Sloan-C Conference wrap-up

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I recently returned from the Sloan Consortium’s International Conference on Online Learning. It was quite fascinating and well worth my time (and employer’s money).

Law schools seem way behind other academic institutions when it comes to distance ed; mostly because the ABA severely restricts the amount of online courses students can take (from accredited law schools), and perhaps in part because legal academia is more conservative than other types of academia. (I think. I just made that part up). Still, law professors are incorporating more online learning in their courses (if you have a hybrid class where 1/3 or less of is online, then it doesn’t “count” as an online course), and law schools are offering certificate and LLM programs that are completely online. That was why I and my boss went to this conference: so we could better assist our professors who want to do this.

I counted three of us there as being from law schools (if anybody knows differently, correct me. There were over 2,000 attendees and the list of them was not organized in a fashion that I could decipher). People were sort of fascinated by us. (To be fair, we are fascinating). I was left wondering, as I often am at conferences, if there is really something different about law school/law students from other disciplines, or if this is something we (in legal academia) tell ourselves to make us feel special. I still don’t have the answer to this.

My notes, if you are interested.

Learning Centers – CALI 2012

Learning Center at TJSL

Upper Floor Learning Center at TJSL

Whoops! I know it’s now two weeks old, but want to finish my CALI posts so that I can then post them to our library blog at work.

SO! On the last day at CALI, I went to two presentations, and I’m going to talk about one of them here. It was called, “Learning Centers in the Library: What can we do with them?” and was given by a reference librarian from Thomas Jefferson School of Law. The law school recently relocated, and the campus is gorgeous.

View from one of (!) TJSL's patios

View from one of (!) TJSL’s patios

Stairway at TJSL

Stairway at TJSL

The librarian discussed the use of “Learning Centers” (think “Apple Genius Bars”) at TJSL’s library. They have two learning centers, on different floors of the library, and they use the centers for various teaching opportunities:

  • She teaches Advanced Legal Research there. She can have the students go off and do exercises with the print resources, come back and talk about it.
  • They use them for smaller classes : on plagiarism, citation, etc.
  • The vendor reps use them, as well
  • Those who teach in the bar prep program use it

The set-up is pretty awesome:

Learning Center - with annotations

Main-level Learning Center at TJSL
(Click to see larger version of photo).

There’s a big screen in the middle of the area, which, when presentations are not going on, can display library/school/student information. There are two white boards on either side of the big screen. There’s a document camera on the “ceiling,” so the instructor can project either her computer or a book (or anything else) resting on the bar. The “bar” surface can also be used as a white board – students can sketch out a research plan right on the table, and the instructor can then project the plan on the big screen. The set-up also enables the instructor to unplug her computer/iPad from the document camera and easily plug in a student’s, for demonstration and collaboration purposes.

TJSL doesn’t currently use the Learning Centers this way, but she and other attendees envisioned other uses:

  • Training sessions for faculty
  • Allow legal writing instructors to use them for small group work
  • Career development could have small seminars there
  • I could see seminar classes being held here

She said that they have not had too many complaints about noise – that it is very clear when sessions are being held there, so students know when it will get noisy. But she said she doesn’t schedule any sessions during finals/study days.

She really likes using the learning centers for teaching because it allows for a more collaborative space than a traditional classroom, because she likes to be able to send the students out “into the stacks” at times during the class, and because she generally likes to be in the library when giving a research class.

I really like the look and feel of the Learning Centers, and would like to try to teach a small class in a similar set-up.
One Two other quick things I wanted to show:

QR Codes at TJSL

They’re using QR codes in different areas of the collection to explain what you’re looking at. I could see us doing that at certain areas of the library – esp. the 1L-intensive areas (ALRs, anyone?).

ALSO!

Vintage Bluebook!

Vintage Bluebook! Squee!

If you want to look at any of my other pics of CALI (I don’t really have very many), check out my CALI2012 set on Flickr.

CALIcon12, Day 1

My #CALIcon12 Lego alter-ego, complete with cell phone and tea mug.

(That’s me, in Lego form. You might recognize me by my tea mug and ever-present cell phone.)

So I’m at my first-ever CALI (Conference for Law School Computing – wait – that doesn’t match the acronym …) conference. It’s being held at the gorgeous new Thomas Jefferson Law School building in beautiful San Diego, where I now want to move (San Diego, not the law school, although it is gorgeous).

I’ve been taking copious notes on Evernote, to which I am now completely addicted, and, because one of the “rules” of us conference-goers is to report back to our colleagues (and, because, let’s face it, I’m always kind of hard-up for blog post ideas), I’m going to post synopses of some of the sessions I attended. This is a really long post; if you’re not interested in legal education, you’ll probably want to skip it.

(As (yet another) aside, apparently I can’t function properly without two computer screens now. I need to have Evernote open on one screen, and WordPress open on another … is there an iPad app that makes it look like your iPad has a dual screen? I bet there is).

Okay! Day One!
Continue reading

D.C. Recap

Madison at the Law Library of Congress

I have a little while before I have to go to the airport, so I’m going to try to type up a little recap of my favorite programs at ASIL. [On edit: am finishing this up Saturday night, surrounded by candles, in honor of earth hour. My laptop is unplugged]. Also on edit: this will be a long post.

On Thursday I attended a panel called, “Espionage and the First Amendment after Wikileaks”. I had thought it would devolve into a shouting match, but everybody was surprisingly pleasant. They did not all agree about everything (although I think there was only one pro-government speaker – in fact, I thought he was a government lawyer, but I was wrong), but they managed to be civil, as well as informative, engaging, and entertaining. Continue reading