Liveblogging Law School
Thanks to Dan and the rest of the Concurring Opinion crew for hosting me here this month! I’ll be posting on such varied topics as juries, sentencing, legal history, teaching 1Ls, and–to steal a page from co-guest-blogger Jennifer Collins–celebrity malfeasance and misbehavior. It’s a great time to be a crim prof, that’s for sure.
But today I want to talk about student blogging, specifically law student blogs. I teach Criminal Law to first years, with all the excitement and agitas that can bring (plus side: excited, focused students. minus side: terrified rookies who’ve never read a case before). About three weeks or so into the semester, one of my students told me he had started a law school blog, and wanted to feature me as his first interview with a professor. Flattered, I obliged: here’s my interview.
All well and good. Then my student managed to snag Judge Posner as an interviewee, and this information, along with a link to the blog, was sent around the law school, including to all lawfaculty. By the time the link was circulated, however, my student had started his next project: liveblogging Torts. Here’s a sample of how it went.
When some of our faculty realized my student was liveblogging one of his classes, this sparked a discussion among students and faculty about the appropriateness of doing so. [I will note that the student only liveblogs when he has permission from the professor.] But that doesn’t really answer the host of interesting questions that are raised by this practice. For example, Should students be allowed to liveblog in class? Does posting your classmates’ comments on the blog for everyone to see negatively affect their learning experiences ? Will this make more students pay attention, because they are commenting on the blog during class, or does it distract? Is this a new and exciting way of teaching and learning for first-years? Or is it yet another way that the nefarious internet is taking over our lives?
It seems that my student will be continuing the live-blogging experiment for a while, so I’m curious to see what happens. I don’t think I’ll be changing my class rules forbidding in-class internet usage for ILs for the time being, however.