Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
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Poll

How should law schools approach computers in the classroom.

Ban Computers completely, it will help students learn more
 1 (11.1%)
Ban Computers Completely because it distracts everyone else.
 0 (0%)
Monitor/Limit internet usage. (e.g., teacher could see who is online)
 0 (0%)
Just have a policy and operate it on the honor's system
 2 (22.2%)
Allow open use web surfers are free to dig their own grave or learn on their own..
 6 (66.7%)

Total Members Voted: 9

Author Topic: Computers in the classroom  (Read 1562 times)

bigs5068

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Re: Computers in the classroom
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2010, 03:41:36 PM »
I think there is no question people can do well without showing up to class or being on the internet all day. Some people can bench press 300 lbs without putting in any effort, but that kind of natural ability is rare. I just think it is not wise to risk finding out if you have the natural ability or not and risk getting horrible grades.  Especially considering law school is not that demanding. If you take 15 units a semester you need to pay close attention in class for 15 hours a week. It is not that cruel and unusual to pay attention to something for 15 hours a week especially considering your first year you don't work. So you really have no reason to be distracted and you can stay off the internet for a set block of 15 hours,  you can surf the internet anytime it operates 24/7 so why in those 15 hours you are paying exorbitant amounts of money for would you go online. Of course you can succeed by not even showing up, but I would not recommend that philosophy to anybody and I do not think anyone would disagree that 99% of the time if you read, take notes, do practice tests and just generally put some work in you will do better than the person who does not show up, is on face book all day, and crams at the last minute.

Thane Messinger

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Re: Computers in the classroom
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2010, 07:36:27 PM »
I think there is no question people can do well without showing up to class or being on the internet all day. Some people can bench press 300 lbs without putting in any effort, but that kind of natural ability is rare. I just think it is not wise to risk finding out if you have the natural ability or not and risk getting horrible grades.  Especially considering law school is not that demanding. If you take 15 units a semester you need to pay close attention in class for 15 hours a week. It is not that cruel and unusual to pay attention to something for 15 hours a week especially considering your first year you don't work. So you really have no reason to be distracted and you can stay off the internet for a set block of 15 hours,  you can surf the internet anytime it operates 24/7 so why in those 15 hours you are paying exorbitant amounts of money for would you go online. Of course you can succeed by not even showing up, but I would not recommend that philosophy to anybody and I do not think anyone would disagree that 99% of the time if you read, take notes, do practice tests and just generally put some work in you will do better than the person who does not show up, is on face book all day, and crams at the last minute.


Bigs -

This is not to disagree with you, but I wasn't referring to natural ability.  In fact, this is one of the disorienting factors in law school, as nearly everyone has relied on natural ability to do well, but in law school, that is unreliable at best.

This isn't about ability (natural or otherwise) as much as it is about focus.  Most law students are focused on the wrong things, in the wrong ways.  This makes the occasional side trip to Facebook more than occasional, and down the slippery slope that student goes.

More to the point, done right a law school classroom (even an unfriendly one) should be fun, or at least engaging. (Yes, "unfriendly" can equal "fun" if you're doing it right.)  An A student engages in a series of mental jousts . . . not with fellow students, but with the prof.  That's the competition--or at least the benchmark. 

bigs5068

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Re: Computers in the classroom
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2010, 07:56:01 PM »
I agree students including myself focus on the wrong things particularly the first year and first semester.  I was looking back at my torts book, which the bookstore did not buy back and looking at my endless amounts of highlights from the first few weeks. The stress takes over, but  if you just sit back relax law school is not that crazy and a lot of it even makes sense.  As you said in the class you should be thinking about what the professor says and maybe do the mental jousting even if not by raising your had, but really sitting back and analyzing what they said after class. If you take good notes and stay off the internet it is a lot easier to analyze and make sense of what the professor said during class. If you are on facebook or shopping online it will be a lot harder to take good notes and then real hard to analyze what was said later.  It might be great to know that what that Todd went to Chipotle with Susie and you might have missed out on this important gossip if you do not check your facebook every 10 minutes, but when the exam comes you probably won't be thinking about Todd or Susie. 

jack24

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Re: Computers in the classroom
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2010, 06:03:55 PM »


In law school this is turned on its head.  Cramming doesn't work because that's not what a law exam tests.  "Studying" also doesn't work, because that's not what a law exam tests either.   So computers, which can be a valuable tool, rarely are.

(Note:  One should pay attention in law school.  In fact, the attention should be intense.  But it's not to "learn."  Rather, it's to practice.)

I think your reasoning on this thread relies on a somewhat faulty assumption that the professors are capable and engaged in class.  If a teacher essentially reads an outline or bumbles through the Socratic method, then class time can be a giant waste of time.  I think the principles you are preaching may be accurate and helpful in the right academic environment.   My grades have steadily improved as I have learned to "practice" on my own.  I'm basically certain that I could get as good or better grades if I never came to class at all as long as I had a decent outline.  I've never actually tested this theory, but I have earned A's in a few classes where I didn't buy the book or take notes.  It's not because I'm naturally gifted, it's because I've figured out that studying for finals, at least in my school, is much more effective than preparing for and listening in class.

Thane Messinger

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Re: Computers in the classroom
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2010, 07:50:22 PM »

In law school this is turned on its head.  Cramming doesn't work because that's not what a law exam tests.  "Studying" also doesn't work, because that's not what a law exam tests either.   So computers, which can be a valuable tool, rarely are.

(Note:  One should pay attention in law school.  In fact, the attention should be intense.  But it's not to "learn."  Rather, it's to practice.)

I think your reasoning on this thread relies on a somewhat faulty assumption that the professors are capable and engaged in class.  If a teacher essentially reads an outline or bumbles through the Socratic method, then class time can be a giant waste of time.  I think the principles you are preaching may be accurate and helpful in the right academic environment.   My grades have steadily improved as I have learned to "practice" on my own.  I'm basically certain that I could get as good or better grades if I never came to class at all as long as I had a decent outline.  I've never actually tested this theory, but I have earned A's in a few classes where I didn't buy the book or take notes.  It's not because I'm naturally gifted, it's because I've figured out that studying for finals, at least in my school, is much more effective than preparing for and listening in class.


I wouldn't disagree with this, but I would take this in a different direction.  Clearly, not all profs are good at the Socratic Method.  As Morten had said once in a thread (I think), a law professor's discussion in the classroom is akin to water-cooler chatter among senior lawyers--or something to that effect.  There's something to be said for re-"professionalizing" the law school professoriate (which, paradoxically, means exactly the opposite of what a "professional" law school faculty has come to mean).  As it happens, I argue exactly this in GGG.

To your point, however, you're quite right.  It IS possible to skip class and do well.  Nearly any lawyer could do this.  That, of course, is part of the trick--but it's not because a lawyer will remember the specific rules needed.  Chances are anyone more than a month past the bar would remember only half the tested rules, if that.  Instead, the lawyer could reason through the fact pattern, which is what profs test.  In reasoning through the fact pattern, the specific points are picked up; the rules emerge from the reasoning as much as vice versa.

Too, the danger is that most students will think of "study" as some form of memorize-and-regurgitate.  This type of study has a very low correlation to law school success.  This is why even poor lecturers can be useful . . . if used in the right way.