinko preferences."  Indeed, though I am disinclined to assert that this alone shows how quickly professorial power can corrupt philosophical commitments, I do find remarkable the dramatic move to collectivism here.  Not only is Eugene severely restricting laptop liberty, but he also is mandating that individuals share the fruits of their labor with a student collective all for purported good of the UCLA School of Law.

Posted by DAB.

August 21, 2008 in Technology -- in the classroom | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 18, 2008

Facebook and the law school prof

Jim_chen Today, on the addictive magical world of cocaine Facebook, I saw co-blogger Jim Chen welcome his incoming class of law students with a link to this article.

Would love Jim or anyone else to weigh on how you use Facebook or social networking in general for the classroom. What do you hope to accomplish by being on Facebook? Do you have a policy for friending your students? Does even the concept of "friending" raise concerns about the appropriate relationship you should have with your students? What unique issues have arisen as a result of Facebook friending? (Did you have to go and remove all of your drunken party pics from back when?)

- Gene Koo

August 18, 2008 in Technology -- in the classroom | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Real-world experiences with open access publishing

For anyone interested in open access law reviews, Gregory S. McNeal's experience with Northwestern Law Review is worth reading. Prof. McNeal (Dickinson School of Law, Penn State) needed to push an article out into the public before the topic was moot and found that e-publishing was the best way to go. It seems like was able to get timely publication without sacrificing peer review, with reader comments added on as bonus.

- Gene Koo

August 18, 2008 in Scholarship -- online | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Does a Critical Remark About Opinions Expressed By a Commenter or Blogger On Another Blog Constitute Bullying?

Following up on Mark Osler's post, there are two issues:  one is advance notification to commenters. The second, using trackbacks to give to bloggers a heads-up. Chime in and take our just launched polls at A Kierkegaardian Leap of Faith in Social Media on Law Librarian Blog. -- Joe Hodnicki

August 18, 2008 in Blogging by lawyers and law professors | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack