Law School Academic Support Blog

Editor: Amy Jarmon
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

2 New Blogs Join Law Professor Blogs Network

We are pleased to announce the launch of two new blogs as part of our Law Professor Blogs Network:

These blogs join our existing blogs:

LexisNexis is supporting our effort to expand the network into other areas of law.  Please email us if you would be interested in finding out more about starting a blog as part of our network.

May 31, 2005 in News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Primer on Learning Styles

Jacobson Have you read Willamette University College of Law Professor MH Sam Jacobson's excellent article, "A Primer on Learning Styles: Reaching Every Student," 25 Seattle UL Rev. 139 (2001)?  (I haven't found a copy on the web yet - this is a chance to use the Blog sponsor's product, or other fine research tool of your choice.)

"When teachers teach in ways that acknowledge and validate different styles of learning," Professor Jacobson reminds readers, "students do better."  Although that seems like the type of "duh" statement that probably qualifies as a Maddenism ...

Madden... [John Madden, NFL commentator and former Oakland Raider head coach, famous for such remarks as "Any time you have a game, you have to be ready to play," "You can only make one play at a time," and my personal favorite, "It's kind of hard to keep your head from being lopsided if you have half of the field in your helmet"] ...

... nevertheless, it needs to be said. 

The students we serve are often very frustrated by what they perceive as their inability to "learn" the material.  Often, this reflects only an inability to learn material taught in a user-not-so-friendly manner.  "If students are not fully absorbing critical information, the most sophisticated processing of the information will not matter since it involves inadequate input.  It would be like playing solitaire without a full deck."  An acceptable level of absorption occurs for "... some students ... [only] when they absorb information in a particular way."

Professor Jacobson walks the reader through several levels of classification of personal characteristics that contribute to student learning styles, including intelligence, personality, information processing and social interaction, and instructional preferences.

This article is a brief but detailed primer on the subject.  If you don't have a background that includes this information, grab ahold of this article before you head for the Las Vegas conference next week. 

Berra In the fall, you can explain to your students how law school is like baseball ... as Yogi Berra put it, "Ninety percent of this game is half-mental."  That's even more difficult to handle, I suppose, if you have half the field in your helmet.   (djt)

May 31, 2005 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Check Back in Early June

I'll be off line until June 2 on vacation.  Hopefully, you'll enjoy some time away from the office as well.  (els)

May 22, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Juris Novus Featuring Blogs from the Law Professor Blogs Network

Juris Novus, law blog aggregator, is proud to announce a collaboration with Law Professor Blogs. Juris Novus will be featuring a rotating cast of blogs from the Law Professor Blog network.

Keeping up with the blogsphere is a daunting task as new blogs come online daily. Juris Novus provides order and centralization, pulling together relevant headlines and presenting them on a single page.

Law professors greatly influence the legal blogsphere. Academia demands a clear writing voice and current knowledge of legal ongoings. Successful blogging demands the same, it comes as no surprise that professors have risen to the top of the law blogsphere. In honor of those law professors who have contributed to the rich culture of the legal blogsphere, Juris Novus features a heavier balance of law professor blogs.

Juris Novus is updated three times an hour and stores headlines on a history page when you miss a day. Save time and simplify your day with Juris Novus. Thank you for making the legal blogsphere a better place!

The Law Professor Blogs Network is proud to announce a collaboration with Juris Novus, one of the finest law blog aggregators online. Juris Novus will be featuring a rotating cast of blogs from our Network.

May 22, 2005 in About This Blog | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 20, 2005

Visual Search Tool

Visual learners may now have a tool to cruise the web, courtesy of Groxis, a San Francisco-based company founded in 2001.  (A likely nod to cult-book favorite Stranger in a Strange Land).

Unlike traditional search results that appear in a list of titles and links, the Groxis search delivers the Yahoo search feeds in a visual map. 

Will these colorful clusters of information help students who prefer visual maps of information navigate the web with facility?  In any case, the colorful maps are certainly a treat for the eyes of this visual learner. (els)      

May 20, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Learning To Stimulate Learning

Consider spending two days in Spokane, Washington, learning how to stimulate students to learn, how to "tap creativity to aid visual learning," and how to "get students to think about how they learn," at the Institute for Law School Teaching Summer Conference, July 14-16, 2005, at Gonzaga University.

The Institute, established in 1991, helps "to provide a learning environment that helps students achieve the highest academic standards, and become effective, moral attorneys."  (els)

May 18, 2005 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Workshop for New Law Teachers

The AALS is offering two trainings that may be of interest this summer:  Workshop for Beginning Legal Writing Teachers and Workshop for New Law Teachers.  Both conferences are geared to those who have been teaching for less than two years.  The conferences will be held on June 23-26, 2005, in Washington D.C. 

The Workshop for Beginning Legal Writing Teachers, which will be held from June 25-June 26, "should be of interest ...to all new teachers whose responsibilities include some teaching of legal writing," according to information posted by the AALS

"The workshop will address the basic tasks of the teacher of legal writing: designing problems, classroom teaching, critiquing written work by students, and conducting effective legal writing conferences with students." 

The Workshop for New Law Teachers, June 23-June 25, "is designed to offer new law teachers ideas about teaching techniques and scholarly development and to enable them to share excitement, experiences and concerns about entering the academic world."  (els)

May 18, 2005 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Book Sale Anyone?

Perhaps I should entitle this the Luddite Corner to capture the jaw dropping that I experienced as I read the following article.

The New York Times is reporting today that college libraries are dumping portions of their print collections in favor of other media, in an article entitled College Libraries Set Aside Books in a Digital Age.

The article contains the following quote from Frances Malory, President of the Association of College and Research Libraries:

"This is a new generation both with a chip...A student sends an e-mail at 2 a.m. and wonders by 8 a.m. why the professor hasn't responded."  Should we aim to make our programs more accessible electronically? (els)

May 17, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Law School at Midlife?

   The May 16, 2005 issue of Time Magazine carries an interesting cover story entitled, "Midlife Crisis? Bring it on!"  The article offers some insights into the ways that the roughly 43 million American women who fall between ages 40 and 63 are reshaping and redefining their lives with upbeat and, at times, seemingly radical changes to their lives.  The remarkably enthusiastic article notes that in increasing numbers women are pursuing their passions, including returning to school to pursue a law degree.  (els)

May 15, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 13, 2005

AHEAD

The Association on Higher Education and Disability ("AHEAD") is the premiere professional association committed to full participation of persons with disabilities in postsecondary education.

It is a membership organization for individuals involved in the development of policy and in the provision of quality support services to serve the needs of persons with disabilities involved in all areas of higher education.

I have attended several AHEAD conferences over the years, and found them to be very helpful as I serve law students with disabilities.  You ought to consider attending.

This year, the 28th annual conference will take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from August 2 through 6.

AHEAD also offers regional training.  Last year, I attended a day-long regional program in Massachusetts about assisting students with ADHD, psychological difficulties, and psychiatric disorders.  Take a look at what they have to offer. (djt)

May 13, 2005 in Meetings | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Adios para dos semanas

Cleo_tonsingQuestions:
A.  What's
on that paper I'm holding? 
B.  Why the smile?


Answers:
A.  Itinerary.
B.  I
t's vacation time! 

I'll be south of the border for two weeks, so Ellen will be handling the Blog.  We decided that the last half of May would be "Blog Lite," so don't expect our usual joint output.  Happy end of the Academic Year.  (djt)

May 13, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Job Forecast Gloomy?

In Thursday's New York Times, columnist Bob Hebert offers a gloomy forecast about job prospects for younger members of the workforce in his opinion piece entitled, "The Young and Jobless."

If accurate, will this forecast urge young unemployed and underemployed college grads into law school in the coming year?  If you have difficulty accessing the New York Times on the web, you may need to register, which is free. (els)

May 12, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Coaching Training for AD/HD Students

If you're looking for ideas on a novel training this summer, you might want to consider the trainings offered by the National Institute at Landmark College, which is affiliated with Landmark College, a school tailored to students with LDs and AD/HD, located in Putney, Vermont. 

Answer the following question:  Does teaching your students to master the skills they need to manage their varied responsibilities as a law student:

a.  Pose challenges?

a.  Occasionally seem exhausting?

b.  Occasionally make you want to pull your hair out?

If you're inclined to answer yes to any of those options, you may want to learn more skills to become an effective coach, particularly for students with AD/HD.  According to their website, the AD/HD Coaching Training focuses on:

   Utilizing expert question asking

   Facilitating effective action

   Practicing specific coaching techniques and strategies

   Exploring record keeping options

  The week-long course is designed for "professionals working with students at the postsecondary level. Secondary school educators working one-on-one or in specialized settings will also benefit." 

  For the weather wimps among you, do note that the Vermont summers are truly wonderful.  The National Institute offers trainings throughout the summer.  Other trainings of interest include, Teaching Writing to Students with LD/ADHD and Technology Solutions for Students with LD/ADHD.  (els)

May 10, 2005 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 8, 2005

It's That Time of Year

Let me guess:  At least one student in the past few days has some anxiety about law school exams.  You've probably developed your own rap to encourage students to take as positive of a view as possible on the looming (um, approaching) examinations and to remind them to get enough sleep, nutrition and exercise as they prepare to finish the year and to walk, crawl or hobble off into the sunset.  Sunset_3 Maybe you want to browse some links on the web to gather some more suggestions.  U. of Dayton Law Professor Vernellia Randall offers some suggestions for anxious law students, including reminding them to pace themselves during examinations and to eat before the test.  For some generalized tips on reducing test anxiety visit the test taking tips website.  The good folks at University of Pittsburgh Student Health Center offer some relaxation techniques on their website.  You may want to refer students to the school counselor during this hectic time.  (els)

May 8, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"BAS" (Before Academic Support)

Those of us who are over 50 ... okay, maybe even 40 ... have dark memories about attempting law school without academic support. 

Paula Poundstone - who, as far as I know, never attended law school - seems to sum up law school life before academic support . . .

Paula "My mom told me how she learned to swim.  Someone took her out in the lake and threw her off the boat.  That's how she learned how to swim.  I said, 'Mom, they weren't trying to teach you how to swim.'"   (djt)

May 8, 2005 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Tool for Improving Student Articles

Do you offer writing advice to students?

  • How to write exam answers?
  • How to write legal writing, legal methods, legal research papers?
  • How to write seminar papers?

This article (52 J. Legal Educ. 440, No. 3, Sept. 2002) describes how to avoid "tunnel vision" when writing seminar papers. 

Volokh Writing expert (guru?) Professor Eugene Volokh borrows the systematic concept of "test suites" from the computer programmer world, to explain how students can be guided away from the tendency to generalize and leave essential counterexamples unexamined. (djt)

May 8, 2005 in Advice | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 6, 2005

MPT Preparation

If you're looking for ways to improve the MPT workshop that you already offer for students preparing to take the bar examination or looking to devise one this summer, consider reviewing a primer on the topic.  Suzanne Darrow-Kleinhaus, Assistant Professor of Legal Methods and Director of Academic Support Programs at Tuoro Law School, offers her suggestions for strategies to master the practical test in her article entitled, "Incorporating Bar Pass Strategies into Routine Teaching Practices," 37 Gonz. L. Rev. 17 (2001/2002).  Professor Darrow-Kleinhaus identifies the skills tested on the MPT and offers some thoughtful suggestions for how students can complete the required task of writing a coherent analysis of a legal problem under the pressures of time.  By clearly identifying the importance of reading directions, organizing the materials, writing clearly and with the proper tone, and following directions students can prepare themselves effectively by working through the myriad of examinations released by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and available for no charge on their website.  Professor Darrow-Kleinhaus is the author of The Bar Exam in a Nutshell.  (els) 

May 6, 2005 in Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Preps or Perps?

Complaint alleges prep courses perpetrated illegal acts

Barbri_complaint_1 According to a recent "lawschool.com" press release, a complaint filed last week against BAR/BRI bar review, West Publishing Corporation, and Kaplan, Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California alleges that more than 300,000 lawyers and law students were each charged an estimated $1,000 extra for bar review courses. 

The story was also carried by "dBusiness News," an online daily business news service.

The complaint reportedly alleges that "executives of BAR/BRI and Kaplan secretly agreed to a per se illegal market division," according to the lawschool.com story.  (djt)

May 4, 2005 in Bar Exams | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 2, 2005

Paying Attention

Interested to find out how a student with ADHD/ADD might experience a classroom when he or she is asked to follow directions or to complete a reading assignment?  The folks who brought you the documentary broadcast on PBS entitled, "Misunderstood Minds," offer simulations on the companion web site that may give you this type of understanding.  While the web demonstrations aim to recreate a grade-school classroom, they offer the types of insights that no book or educational report could reveal.  As the student who brought the site to my attention noted, "It gives me a headache." 

The documentary, "Misunderstood Minds," chronicles the lives of a handful of children and their parents as they cope with the diagnosis and management of a variety of learning differences, with varying degrees of success.  It offers an intimate look into the challenges faced by students and their families.  Interspersed within their stories are comments by the pioneers in the fields of learning differences, including Mel Levine, M.D., who discuss brain chemistry and the ways the brain processes information.  Copies of the documentary are also available for purchase on the site.   (els)

May 2, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Dictionary of Legal Terms

Is this an alternative to Black's Law Dictionary for students?  Law.com now offers a free Dictionary of Legal Terms.  I looked up a few terms ... it seems to be a good resource for a quickie definition, and might be quite helpful for wunnelles struggling (during their first month at least) for fluency in the Language of the Law.  (djt)

May 2, 2005 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)