Question about laptops

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Paul Campos
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Question about laptops

Postby Paul Campos » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:28 pm

I'd appreciate it if people would respond to at least the first of these questions:

(1) In roughly what percentage of your classes are laptops banned?

(2) What law school do you attend? (Range is fine if you don't want to name the exact school).

(3) Do the professors who ban laptops tend to share any characteristics? (age, gender, teaching style, anything else).

Thanks in advance.

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ph14
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby ph14 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:38 pm

Paul Campos wrote:I'd appreciate it if people would respond to at least the first of these questions:

(1) In roughly what percentage of your classes are laptops banned?

(2) What law school do you attend? (Range is fine if you don't want to name the exact school).

(3) Do the professors who ban laptops tend to share any characteristics? (age, gender, teaching style, anything else).

Thanks in advance.


Hi Professor Campos.

(1) 1L year, about 20% of my classes banned laptops. 2L and 3L year none of my professors banned laptops. There is some self-selection though, as I made sure to avoid any classes with a ban on laptops, though it wasn't hard to do because there weren't very many. So perhaps roughly 7% of the classes I've had in law school banned laptops.
(2) Harvard
(3) Not that I can think of off the top of my head.

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sublime
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby sublime » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:42 pm

..

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rinkrat19
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby rinkrat19 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:45 pm

1)I've had one professor ban laptops for note-taking, but even she had us bring them to complete an online vote each class, and then put them away. She provided downloads of her class slides before each class so we could print them and take notes. So that's 1 out of about 20 profs. (I'm a 2L)

2)Northwestern.

3)I've heard of a few other profs (2-3?) at NU who ban them. There doesn't seem to be much of a demographic trend. One prof reversed his policy of banning them in seminars when he realized that most people don't want to print out the articles and cases assigned for reading.

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ph14
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby ph14 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:46 pm

sublime wrote:1) I am a 1L and all six of my substantive classes this year banned laptops. They are allowed in my legal practice and legal research class though.

2)WUSTL

3) Since everyone did it, there aren't any really identifiable characteristics.


That's pretty rough. I don't think professors should ban laptops.

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sublime
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby sublime » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:49 pm

..

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kay2016
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby kay2016 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:50 pm

Paul Campos wrote:I'd appreciate it if people would respond to at least the first of these questions:

(1) In roughly what percentage of your classes are laptops banned?

(2) What law school do you attend? (Range is fine if you don't want to name the exact school).

(3) Do the professors who ban laptops tend to share any characteristics? (age, gender, teaching style, anything else).

Thanks in advance.


1- 0% (Contracts, Crim, Civ, Torts, Property, Evidence, LW all allow it)
2- Alabama
3 - N/A Although several younger ones reserve the right to ban them if they think we're not paying attention.

(although I think that occasionally in other sections they may be banned for like 1 class)

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TatteredDignity
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby TatteredDignity » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:50 pm

1) 90%

2) WUSTL

3) It's more useful to characterize the ones who allow latops--in general, they don't care much about anything, including teaching.

I'm looking forward to the impending screed against libertarian paternalism on Lawyers Guns Money.

As much as my soul cries out that it's ludicrous for boomers to tell me when I'm allowed to use technology, in this context, they're right. If you're writing more than a page of handwritten notes per class, you're doing it wrong. We don't need laptops in order to get the full educational value out of a class. And except for the extremely disciplined among us, you are guaranteed to pay less attention when you have access to the internet during class.

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ph14
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby ph14 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:51 pm

sublime wrote:
ph14 wrote:
sublime wrote:1) I am a 1L and all six of my substantive classes this year banned laptops. They are allowed in my legal practice and legal research class though.

2)WUSTL

3) Since everyone did it, there aren't any really identifiable characteristics.


That's pretty rough. I don't think professors should ban laptops.



Yea, it doesn't bother me much because I usually prefer handwriting anyway (helps me remember shit better) although it is annoyingly paternalistic. Like I can't decide for myself whether it is more beneficial to pay attention or Reddit.


I couldn't agree more. Though there is a second justification you commonly hear about, promoting more class participation, which is supposed to benefit the class. Not sure I find that persuasive at all.

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ph14
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby ph14 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:53 pm

TatteredDignity wrote:1) 90%

2) WUSTL

3) It's more useful to characterize the ones who allow latops--in general, they don't care much about anything, including teaching.

I'm looking forward to the impending screed against libertarian paternalism on Lawyers Guns Money.

As much as my soul cries out that it's ludicrous for boomers to tell me when I'm allowed to use technology, in this context, they're right. If you're writing more than a page of handwritten notes per class, you're doing it wrong. We don't need laptops in order to get the full educational value out of a class. And except for the extremely disciplined among us, you are guaranteed to pay less attention when you have access to the internet during class.


Re bolded: What?
Re underlined: That seems like a personal decision.

Edit: what year are you in school?

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Rahviveh
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby Rahviveh » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:59 pm

(1) I am proud to say that at uChi none of the professors I know of ban laptops. I cannot fathom the horror of having to handwrite notes (although I see some people do that anyway, I'm sure they have much better HW than me).

(2) See above

(3) Caveat - internet is banned in all classrooms. I think the system works pretty well, but the policy would probably be more effective if smartphones were confiscated prior to class.

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ph14
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby ph14 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:02 pm

ChampagnePapi wrote:(1) I am proud to say that at uChi none of the professors I know of ban laptops. I cannot fathom the horror of having to handwrite notes (although I see some people do that anyway, I'm sure they have much better HW than me).

(2) See above

(3) Caveat - internet is banned in all classrooms. I think the system works pretty well, but the policy would probably be more effective if smartphones were confiscated prior to class.


Lol, that's not that much better than banning laptops. Might be even worse overall since it is a school-wide policy.

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Rahviveh
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby Rahviveh » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:04 pm

ph14 wrote:
ChampagnePapi wrote:(1) I am proud to say that at uChi none of the professors I know of ban laptops. I cannot fathom the horror of having to handwrite notes (although I see some people do that anyway, I'm sure they have much better HW than me).

(2) See above

(3) Caveat - internet is banned in all classrooms. I think the system works pretty well, but the policy would probably be more effective if smartphones were confiscated prior to class.


Lol, that's not that much better than banning laptops. Might be even worse overall since it is a school-wide policy.


I could see myself complaining about it during 2L and 3L. But for 1L I think I like the restriction. Some of us need paternalism.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:05 pm

ph14 wrote:I couldn't agree more. Though there is a second justification you commonly hear about, promoting more class participation, which is supposed to benefit the class. Not sure I find that persuasive at all.

If you have a good professor who ensures that people show up to class prepared and knows how to run class discussion, more class participation is usually a good thing. But I say that in part because the more I have to actually do in class (talk, write, whatever), the more I learn, and I tend to think this is true for most people. One of the most enjoyable classes I had in law school was the only class where laptops were banned, because everyone paid attention (or more attention than usual) and was more engaged in the class. But the prof was also excellent, so it would probably have been a good class with laptops, too.

To answer the OP,

1) I only had 1 professor who banned laptops. I can't say there weren't any others, but that prof is the only one I know of who did.

2) Lower T1 school.

3) The one prof was younger, female, very engaging/active learning style (fair amount of exercises in class, that kind of thing), went to an elite SLAC for undergrad where many (most?) classes would have been small, seminar-ish kinds of classes (I have a totally unscientific hunch that the way you were taught in your UG influences what you consider to be good teaching).

(I used to teach, and I banned laptops the last year I taught, and even so, during law school I used my laptop in class, and though I tried really hard not to, I got on the internet during class, too. I'm also a transcriber - I write down almost everything in class, I always have and probably always will.)

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ph14
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby ph14 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:05 pm

ChampagnePapi wrote:
ph14 wrote:
ChampagnePapi wrote:(1) I am proud to say that at uChi none of the professors I know of ban laptops. I cannot fathom the horror of having to handwrite notes (although I see some people do that anyway, I'm sure they have much better HW than me).

(2) See above

(3) Caveat - internet is banned in all classrooms. I think the system works pretty well, but the policy would probably be more effective if smartphones were confiscated prior to class.


Lol, that's not that much better than banning laptops. Might be even worse overall since it is a school-wide policy.


I could see myself complaining about it during 2L and 3L. But for 1L I think I like the restriction.


You could always easily turn off the internet on your laptop if you wanted to.

Paul Campos
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby Paul Campos » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:08 pm

ChampagnePapi wrote:(1) I am proud to say that at uChi none of the professors I know of ban laptops. I cannot fathom the horror of having to handwrite notes (although I see some people do that anyway, I'm sure they have much better HW than me).

(2) See above

(3) Caveat - internet is banned in all classrooms. I think the system works pretty well, but the policy would probably be more effective if smartphones were confiscated prior to class.


Does this mean the internet is actually blocked in classrooms, or is there just a rule against being on the net in class?

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ph14
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby ph14 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:08 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
ph14 wrote:I couldn't agree more. Though there is a second justification you commonly hear about, promoting more class participation, which is supposed to benefit the class. Not sure I find that persuasive at all.

If you have a good professor who ensures that people show up to class prepared and knows how to run class discussion, more class participation is usually a good thing. But I say that in part because the more I have to actually do in class (talk, write, whatever), the more I learn, and I tend to think this is true for most people. One of the most enjoyable classes I had in law school was the only class where laptops were banned, because everyone paid attention (or more attention than usual) and was more engaged in the class. But the prof was also excellent, so it would probably have been a good class with laptops, too.


I'm not necessarily sure this is correct as an empirical matter. And, in any event, even assuming it were true I don't think it justifies a blanket laptop ban. I don't think that law schools should ban a tool that is very useful to people with a certain type of learning style.

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Rahviveh
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby Rahviveh » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:11 pm

Paul Campos wrote:
ChampagnePapi wrote:(1) I am proud to say that at uChi none of the professors I know of ban laptops. I cannot fathom the horror of having to handwrite notes (although I see some people do that anyway, I'm sure they have much better HW than me).

(2) See above

(3) Caveat - internet is banned in all classrooms. I think the system works pretty well, but the policy would probably be more effective if smartphones were confiscated prior to class.


Does this mean the internet is actually blocked in classrooms, or is there just a rule against being on the net in class?


It's blocked. There's no network that can be accessed in any classroom, although the network can be turned on if desired. I think there's also a rule that we shouldn't go on the net in general, but I don't know if that's enforced.

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ph14
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby ph14 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:12 pm

ph14 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
ph14 wrote:I couldn't agree more. Though there is a second justification you commonly hear about, promoting more class participation, which is supposed to benefit the class. Not sure I find that persuasive at all.

If you have a good professor who ensures that people show up to class prepared and knows how to run class discussion, more class participation is usually a good thing. But I say that in part because the more I have to actually do in class (talk, write, whatever), the more I learn, and I tend to think this is true for most people. One of the most enjoyable classes I had in law school was the only class where laptops were banned, because everyone paid attention (or more attention than usual) and was more engaged in the class. But the prof was also excellent, so it would probably have been a good class with laptops, too.


I'm not necessarily sure this is correct as an empirical matter. And, in any event, even assuming it were true I don't think it justifies a blanket laptop ban. I don't think that law schools should ban a tool that is very useful to people with a certain type of learning style.


Support: http://www.units.miamioh.edu/celt/event ... assive.pdf

In general, it does not appear that the active learning approach is superior to passive learning when success is measured by broad cognitive outcomes.

...

Notwithstanding this issue, our results imply that the active learning approach is not superior to the passive learning approach in terms of broad learning goals. For instance, our results imply that using the active learning approach instead of the passive approach will not necessarily produce better statistics students, better business students, better economics students, etc. Still, in terms of narrowly defined learning goals, the active learning approach may improve student learning outcomes. For example, if students in a particular course are “forced” to engage through active learning methods because their grades depend on how well they engage, student learning can improve with regard to their class material.


The extent this can be applied to this issue, of course, is not quite clear. See the limitations section as well as issues with translating the study's definitions, methodology, and results to the law school context.

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sd5289
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby sd5289 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:28 pm

Preface: my two all time favorite profs in law school (teaching polar opposite subjects: Property and Crim) did not ban laptops. I took fairly copious notes in both classes (not pages upon pages, but certainly more than one or two pages on busy days) and occasionally g-chatted with classmates in those classes. I secured an A in both classes.

To answer Professor Campos' questions:

1) I'm now in second semester 2L and I've just met my first laptop-banned class. So small % so far, but I feel like the professor is good enough that he doesn't really need to do this. As far as the rumor mill goes, this is his first time doing this. For me, it results in a cramped hand with note-taking, and at some point I'll have the pleasure of trying to decode my handwriting into legible type-written notes. UGH.

2) T50 school.

3) Since this is the only prof I've had that's done this, I can't answer this except to say the only other prof I've heard about who bans laptops couldn't be further from him. He's middle aged, male (obvi), somewhat Socratic but also defaults to volunteer based participation. She is about as old as they can be, female, and from what I've heard, a complete hardass with the Socratic method. She only teaches 1L's though whereas my current laptop-banning prof only teaches upperclass classes. My current prof seems to somewhat care about the students in his class whereas she couldn't care less.

It seems like this is far more of a whimsical decision than anything else. And completely disregards the fact that most of us (myself included as someone who worked professionally for quite some time first and is about to turn 30) are far more used to working with a laptop and/or a computer than without.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:35 pm

Sure, I said the active learning thing helps most people. And thank you for the study; there are, of course, lots of studies saying that active learning is better for retaining material. YMMV. Personally, as a professor running class discussion, I found it much more congenial when students are looking up at you/each other rather than down at a screen.

But like I said, I used my laptop in class, so my pedagogical principles only go so far.

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ph14
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby ph14 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:38 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Sure, I said the active learning thing helps most people. And thank you for the study; there are, of course, lots of studies saying that active learning is better for retaining material. YMMV. Personally, as a professor running class discussion, I found it much more congenial when students are looking up at you/each other rather than down at a screen.

But like I said, I used my laptop in class, so my pedagogical principles only go so far.


Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised. That was just the highest result on my Google search.

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TatteredDignity
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby TatteredDignity » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:39 pm

ph14 wrote:
TatteredDignity wrote:1) 90%

2) WUSTL

3) It's more useful to characterize the ones who allow latops--in general, they don't care much about anything, including teaching.

I'm looking forward to the impending screed against libertarian paternalism on Lawyers Guns Money.

As much as my soul cries out that it's ludicrous for boomers to tell me when I'm allowed to use technology, in this context, they're right. If you're writing more than a page of handwritten notes per class, you're doing it wrong. We don't need laptops in order to get the full educational value out of a class. And except for the extremely disciplined among us, you are guaranteed to pay less attention when you have access to the internet during class.


Re bolded: What?
Re underlined: That seems like a personal decision.

Edit: what year are you in school?


I'm a 3L.

Re bolded: Let me qualify that statement--if you're taking notes only for the exam, and you don't otherwise care about the subject matter, you don't need more than a page of handwritten notes.

Re underlined: The 'personal decision' is "can I handle the distractions that inevitably accompany being connected to the internet?" I'd be interested to hear an argument for why having internet access improves your learning experience.

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Lavitz
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby Lavitz » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:41 pm

1) 0%
2) Cornell 1L
3) N/A. The only prof who banned laptops retired a few years ago.

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ph14
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Re: Question about laptops

Postby ph14 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:45 pm

TatteredDignity wrote:
ph14 wrote:
TatteredDignity wrote:1) 90%

2) WUSTL

3) It's more useful to characterize the ones who allow latops--in general, they don't care much about anything, including teaching.

I'm looking forward to the impending screed against libertarian paternalism on Lawyers Guns Money.

As much as my soul cries out that it's ludicrous for boomers to tell me when I'm allowed to use technology, in this context, they're right. If you're writing more than a page of handwritten notes per class, you're doing it wrong. We don't need laptops in order to get the full educational value out of a class. And except for the extremely disciplined among us, you are guaranteed to pay less attention when you have access to the internet during class.


Re bolded: What?
Re underlined: That seems like a personal decision.

Edit: what year are you in school?


I'm a 3L.

Re bolded: Let me qualify that statement--if you're taking notes only for the exam, and you don't otherwise care about the subject matter, you don't need more than a page of handwritten notes.

Re underlined: The 'personal decision' is "can I handle the distractions that inevitably accompany being connected to the internet?" I'd be interested to hear an argument for why having internet access improves your learning experience.


Re bolded: I disagree, especially if we are talking about a take home exam.
Re underlined: There are plenty. Professor is talking about issue in X area. Google that issue for more depth or clarification. Forgot what that case the class is that the class is about to discuss? Quickly Google it (I think that even the most disciplined law student will have this happened to them from time to time). Couldn't hear what your professor said? Gchat your friend requesting that information. There are a million more reasons why the internet can be a useful learning tool.

And, moreover, you're wrong on how you are framing the personal decision. Your initial post concerned having laptops, not just internet ("We don't need laptops in order to get the full educational value out of a class."). Laptops are also valuable even without the internet. A kindle version of a casebook is much easier and more convenient, you can search the text, etc. You might also keep notes, etc. on your laptop and being able to quickly reference those could benefit class discussion.




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