Syllabus: "Laptops are discouraged." Should I use a laptop?

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random5483
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Syllabus: "Laptops are discouraged." Should I use a laptop?

Postby random5483 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:55 pm

I have a non-core class starting next week. The class is graded and a third of the class grade is based on preparation and participation. The syllabus states that laptop use is discouraged in class. Should I avoid using my laptop for notes/etc?

Thus far, I have not made a single folder/binder for law school. I have organized everything in OneNote and placed scanned copies of relevant handouts in my OneNote folders as well. I have a horrible handwriting, and am a slow writer. With this additional information, should I use a laptop for this class or not?

The class is supposed to be relatively light-weight and there is no final. So maybe I should just not use a laptop. I really wish this class were pass/fail. Not sure if I want to take the risk of using a laptop in a class with such a high percentage of my grade based on participation. What do you guys think?


Thanks.

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swc65
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Re: Syllabus: "Laptops are discouraged." Should I use a laptop?

Postby swc65 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:58 pm

I have found that using a pen and paper is so much better than using a laptop. With a laptop people tend to just transcribe everything which is part of what leads to 100+ page outline. Whereas using a pen and paper you are forced to think about what is important and write down only that. This helps making more succinct outlines and it and with understanding/remembering concepts.

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chicagolaw2013
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Re: Syllabus: "Laptops are discouraged." Should I use a laptop?

Postby chicagolaw2013 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:00 pm

Laptops have been discouraged in every one of my classes. Nearly everyone still uses them.

random5483
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Re: Syllabus: "Laptops are discouraged." Should I use a laptop?

Postby random5483 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:04 pm

swc65 wrote:I have found that using a pen and paper is so much better than using a laptop. With a laptop people tend to just transcribe everything which is part of what leads to 100+ page outline. Whereas using a pen and paper you are forced to think about what is important and write down only that. This helps making more succinct outlines and it and with understanding/remembering concepts.




My notes are short. Other than case briefs (yes I wrote up ever brief till like early november) my notes for any given class was under 20 pages. My outlines were a bit over half that size.

The problem with my handwriting is that I have trouble reading it. I just would have to transcribe the notes each day after class and try to write legibly.

random5483
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Re: Syllabus: "Laptops are discouraged." Should I use a laptop?

Postby random5483 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:05 pm

chicagolaw2013 wrote:Laptops have been discouraged in every one of my classes. Nearly everyone still uses them.



My worry is the high percantage of the final grabe being based on participation. In a usual class where 100% is based on exams (with small grade adjustments for exemplary or horrid participation) I would ignore the policy too.

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beach_terror
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Re: Syllabus: "Laptops are discouraged." Should I use a laptop?

Postby beach_terror » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:32 pm

Laptops are banned in 2/5 of my classes.

random5483
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Re: Syllabus: "Laptops are discouraged." Should I use a laptop?

Postby random5483 » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:44 pm

beach_terror wrote:Laptops are banned in 2/5 of my classes.


Some of the other sections last term had laptop bans. Luckily I did not. I guess I need to work on my handwriting skills and try my luck in the class without a laptop.

sethc
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Re: Syllabus: "Laptops are discouraged." Should I use a laptop?

Postby sethc » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:19 am

If you rely heavily on your laptop for notetaking/class like I do, then there's no reason why you shouldn't tote your laptop in there. Law school, in a broad sense, is all about doing what works for you as an individual. If you find something that gets the job done, then don't feel pressured to change that. I personally think outright laptop bans are bullshit and archaic, but that's another discussion I suppose.

random5483
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Re: Syllabus: "Laptops are discouraged." Should I use a laptop?

Postby random5483 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:42 am

sethc wrote:If you rely heavily on your laptop for notetaking/class like I do, then there's no reason why you shouldn't tote your laptop in there. Law school, in a broad sense, is all about doing what works for you as an individual. If you find something that gets the job done, then don't feel pressured to change that. I personally think outright laptop bans are bullshit and archaic, but that's another discussion I suppose.



My only worry is the huge "participation" component to the grade.

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patrickd139
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Re: Syllabus: "Laptops are discouraged." Should I use a laptop?

Postby patrickd139 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:54 am

OP: Maybe try talking to the professor before classes start and discuss this with him/her. You have, in the past, relied heavily on laptops to gather information and synthesize it. If the professor understands this from you personally, and that you don't play games/surf the web/whatever, they might be open to making an unofficial, unspoken truce with your laptop use. Or the prof might tell you why s/he so highly discourages their use.

random5483
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Re: Syllabus: "Laptops are discouraged." Should I use a laptop?

Postby random5483 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:55 am

patrickd139 wrote:OP: Maybe try talking to the professor before classes start and discuss this with him/her. You have, in the past, relied heavily on laptops to gather information and synthesize it. If the professor understands this from you personally, and that you don't play games/surf the web/whatever, they might be open to making an unofficial, unspoken truce with your laptop use. Or the prof might tell you why s/he so highly discourages their use.


Thanks, I will probably do that.

sethc
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Re: Syllabus: "Laptops are discouraged." Should I use a laptop?

Postby sethc » Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:30 pm

random5483 wrote:
sethc wrote:If you rely heavily on your laptop for notetaking/class like I do, then there's no reason why you shouldn't tote your laptop in there. Law school, in a broad sense, is all about doing what works for you as an individual. If you find something that gets the job done, then don't feel pressured to change that. I personally think outright laptop bans are bullshit and archaic, but that's another discussion I suppose.



My only worry is the huge "participation" component to the grade.



Yeah that's definitely a valid concern! My bad for not incorporating that into what I said, but yeah if you can't multitask then laptops might not be right for anyone, to begin with. Personally I have trouble walking & chewing bubble gum sometimes lol but I've never had that problem when it comes to anything computer-related. I've not faced a class that graded on class-participation yet (other than lame ass Intro class for 0 credits) so I should have mentioned something about that haha

Renzo
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Re: Syllabus: "Laptops are discouraged." Should I use a laptop?

Postby Renzo » Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:00 pm

I am staunchly pro-laptop. But, in this scenario (no final), I say leave it at home. Your notes won't matter as much, because most of your grade will be determined on-the-spot as class is unfolding, so keeping up with the discussion will matter more than what you remember on the last day of class.

random5483
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Re: Syllabus: "Laptops are discouraged." Should I use a laptop?

Postby random5483 » Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:26 pm

Renzo wrote:I am staunchly pro-laptop. But, in this scenario (no final), I say leave it at home. Your notes won't matter as much, because most of your grade will be determined on-the-spot as class is unfolding, so keeping up with the discussion will matter more than what you remember on the last day of class.



I have no experience with a no final law school class before this one (other than legal writing). The problem is we read cases and statutes for the class. The class is graded on in class assignments, participation, and a few take home papers. Basically, I think the class will require some notes.

My school started classes last week, but this course does not start till the coming week. I will talk to the professor and try to get a feel for how he will respond to a student who participates (moderately) and uses a laptop for notes. If I get the vibe that he will dock participation for laptop use I will avoid using a laptop.

sethc
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Re: Syllabus: "Laptops are discouraged." Should I use a laptop?

Postby sethc » Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:34 pm

random5483 wrote:My school started classes last week, but this course does not start till the coming week. I will talk to the professor and try to get a feel for how he will respond to a student who participates (moderately) and uses a laptop for notes. If I get the vibe that he will dock participation for laptop use I will avoid using a laptop.



I, too, am staunchly pro-laptop (obviously) but I just wanted to say that before telling you that you sound like you have a fine course of action planned out. If you find the time let us know (or PM me if you want) how that turns out. I'd just like to know if I ever run into that scenario, which I feel like I will.

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20160810
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Re: Syllabus: "Laptops are discouraged." Should I use a laptop?

Postby 20160810 » Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:45 pm

Professors tend to appreciate the courtesy of taking notes by hand. This is especially true if you were expressly told this is the professor's preference. Just take notes by hand in that one class, it won't kill you.




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