Welcome Back To (Virtual) Campus, and Follow Along My Classes This Semesters on YouTube

I teach on Mondays and Wednesdays. Property II (9:00-10:15 CT), Constitutional Law (10:30-12:10 CT)

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Our semester at the South Texas College of Law Houston begins on Monday. As usual, I will live-stream all of my classes. (The camera will be on me, so fortunately, you will not see the Zoom grid). I welcome everyone to stream along. I teach Mondays and Wednesday. Property II will meet from 9:00-10:15 CT, and Constitutional Law will meet from 10:30-12:10 CT. You can subscribe to my channel here.

In the meantime, you can watch the "mock" 1L Orientation Class I gave today. I hope my advice specific for this semester is helpful for others.

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  1. From an esthetics standpoint, I’d move the paintings.
    Busy things coming into your head are distracting.
    Just sayin….

  2. The paintings behind Prof Blackman make him appear as if American Constitutional history is very much in his head and, as such, may be not a bad thing at all!

    Blackman’s presentation technique here is surprisingly personable and helps make his part of the remote learning format less off-putting and more approachable.

    Although completing reading assignments is a must in order to be familiar with most of the names and concepts in the online lectures, would professor havings whiteboards on which to write out terms and names, list concepts and key points, do diagrams, and sketch stick figure type illustrations be a useful visual aid for students?

    Perhaps TAs or volunteer students taking turns each lecture could continuously update the boards in designated Zoom grids, as quick references for participants and certainly with Professors’ input and feedback. Or, such visuals could be prepared ahead of time for each lecture and given their own space.

    1. Typo: “would professors having whiteboards…” (As a student, I probably wouldn’t volunteer to quickly spell out terms and concepts, but diagrams and stick figures would be fun.)

    2. A far simpler approach that I have used in in-person lectures is have that on a powerpoint on a laptop and then use a LCD projector as a 2nd monitor displaying on the wall behind of me. In theory, Zoom ought to let this be a box display but if it doesn’t, then shoot the whole thing as one video input.

      When I do this, my powerpoint is also my lecture notes so it is prepared in advance — and I did the same thing with my dissertation defense except that it was a wall mounted LCD screen. (It’s also wise to make sure your computer can talk to the display the day before.)

      From an Ed Psych viewpoint, it’s good to have words written as well as spoken because people have different learning styles, with most using a combination of both. Likewise the issue with distracting backgrounds, that is particularly problematic for some students (e.g. ADHD).

      1. Good ideas. The background screen can come across as a bit remote through a monitor, at least to me. I like to see presenters up close without seeing their computer, their feet, or much of the room, since faces and hands convey a more immediate and engaging sense of communication.

        Of course, your presentations sound very organized and effective.

        Isn’t it wonderful the Professor doesn’t teach for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and have to present his Zoom lectures through a mask? Houston hasn’t gone that crazy… yet.

  3. Have you explicitly gotten consent from all your students to record these classes? If so, what do you do with a student who refuses to consent – can they not take your class? Do they have to remain silent (and, if so, do they get a tuition discount)?

    This is not a minor matter … videos can stay on the Internet forever, and stupid questions or comments can come back to haunt students.

  4. Now ordinary Americans can see what classes are like at one of the worst law schools in the country. What a treat!

    1. Wow, not only gratuitous dumping but inaccurate. South Texas College of Law Houston does really well in trial law competitions, plus more, and its reputation is solid and growing. My husband and I know a number of graduates from the school who have excellent jobs and are highly thought of.

      This was a good online Orientation vid.

      1. Bottom of the US News rankings. Median LSAT of 151. A school so bad that they got sued for trying to steal the name of a betters= school.

        I’ll stand by my earlier assessment.

      2. Reputation is “solid and growing.”

        True, but when the law school in question (South Texas) is ranked like #150 in the country, there’s nowhere to go but up!

  5. Happy Birthday, Prof. Blackman!

  6. The median GPA of the students here hovers around 3.0.

    I’m not sure why you’re setting your expectations so high as to expect the class to have actually read the case you assigned.

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