Posted in Lessons Learned, Teaching

Reflection as Change

journal-for-blogWith a new semester beginning, I find myself thinking about what, if anything, I’d like to change with my teaching this year. I’m a firm believer that there’s always something that can be tweaked; in fact, I tend to be at the opposite end of the spectrum, with all sorts of ideas of things I’d like to try. In my experience, however, moderation is always best, so I’m trying to focus on one or two new/different tweaks this semester.

One thing I plan to do is keep a teaching journal. I teach the same topics in my research course each semester, with the same basic assignments, but of course, nothing is really ever the same. Last semester, for instance, I lectured on a topic I’ve done several times before and barely made it through the lecture content, without any meaningful time for the planned in-class exercise. What did I do differently? How can I avoid that time-suck again? Regrettably, I didn’t keep a journal at the time; I just have an ever-fading memory of the event. The same thing happens with assignments. I typically make new questions for most of my assignments, but I’ll occasionally recycle questions from several semesters ago if I thought they were particularly good. Every once in a while, I’ll discover a problem with a question, whether it’s ambiguous language or the law has changed and the question’s now irrelevant or unworkable, and I’ll think to myself, ‘don’t use this one again‘. Yet, when I decide to recycle a question, I go to a former answer key to grab it; that answer key doesn’t have any notes about what questions worked and what didn’t. And the cycle repeats itself.

How can you avoid those cyclical teaching errors? One method is self-evaluation. We’re used to getting student evaluations at the end of each semester, and those can be great measurements of your teaching; but it’s also important to evaluate yourself. One simple way to do this is the humble journal. In their book Dynamic Lecturing, Christine Harrington and Todd Zakrajsek promote reflective journaling as an effective self-evaluation practice. Several reasons they list for the advantages of maintaining a journal address the problems I noted, above: you’re more likely to actually make changes to your teaching if you’ve written them down; even when you think about things you’d like to change for the future, as time passes, those ideas fade (unless, again, you’ve written them down).

But they also list a few other advantages to maintaining a reflective teaching journal that only served to reinforce my commitment to trying this method out this year: “Keeping a reflective teaching journal can help us be more intentional as we reflect on our teaching practices…. [W]e are more likely to approach the reflection process in a thoughtful, comprehensive way when we write rather than just think about our teaching…. [J]ournals can become an excellent way to reflect on our overall growth as educators. Rereading journal entries can reinforce the changes and improvements that were made” (Harrington & Zakrajsek, 152-53).

I appreciate Harrington and Zakrajsek’s more expansive thoughts on the usefulness of journaling, that it’s not just about the minutia of what went right/wrong in each lecture, but also about seeing how our own teaching styles and philosophies change over time. It’s actually kind of fascinating to go back and look at how your work product has changed over time. I’m doing that for a different course right now, redoing some tutorials for a first-year writing course, and I realized that my method of presenting the same information has changed significantly in just the seven short years I’ve been teaching.

So my initial challenge to myself for the semester is to keep a journal about the course I co-teach each semester, so that I will have a written record of my thoughts on what should and shouldn’t change for the spring. But my further challenge to myself is to consider expanding on this, to create a reflection practice about other aspects of my work. Will this be a journal? Not necessarily. After all, things like the tutorials don’t change every year, so this reflection may not be as regular as a journal entry after every lecture. But I think it would be interesting to look back and see how similar work product (like PowerPoints on a similar topic in 2012 v. 2019) has changed over time and reflect on what that means about my development as an educator. With the school year starting this week, that’s the challenge I set for myself. I’ll report back in May. Stay tuned…

Posted in Teaching

Context/Skill Divide in [Legal Research] Education

apple2-blogThe more I teach, the more I find myself researching in education literature (no surprise there, I guess). Whether or not I’m reading about legal education, my thoughts always lead me to how I can apply what I’m reading to law schools, and especially, legal research.

I read an interesting article from The Atlantic this week about elementary education in the U.S. and how the push for reading comprehension skills may be backfiring in terms of producing better educated children. (Natalie Wexler, “Elementary Education Has Gone Terribly Wrong,” The Atlantic (Aug. 2019).)

The article was fascinating, and quite worth the read, but I’ll summarize my takeaways. Essentially, Wexler writes about the disconnect students have with reading material when they’re focused solely on practicing the skills of reading comprehension, such as identifying the main idea, drawing conclusions, comparing and contrasting, etc., or as Wexler puts it, “‘learning to read’ before ‘reading to learn’.” This all sounds practical, right? Well, as it turns out, all this focus on comprehension skills isn’t actually producing better readers. And in fact, it’s causing an achievement gap between kids from wealthier families versus kids from families with less resources. Wexler goes on to describe a number of case studies in which content, rather than skill, was the focus of learning, where the results showed far less of an achievement divide, and, in fact, a greater enthusiasm to learn from even those students with weaker reading skills.

So, how does this relate to legal research? Quite a bit, I think. While reading the article, I couldn’t help but think, gosh, I teach a skills-focused course… am I doing my students a disservice? Are we so focused on skill mastery that I’m creating an achievement divide? Thankfully, I believe I’ve talked myself off of that proverbial ledge. I don’t think a legal research course is quite the same context; however, I do think there are things we can learn from this article to help us be more effective legal research instructors. Namely, a research skill on its own has less meaning than when it’s put in context. That is, an assignment question that says, “Find a legal encyclopedia article that says ____,” doesn’t reinforce the context in which a legal encyclopedia can be helpful in research. Crafting the question around a brief hypothetical, that puts into context a scenario in which a legal encyclopedia might be your best bet would be more meaningful. Following that up with an extension on the hypothetical that asks the student to find an answer to a question that won’t be in an encyclopedia, but might be in a law review article (for instance, some currently developing legal topic that wouldn’t have been published yet in an encyclopedia) would be a great way to have students compare and contrast (one of those pesky reading comp skills) the varying usefulness of each resource.

If you’re teaching a legal research course that’s tied to a particular seminar, you can get even more context-driven, since the students are all learning the same subject. Relate the research skills to that. However, if, like me, you teach a survey course in Advanced Legal Research, with a mix of 2nd- and 3rd-year students, their backgrounds are far less uniform. One thing they do all have in common, though, are the first-year subjects they took, which is why our final capstone assignment typically involves tortious conduct. So never fear! All is not lost when teaching a skills-focused course. Just remember that context and content familiarity augment mastery of skills, and construct your course accordingly.

By the way, Wexler’s article is adapted from her book, The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America’s Broken Education System & How to Fix It. Guess what’s going on my ‘To Read’ list?

Posted in Presentations, Teaching

How is Legal Research Like Math?

I participated in a reading group at IU this year in which educators from all different departments on campus read a book called Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Help Improve Student Learning, by Jose Bowen (check out the website here).  The book talks about flipping the classroom so you can more effectively use face time to ensure student comprehension.  During one of our discussions, I was sharing my teaching experiences in the 1L legal research curriculum, how students would come to me a month or so after my Fall lectures on case law and statutory research and say, “Your lectures made sense to me at the time, but now we have a new client file.  How do I do it now?”  I’d always be a little crestfallen that they couldn’t extrapolate to the next research scenario.  But another participant in the group who teaches freshman math piped in and said that she has the same problem.  And that’s when I realized: Word problems are word problems.  Whether you’re talking about mathematical concepts or legal concepts, students encounter the same struggles.

Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis (bless you!) know that I am relatively new to law librarianship, only two years in.  In today’s climate, more emphasis is put on strong legal writing skills than on legal research, especially in the 1L curriculum.  I was counting it up the other day, and realized that, in an entire academic year, I get at the most 3 hours to teach basic legal research.  Now, I’m not here to argue about that – it is what it is, and you work with what you’re given.  After swapping stories with colleagues at other schools, I feel fortunate that I get to come into the 1L classroom at all!  But having only that short amount of time does mean I have to make it count, and how do you do that?

Well, judging from my experiences with my students and my little epiphany in the reading group, it occurred to me that perhaps my students’ main problem is that they cannot see the forest through the trees.  Maybe I need to focus a little more on the big picture.  In my last lecture of the Spring (in January), we mostly review everything I’ve taught them.  So this year, I used a Prezi for this part of the lecture.  Now Prezi gets a lot of flack: (1) many people use it mostly because it’s flashy and different than your standard PowerPoint, and (2) its setup – zooming in and out of each point of the presentation – has been known to make people seasick.  However, I like Prezi because it sets you up to focus on the big picture.  You literally start with the big picture, zoom in to focus on individual points, and zoom back out to the big picture again at the end.  If you don’t like the Prezi experience, fine.  But you can’t argue with that organization.  (And by the way, my Prezi did not make anyone sick, and students came up afterward to thank me, because it was the first time that everything was put together for them.)

I decided to share this experience and expand upon it for the CALI Conference for Law School Computing this year.  My idea was to share not only my Prezi, but also to envision how the same presentation – The Basic Legal Research Process – could be conveyed through other visual formats.  I didn’t do anything too mind-blowing, instead focusing on the tried-and-true, like PowerPoint, Keynote, and other linear slideware like Haiku Deck and Google Slides.  I also threw in mind-mapping, with an example from Coggle, and more static visuals like posters, bringing an example of one made in Canva, or teaching from a LibGuide.  For the presentation, I showed examples of each, talked about the pros and cons, and gave suggestions of where each visual might best serve the education process.  Like I said, not mind-blowing, but instead purposefully focusing on existing technologies and how best to use them to optimizing learning and retention.  In preparing for this presentation, I learned a few things:

brainWhile I thought it was just good practice in teaching, it turns out that visual aids are scientifically proven to aid in education.  It comes down to how the right brain and left brain work together.  [Warning: This will be incredibly simplified, as I am not a cognitive scientist!]  In a typical law school classroom, where students read the cases before class and listen to lecture and maybe a little Socratic Method during class, the left brain is really well stimulated.  This is because the left brain absorbs individual pieces of data, as from a book or a lecture.  But the right brain needs a little more.  The right brain makes connections between those individual pieces of data, and does this best in a visual format.  So even having a simple PowerPoint of bulleted slides accompany your lecture fires the right brain into action.  By using both the right and left brain, we learn better.  It aids in our memory – we retain and can recall information much better.  And then there’s the issue of learning styles.  There are many theories out there, but generally I found six learning styles:

  1. Oral – learns best by talking it out (think: Socratic Method)
  2. Aural – learns best by listening (think: lecture)
  3. Verbal – learns best by reading (think: reading the cases, handouts, etc.)
  4. Kinesthetic – learns best by acting it out (think: trial advocacy courses)
  5. Tactile – learns best by touching (think: clinics)
  6. Visual – learns best with visual aids

Now you would think that the argument for visual aids in the classroom is because visual learners need them.  That’s true, but as it turns out, visual aids benefit every learning style.  Again, this goes back to optimizing use of both the left and right brain.

Clearly, I was thrilled to find this out, as it backed up the premise behind my talk.  But we’ve all seen terrible PowerPoints, and those critical of visual aid use in teaching are not entirely incorrect.  There are many ways to use visuals incorrectly in teaching, but, as was the punchline in my talk: That’s on the speaker.  Blaming the technology is like shooting the messenger.  Instead, it’s the person behind the message that’s to blame.  For every visual aid faux pas, there’s a solution:

  • Too wordy?  Focus on fewer words, more images (Relevant images, I should say; it turns out putting pictures of kittens on every slide is unlikely to help your audience remember your points!)
  • Reading the slides?  Ouch – that’s the worst!  And as it turns out, not only is that bad form, but that impedes learning as well.  It seems counter-intuitive, but if you read your slides to your audience while they’re trying to read them as well, that’s redundant, and they will actually retain it less well than if you had a few bullet points on your slide for them to read, but you elaborated on these points in your lecture.
  • Too flashy?  Yeah, that’s easy to get carried away with.  A good rule of thumb with visuals is: Everything you do should have a purpose.  Create your visuals thoughtfully.  Sure, I can make my slides bounce onto and off the screen, but what does that convey?  Too flashy = distracting = difficult to retain.
  • It’s a crutch: It’s easy for a speaker to let the visual take over.  A common complaint of students is that when professors use visuals the class becomes far less interactive.  You have to remember that the visual is merely an aid.  Just because you have a PowerPoint up does not mean you can’t pause for class discussion. For example, put a hypo up on a slide and work the class discussion into the visual.

What you should notice here is that in each of these scenarios it’s not the technology that has failed, but the speaker.  It is critical to know how the technology works and how best to use it to convey what you’re teaching.  Don’t use it just because you think you have to; use it thoughtfully.  Finally, make sure the technology fits.  As I concluded in my presentation, some technologies – PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, etc. – are still top dog for use in lectures; other technologies, like LibGuides and posters, might be better to bring up at the end of class as a study aid after-the-fact.  I even thought it could be really powerful to create a mind map interactively with your class in a review session; that way it’s not a map of the professor’s mind, but of the collective class mind instead; while untested by me, I have a hunch that doing something like this with the class would really help students grasp the concept.  (If you try this out, please let me know how it goes!)

If you’re interested in more about this presentation, you can check out my materials here.



Posted in Teaching

Apps in Legal Education

I am a (sometime) blogger for the Law School Ed Tech blog.  I have been very negligent in my duties this year, regrettably, but today (hot off the presses!), I posted my reflections on having just taught a lecture on apps for legal research.  I hope you’ll give it a glance at the link below, and if you have ever given any similar lectures and have advice on other apps to cover, I’d love to hear them!

Apps in Legal Education.

Posted in Lessons Learned, Teaching

Easier Said Than Done? Constructing Good Legal Research Assignments

frustratedOne of my biggest research interests is legal education, understanding its evolution, current trends, and best practices.  Most of my teaching currently is confined to the standard lecture format, but I look forward to someday trying a flipped classroom and online education.

In addition to course format, I am also deeply interested in best practices for assignment construction.  I don’t currently teach much outside of our four guest lectures for the Legal Research & Writing course each year, and we do not craft the research assignments for that course; but I have assisted a colleague in drafting questions for various research assignments in Advanced Legal Research and other upper level courses.

For the most part, these assignments consist of what I would call “fetch” assignments – a series of short questions that ask the student to simply retrieve various, usually unrelated, legal documents.  This kind of assignment is no stranger, having been around for generations; and its questions, though often unrelated to each other, will speak directly to the skills taught in the preceding lecture and whether or not the student has paid attention.  Of course, this is not the only kind of assignment that corresponds with a research skills course.  Many programs have writing-intensive research assignments, asking students to follow a fact pattern and write a brief or memo, conducting research entirely on their own.  Our own Advanced Legal Research course culminates in the students’ creation of research guides on a topic of their choosing.

There are two key advantages, as I can see it, of these latter, writing-intensive assignments:

  1. Students are put to task to actually show that they know how to research on their own, without being prompted by a pointed question.
  2. These assignments are more likely to leave a lasting impression on the students than a series of random “fetch” questions.  I believe students are more likely to remember these resources and how/when to use them from having completed the more reality-based assignments.

The assignments I have assisted with are fetch assignments, but I try to tie some “reality” to the fetch questions that I create.  For example, my questions usually have a mini hypo at the beginning, such as “A client comes to you asking for…” or “Your boss has asked you to research….”  By starting my questions this way, I hope to convey to the students that these are the kinds of research situations they are likely to confront in the real world.  Often I will use the same hypo for three or four questions as well, to show how one client scenario can cause you to research several different types of primary and secondary sources.  Does this help the students remember the particular resource I was asking them to use?  I don’t know.  I’m sure I could conduct an assessment of this, but remember, this isn’t actually my class – I’m writing these questions for another colleague!

We have noticed, and I’m sure we’re not alone, that students, at least in the first half of the semester, are quite stressed out by these assignments, having become so accustomed to the standard exam-only format of the law school curriculum.  So when we craft questions for these assignments, we try to be as straightforward as possible, and we emphasize to the students that the assignments are not designed to be tricky; we just want to know that they are comprehending the lecture material.  So what has astounded me is how hard it is to construct a question that is actually straightforward.  Even when it seems like I am basically spoon-feeding them, the students will return frustrated, off-the-wall answers.

Therefore, my new research mission, I have decided, is to learn how to construct effective legal research assignments that won’t frustrate the students or me.  (Okay, that exact goal is probably a pipe dream, but you see where I’m going!)  Exploring concepts such as problem-based learning, reverse-engineering courses, and scaffolding assignments, I hope to learn how to better construct research assignments and curricula so that when more teaching responsibilities come my way, I can better ensure that students leaving my classroom have mastered the AALL Legal Research Competencies and are prepared to enter their legal careers as effective legal researchers.


Posted in Teachable Moments, Teaching

Adventures in Teaching Legal Research

Is it odd to walk away from a lecture and feel that it was simultaneously disastrous and highly successful?

Today I gave my last lecture for the year on basic legal research.  The structure of the 40-minute lecture was to spend the first half discussing legal periodicals and the second half reviewing statutory and case law research.  I gave this lecture to two sections of students, back to back.  In the first section, my colleagues (giving the same lecture elsewhere at the school) and I realized that the indexes and databases we were showing were inexplicably inaccessible from our students’ laptops, problematic since they were to use these resources tonight in an assignment due tomorrow!  Disaster #1.  Because it took so long to try and resolve this problem in the first lecture, my review of primary sources was cut abruptly short.  In the second class, I was prepared for the problems with the databases, but my students – quiet in all of my other lectures – unexpectedly asked many questions about legal periodicals, thus again cutting drastically into my review time (I was actually thrilled by the questions!  See below.).  Disaster #2.

So how could I possibly walk away from these lectures with a positive feeling?  To be sure, I am disappointed that I didn’t get to do the review justice; primary source research is critical, and a thorough review would have been very helpful for the students.  And yet I ultimately walked away feeling successful because the first half of the lecture, discussing legal periodicals, went so well.  It’s true – it didn’t really go that well.  After all, the students couldn’t access the databases!  But that was a technical glitch that was quickly resolved after the fact, and on my classroom computer the databases worked fine, so the students still got to see how each operated and the purpose each serves.  Furthermore, I was able to convey the information I wanted them to have thoroughly, clearly, and efficiently.  In fact, watching the clock, I was making really good time on my lectures, were it not for the technical glitches and the curiosity of the students!

I think what I found most thrilling, to be perhaps a little dramatic, was that the students were so inquisitive.  I love that they asked me questions!  It showed that they were paying attention and that they were engaged.  For the most part, these weren’t questions born out of confusion, but curiosity, a yearning to learn a little more.  As an instructor, you always wonder if you’re getting through to the students (especially when they don’t ask you any questions!), and today I walked away from each section knowing that I had at least gotten through to a few students in each class.

To make me feel even better, this is the first time that the students have really taken me up on my suggestion that they come to me with research questions.  After the last lecture, a couple of students came to me with questions about their assignment.  After today’s lecture, students came to me, both with continued database problems (that have now been resolved) and with further questions about the resources I have shown them and how they work.  I even had a student ask if we offer any more lectures on legal research!  He said he really got a lot out of my lectures (what a relief to hear, let me tell you!), but because they were over so quickly, he often felt like he needed something more in-depth that reinforced these principles.  I immediately told him about a few different opportunities we have coming up, and he seemed very interested.  (I’ll admit that he, in particular, made my day today.  He even complimented me on my handouts – seriously, he knows the way to my heart!)

So yes, despite the disasters I encountered, I cannot help but feel that today’s lectures were a success.  I handled a technological crisis well, I seemed to really reach my students, and I finally reached the point that at least some feel comfortable coming to me with questions.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was definitely a good experience.

Posted in Teaching, Uncategorized

Millennials, Learning, and Legal Research

This week I’ve been reading over a few technology-related law books we’ve recently added to our collection, and I was quite interested in how the material related both to my role as the educational technology librarian and as a lecturer in our legal research and writing program here at Maurer Law.

One of the books in particular, The Millennial Lawyer by Ursula Furi-Perry, has some very interesting insights into the generational differences between the millennial generation (also referred to as Generation XY) and older generations who will likely be hiring these younger individuals for summer clerkships and (hopefully!) post-graduation.  The major differences that are affecting workplace relationships primarily involve learning styles and attitudes toward technology.

Naturally, these two major differences are linked together: as Furi-Perry explains, today’s law students have grown up with technology at their fingertips; they’re considered “just in time” learners, who tend to only focus on information that they need at that moment; this is contrasted with older generations who are considered “just in case” learners, who tend to store away information in case the need arises to use it (122).  This understanding is nothing new – educators in all disciplines are slowly adapting their teaching methods to be more interactive, as Millennials are less responsive to the straight lecture method of teaching.

Fortunately, Furi-Perry suggests that these differences can work to the firm’s advantage.  Clearly, new attorneys still need to be taught the ropes when it comes to the practice of law, but they should be encouraged to put their technical skills to use.  Social media publicity is an increasing trend in law firms, and that responsibility could naturally fall to a younger associate; however, the same ethical standards apply – that’s where the experience of the practiced attorney comes into play.  For those firms that are attempting to break into technology, Millennials might be able to offer their own insight – take cloud computing for example: Gradually companies are coming forward with safe methods for securing client files in the cloud; Millennials, likely to be familiar with cloud storage, should be able to offer insight as to the pros and cons that must be considered when choosing cloud storage options for confidential files.  These are just a few examples of how the mixture of generations within a firm could actually strengthen the firm in the long run.

But none of this relates to my job and what I found so inspiring about this book.  Beyond the technology aspects of my job, my colleagues and I are tasked with introducing the 1Ls to the basics of legal research.  While they are still required to complete shorter research assignments with paper materials (a task that I believe all of us feel is still an important skill to have), our lectures focus on electronic legal research.  Having completed my two fall lectures prior to reading through this book, I used its insights to reflect on my teaching methods.  As one of my colleagues, who has seen each of us lecture, observed, all the reference librarians here have very different lecture styles.  While some go into the nitty-gritty of all the features available in Lexis Advance and Westlaw Next, it has been observed that I move a little slower, offer a little more explanation, and focus more on the task at hand.

For our lectures, we are made aware of the ongoing research assignment the students are to complete through electronic research, and the writing professors identify a few specific things they would like us to point out in the lecture.  The observation about how my lecturing differs from my colleagues’ concerned me initially – I worried that perhaps I was “teaching to the test” as it were – however, after reading this book, I think my approach reflects the “just in time” mentality of my students.  In each of the lectures I have completed, I began by reviewing their research scenario, discussed why we needed to complete the type of research I was about to show them, and then proceeded to conduct the research with them, always relating it back to the research scenario and the methods they should employ as they replicate this research for their assignment.  In essence, I tried to stay practical and show them what they needed to know for the task at hand.  Perhaps in the spring my lectures can become more detail-oriented, as the students will then be more familiar with the databases, but for now (thanks to my reading of Furi-Perry’s book) I feel confident that I have sent them off with the skills they need to begin their legal research.  I was also led to wonder why my approach went the practical route – I do so enjoy the bells and whistles these databases offer! – but I’ve concluded that perhaps my just-in-time teaching style stems from the fact that I am also of the Millennial generation (though being born in the ’80s I’ve just made the cut!), so perhaps over the years I’ve come to appreciate this method of learning.

(FYI – I have also read elsewhere that Millennials tend to scan rather than actually read large volumes of text, so most likely my method of writing, which tends toward the verbose, is a little too “old school” to effectively reach my students!  Perhaps that’s something I should work on as well…)

Posted in Teaching

Teaching Legal Research

Today was a first for me: my first time lecturing in a law school course!  For the first-year Legal Research & Writing course, the reference librarians each teach two guest lectures on legal research per semester.  I had my first today, on statutory research in Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance, and Westlaw Next.  Certainly, I can admit to having been nervous, as I have never formally taught before; however, I prepared and practiced my lecture thoroughly, and by the end of the week was really only concerned about time.

As a whole, things actually went better than expected!  I didn’t have any time issues; I got to everything I wanted to cover; and students [seemed to] understand.  Teaching electronic research can be tricky, and in my experience students can get very frustrated trying to follow along – it’s easy to get lost.  Knowing this, in my lecture I paused frequently to make sure the students could see where I was and to give them time to catch up.  From what I can tell, this technique worked quite well; the professor I was working for, in particular, seemed pleased with my technique.

Another aspect of the lecture I will confess to having been nervous about was getting questions during and/or after the lecture.  To be sure, I invited the asking of questions, but I was worried they might throw me off, or even stump me!  As it turns out, I did get some good questions, and I feel I competently answered them as well.  Some were even great segues into the next topic in my lecture!  The students had a research assignment due today as well (statutory research with paper codes), and the instructor asked me to help field questions for it too – I had no idea what to expect, since I had not designed the assignment, but these too went quite well.  Students in both sections queried the usefulness of books in the age of electronic; both the professor and I had prompt, practical responses for that question.  My favorite was probably the question about whether there is greater eye strain when using print or electronic – I probably would have suggested consulting an optometrist; the professor suggested that no matter what type of resource you use, the legal profession lends itself to eye strain generally!  Good answer!

Suffice it to say that, with my second lecture coming up in two weeks, my nerves are significantly reduced!  Certainly, the same preparation technique will be utilized (starting Monday – I get a break this weekend!), but I think I will go into my next lecture more confidently, inside and out!