Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:18 pm

thederangedwang wrote:hey guys, what's the most effective way to take notes in class in you guys opinion?

paper n pen?

netbook/laptop?

dont take notes?

and how laptop friendly are harvards professors and facilities?


Personal preference, I and I think probably a solid majority prefer laptops. Harvard is very laptop friendly, plugs at every seat.
Last edited by ph14 on Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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nixxers
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby nixxers » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:19 pm

ph14 wrote:
thederangedwang wrote:hey guys, what's the most effective way to take notes in class in you guys opinion?

paper n pen?

netbook/laptop?

dont take notes?

and how laptop friendly are harvards professors and facilities?


Personal preference, I and I think probably a solid majority prefer laptops. Harvard is very laptop friendly, plus at every seat.


definitely personal preference. i have very little self control when it comes to the intertubes and got the most out of my classes where laptops were banned or at the beginning of the semester when i never brought my computer even when it was allowed.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:21 pm

thederangedwang wrote:hey guys, what's the most effective way to take notes in class in you guys opinion?

paper n pen?

netbook/laptop?

dont take notes?

and how laptop friendly are harvards professors and facilities?


What are notes?

But more seriously, I use OneNote. It makes searching for things I need during open-note exam pretty nice. I also take notes on the side (online) if the prof gives out handouts I couldn't handle classes that banned laptops. I had way worse notes there in those classes.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:11 pm

thederangedwang wrote:hey guys, what's the most effective way to take notes in class in you guys opinion?

paper n pen?

netbook/laptop?

dont take notes?

and how laptop friendly are harvards professors and facilities?


you know, my 1L first semester, none of my professors allowed laptops. go figure lol. i had to take notes by hand and transfer onto my laptop at week's end (huge pain and waste of time imo). add in the fact that i type so much faster than i write (~100 wpm)...you can imagine the frustration.

that being said, im a gamer so i have a fully equipped desktop in my room, and carry a small, cheap, light ASUS laptop just for class notes (I use OneNote as well). that has served me well, and after my 1L first semester, virtually every class has allowed laptops.

as an aside, i have a friend who never takes notes the whole semester (or seemingly reads for that matter) and remembers/knows more about every course than i do. go figure again lol.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby smittytron3k » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:54 am

acrossthelake wrote:
thestillpoint wrote:In terms of quality of life, I was wondering about access to the outdoors from Cambridge / anywhere near the law school. I really enjoy hiking / skiing / running, and so I'm hopeful that there is some nature accessible (without a car) from HLS. Not sure if there's even time for this during 1L, but does anyone know what options there might be? Thanks :)


Access to skiing without a car? Um, I mean it's not like Massachusetts really has anywhere to ski, so I'd say low. Running, plenty of people go running along the Charles. Dunno about hiking since I don't really like to. It's really cold, so not sure how much that matters to you...and I wouldn't say there's a lot of time in 1L for skiing if you're trying to take something transit out there.


You're not going to go skiing during 1st semester (it's exam time by the time it gets cold enough to ski), but PSW will give you plenty of time to ski in January, and you should have enough of a handle on law school by second semester that you can take a few weekend days in February and early March to go skiing. Rental cars are pretty cheap (especially with ABA membership) and there's other ways to get up there too. Tons of people in my section went skiing last year and all of them have great jobs/didn't struggle uncontrollably, so I expect that you'll be fine unless you're a tremendously inefficient worker.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:58 pm

smittytron3k wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:
thestillpoint wrote:In terms of quality of life, I was wondering about access to the outdoors from Cambridge / anywhere near the law school. I really enjoy hiking / skiing / running, and so I'm hopeful that there is some nature accessible (without a car) from HLS. Not sure if there's even time for this during 1L, but does anyone know what options there might be? Thanks :)


Access to skiing without a car? Um, I mean it's not like Massachusetts really has anywhere to ski, so I'd say low. Running, plenty of people go running along the Charles. Dunno about hiking since I don't really like to. It's really cold, so not sure how much that matters to you...and I wouldn't say there's a lot of time in 1L for skiing if you're trying to take something transit out there.


You're not going to go skiing during 1st semester (it's exam time by the time it gets cold enough to ski), but PSW will give you plenty of time to ski in January, and you should have enough of a handle on law school by second semester that you can take a few weekend days in February and early March to go skiing. Rental cars are pretty cheap (especially with ABA membership) and there's other ways to get up there too. Tons of people in my section went skiing last year and all of them have great jobs/didn't struggle uncontrollably, so I expect that you'll be fine unless you're a tremendously inefficient worker.


Didn't really count rental cars as the transit I was referring to, but yeah with rental cars that's reasonable.

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:05 pm

To the 2L/3Ls: any idea when we can expect our grades?

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:26 pm

ph14 wrote:To the 2L/3Ls: any idea when we can expect our grades?


some time between jan. 20-28 is my guess based on past yrs

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby unc0mm0n1 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:49 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:
ph14 wrote:To the 2L/3Ls: any idea when we can expect our grades?


some time between jan. 20-28 is my guess based on past yrs


crap that long. Do they come in all at once or do they trickle in one by one?

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ph14
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ph14 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:13 pm

unc0mm0n1 wrote:
DoubleChecks wrote:
ph14 wrote:To the 2L/3Ls: any idea when we can expect our grades?


some time between jan. 20-28 is my guess based on past yrs


crap that long. Do they come in all at once or do they trickle in one by one?


That's better than what I was expecting to be honest.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Mon Dec 19, 2011 9:52 pm

unc0mm0n1 wrote:
DoubleChecks wrote:
ph14 wrote:To the 2L/3Ls: any idea when we can expect our grades?


some time between jan. 20-28 is my guess based on past yrs


crap that long. Do they come in all at once or do they trickle in one by one?


all at once.

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Sh@keNb@ke
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Sh@keNb@ke » Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:42 am

Could someone be willing to explain how the grading system is viewed by employers. To my knowledge there is Honors, Pass, and Low Pass. Does 33% of the class get each of these? How bad would straight P's, for example, look for employers?

delusional
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby delusional » Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:14 am

Sh@keNb@ke wrote:Could someone be willing to explain how the grading system is viewed by employers. To my knowledge there is Honors, Pass, and Low Pass. Does 33% of the class get each of these? How bad would straight P's, for example, look for employers?

According to the people who seem to care about these things, the scale is the same as it was when it used to be published - 37% HP, 55% P and 8% LP. However, (and this is a big however), LPs are now discretionary and the ratios are flexible it the professor wants. Therefore, most people say that if you made a good faith effort, you are highly unlikely to get an LP.
As far as employers, most of what I heard IRL (I'm a 1L) echoes what is on the board - outside the V20-ish, grades don't really matter much; it's more about fit.
I think the difference between this system and real grades is that there are no gradients. If you got straight Ps, you might be at the bottom of the class. Or you might be consistently above median. If gradients were possible, there is a clear distinguishment in class rank.

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Sh@keNb@ke
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Sh@keNb@ke » Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:28 am

Thanks for the response. Can somebody link me to a site where I can get a fresh Harvard Law hoodie? Been searching for a while and comin up empty.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:26 pm

delusional wrote:
Sh@keNb@ke wrote:Could someone be willing to explain how the grading system is viewed by employers. To my knowledge there is Honors, Pass, and Low Pass. Does 33% of the class get each of these? How bad would straight P's, for example, look for employers?

According to the people who seem to care about these things, the scale is the same as it was when it used to be published - 37% HP, 55% P and 8% LP. However, (and this is a big however), LPs are now discretionary and the ratios are flexible it the professor wants. Therefore, most people say that if you made a good faith effort, you are highly unlikely to get an LP.
As far as employers, most of what I heard IRL (I'm a 1L) echoes what is on the board - outside the V20-ish, grades don't really matter much; it's more about fit.
I think the difference between this system and real grades is that there are no gradients. If you got straight Ps, you might be at the bottom of the class. Or you might be consistently above median. If gradients were possible, there is a clear distinguishment in class rank.


I have a slightly different take on grades, though most of the above is credited. While the %s seem about right, for 1L classes most professors follow the curve (curve goes out the window for small seminars, but a lot of "large, basic" classes would still follow it even into 2L/3L year) -- except fewer LPs are given out now due to their discretionary nature. There are also a number of Dean's Scholars (SUPER HPs!) given out per class -- though they are also discretionary so you could have a professor give anywhere from none to a handful.

For employers, it isn't outside of the V20-ish that don't really much...it is more like outside the V2 lol. Well no, more like the most selective don't care (re: vault ranking isn't great for actually telling you which firms are the most selective). Quinn Emmanuel, Boies, any of the lit boutiques like Susman, Wachtell, Cravath, W&C -- these places will care about your grades and might even have a quiet cutoff in mind. Everywhere else? More about "fit"...or actually bidding strategy and interviewing skills. I know of a lot of friends with V5 jobs who were at median or below median in grades. Know of some above that did just as well or a tad worse (though still having V30 jobs isn't really "bad"). Of course, having really great grades could only help you -- better way of looking at it is, aside from the most selective firms and later on if you want to go after certain judicial clerkships, grades will not hold you back from an employment prospect.

Most people talk as if 3-4 Hs = about median. You get a strong sense of what grades are at the top of the class and what grades aren't. The exact breakdown, however, is hard to pin down -- for students OR employers. LPs are obviously hurtful, but I know of a couple of people who have an LP or two and still got biglaw (and then there are those with LPs who did not get biglaw...and a few median who did not either, at least from EIP; refer to my earlier paragraph lol). Straight Ps would probably net you below median for sure for 1L year, but you'd still be able to get biglaw if you bid smart (i.e. not all DC or Chicago or top NYC firms lol) and interview well.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:34 pm

On that note, when OCS sets up mock interviews with alumni next year, GO. GO GO GO. I don't care if it's an inconvenient time and you want to study, unless you're actually sick and therefore look awful/sound awful, go. It's a rare no-risk opportunity to get feedback on your interview skills from people other than those who work at OCS (who are great, but, you know, they're also there year round).

Interviewing is going to be SO important in job searching, even if you're not aiming for biglaw.

Also, if you do well, it's a great way to make contacts. I met some really nice and awesome people out of mock interviews, including someone who was kind enough to put in a good word for me at a firm I really want to work at in a difficult market where I don't have any ties.

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Sh@keNb@ke
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Sh@keNb@ke » Sat Dec 24, 2011 5:12 pm

acrossthelake wrote:On that note, when OCS sets up mock interviews with alumni next year, GO. GO GO GO. I don't care if it's an inconvenient time and you want to study, unless you're actually sick and therefore look awful/sound awful, go. It's a rare no-risk opportunity to get feedback on your interview skills from people other than those who work at OCS (who are great, but, you know, they're also there year round).

Interviewing is going to be SO important in job searching, even if you're not aiming for biglaw.

Also, if you do well, it's a great way to make contacts. I met some really nice and awesome people out of mock interviews, including someone who was kind enough to put in a good word for me at a firm I really want to work at in a difficult market where I don't have any ties.


Thanks for the advice!!

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:06 pm

In response to two-week-old questions...

Two of my classes allowed laptops, and two didn't. I, too, found it annoying to have to go type up my notes for the non-laptop classes (and I had a lot less taken down, roughly half what I had in the others), but it was probably pretty good review to do so. Still, in the laptop classes, I was blown away by the number of people who were blatantly on Facebook, working on their resumes, working on their memos, etc., in class. In one class, it was maybe 25% of the people with laptops, and in the other, it was probably 75% of the people with laptops. I felt very superior and gunnerly when I was on task while they were off in cyberspace. (We'll see if it matters, come grade time; in the end, I doubt it, because those people were really hardworking, too. Um, everyone at Harvard is. Probably most law students everywhere are.)

Regarding outdoors activities near Cambridge: I've barely gotten off campus in the first semester, partly on purpose (the campus is big, a lot bigger than I expected, and fun to explore) and partly just because of the amount of studying necessary, but it definitely is possible to get out to Western MA and upstate NY if you're willing to spend a little bit of money and go a few hours out, and those places are gorgeous (and even when they're frozen tundra, they're pretty in a different way), or at least so I'm told. There are also really nice places in Maine and elsewhere, not very far away for a weekend trip. I think there are nearer places, too, but I'm very new to the area.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby jbs017 » Sun Dec 25, 2011 11:31 am

tomwatts wrote: Two of my classes allowed laptops, and two didn't. I, too, found it annoying to have to go type up my notes for the non-laptop classes (and I had a lot less taken down, roughly half what I had in the others), but it was probably pretty good review to do so. Still, in the laptop classes, I was blown away by the number of people who were blatantly on Facebook, working on their resumes, working on their memos, etc., in class. In one class, it was maybe 25% of the people with laptops, and in the other, it was probably 75% of the people with laptops.


I don't understand why they don't just turn off the Internet in the classrooms. That way, people who want or need to take notes on laptops can do so, but they can't goof off. There's almost no legitimate reason to be using the Internet during class. I know Chicago turns off the Internet in the classrooms, and I got the impression it worked great. In the class I visited, everyone was either taking notes or listening attentively.

Can some of you current students please advocate for this policy? I mentioned it to an administrator last year who seemed never to have thought of it before, but agreed that it was a good idea.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Sun Dec 25, 2011 1:19 pm

jbs017 wrote:I don't understand why they don't just turn off the Internet in the classrooms. That way, people who want or need to take notes on laptops can do so, but they can't goof off. There's almost no legitimate reason to be using the Internet during class. I know Chicago turns off the Internet in the classrooms, and I got the impression it worked great. In the class I visited, everyone was either taking notes or listening attentively.

Can some of you current students please advocate for this policy? I mentioned it to an administrator last year who seemed never to have thought of it before, but agreed that it was a good idea.


This actually sounds like a neat idea, but I am not sure why, from a student's perspective, it should matter. Generally, how does someone else being on facebook versus OneNote really affect your studies (unless I suppose you're REALLY easily distracted or super curious lol)? But I am also probably biased in that I would be too embarrassed to be on fb or gchat when I have rows of students sitting behind me in a class haha (now if I were in the back row...that's a different story :P)

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby Curious1 » Sun Dec 25, 2011 2:08 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:
jbs017 wrote:I don't understand why they don't just turn off the Internet in the classrooms. That way, people who want or need to take notes on laptops can do so, but they can't goof off. There's almost no legitimate reason to be using the Internet during class. I know Chicago turns off the Internet in the classrooms, and I got the impression it worked great. In the class I visited, everyone was either taking notes or listening attentively.

Can some of you current students please advocate for this policy? I mentioned it to an administrator last year who seemed never to have thought of it before, but agreed that it was a good idea.


This actually sounds like a neat idea, but I am not sure why, from a student's perspective, it should matter. Generally, how does someone else being on facebook versus OneNote really affect your studies (unless I suppose you're REALLY easily distracted or super curious lol)? But I am also probably biased in that I would be too embarrassed to be on fb or gchat when I have rows of students sitting behind me in a class haha (now if I were in the back row...that's a different story :P)


Well sometimes you want to quickly look up something online that's being mentioned in lecture?

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Sun Dec 25, 2011 3:26 pm

jbs017 wrote:
tomwatts wrote: Two of my classes allowed laptops, and two didn't. I, too, found it annoying to have to go type up my notes for the non-laptop classes (and I had a lot less taken down, roughly half what I had in the others), but it was probably pretty good review to do so. Still, in the laptop classes, I was blown away by the number of people who were blatantly on Facebook, working on their resumes, working on their memos, etc., in class. In one class, it was maybe 25% of the people with laptops, and in the other, it was probably 75% of the people with laptops.


I don't understand why they don't just turn off the Internet in the classrooms. That way, people who want or need to take notes on laptops can do so, but they can't goof off. There's almost no legitimate reason to be using the Internet during class. I know Chicago turns off the Internet in the classrooms, and I got the impression it worked great. In the class I visited, everyone was either taking notes or listening attentively.

Can some of you current students please advocate for this policy? I mentioned it to an administrator last year who seemed never to have thought of it before, but agreed that it was a good idea.


I actually asked a professor about this. He told me that Harvard had looked into it, but something about the way the network is set up made it not work all that well. I can't go into any more technical detail since he didn't. I have no idea how accurate his statement was.

Also, I'm one of those people who goofed off on the internet in class and I actually still had better notes and better focus in classes where I did than in ones where they banned laptops. In classes with banned laptops, my wind wandered off entirely. It'd be amazing to suddenly realize that 30 minutes had passed and that my memory of the past 30 minutes of class was completely blank. This didn't happen in classes where I had laptops--I at least always had some idea of what was going on.

I'll see when my grades come out if that mattered, but I really doubt it. I'll come back here to let you know.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Sun Dec 25, 2011 3:46 pm

Curious1 wrote:Well sometimes you want to quickly look up something online that's being mentioned in lecture?

I did this from time to time in class, so yeah. The simplest thing was looking up the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure online when I forgot to bring the book that had all of them, but there were other times when this was useful, too.
acrossthelake wrote:He told me that Harvard had looked into it, but something about the way the network is set up made it not work all that well. I can't go into any more technical detail since he didn't. I have no idea how accurate his statement was.

As far as I can tell, the Harvard network is one network with about a million wireless access points scattered throughout campus. I think it is technically possible to make certain access points switch on and off at various time intervals corresponding to class, but that would take the network down in every area that the access point was supposed to cover, which is usually not limited to the classroom it's in. Thus, while there's class in, say, Langdell South, the wireless network would suddenly go out in the entire vicinity of Langdell South, not just in that classroom. This would be far more annoying than it's worth.

Individual people could turn off their own network access, though. If you know that the Internet is a distraction, you can turn off your wireless for the duration of class. (Or not bring a computer. I had plenty of classmates who showed up to laptop classes without a laptop.)

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Sun Dec 25, 2011 3:52 pm

tomwatts wrote:
Curious1 wrote:Well sometimes you want to quickly look up something online that's being mentioned in lecture?

I did this from time to time in class, so yeah. The simplest thing was looking up the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure online when I forgot to bring the book that had all of them, but there were other times when this was useful, too.


Yeah this was very useful. I didn't like bringing casebooks to class or the supplements because they're heavy to carry and I'm a weakling. So I just looked stuff up on westlaw and google.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Mon Dec 26, 2011 2:31 am

lol Just to be clear, I'm certainly not one to advocate for no internet in the classrooms :P

And even if it were technically possible to do with the HLS network...I have very little faith in our IT dept. hahaha




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