Pay Attention: How to be More Present on Zoom

I write, yet again, from the once uninhabited corner of my New York City living room that is now my office/classroom/yoga studio/homeschool hub. Formerly, it was known as a bookshelf. It is over two years into a pandemic that has crystallized the razor’s edge upon which we exist, skirting the periphery of the random chasm of death, all the while indulging the urgent desire to be alive. As we cycle through the Greek alphabet with terrifying speed, Omicron now looms large. And normalcy seems an ever more elusive phantom.

Welcome to My One-Woman Show!: My Unexpected New Career as a Skills Video Producer

Lawyering skills professor, law librarian, licensed attorney . . . and video producer? The COVID-19 pandemic caused most of us to take on unexpected roles, both inside and outside of the classroom. Even so, I never would have predicted that one of my new roles would be a combination of screenwriter, actor, director, editor, and producer of a series of video lectures that I used in my newly-flipped lawyering skills classroom.

How COVID-19 Made Me a Better Teacher

COVID-19 has caused havoc in the world as we know it, altering every aspect of life, including education. The pandemic forced me and other educators to teach online, and by doing so, it has made me a better teacher. I now (1) employ more teaching techniques; (2) assess more frequently; and (3) engage every student. As I emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, I have reflected on the positive lessons I learned from teaching online, lessons that I plan to bring with me when I return to the classroom.  

The Pandemic and Resisting the Lure of the 24/7 Legal Writing Professional

Like most of my colleagues who switched to Zoom classes almost overnight in March 2020, my life changed very dramatically when quarantine began. The various conferences I had planned to attend fell like dominoes, and our University announced a policy that it would not approve any travel for the foreseeable future. The school was locked down overnight. Thus, with all of my plans cancelled indefinitely (including going anywhere at all), I was left with a lot of scheduled time that suddenly became unscheduled time.

Zoom Whiplash: The Paradoxes of Remote LRW

The 2020-2021 academic year felt like an eon. It was an eeeeeeeeoooooooonnnnnn—a tiny word, suspended, stretched into an unrecognizable form.

That eon ran its course in a flash. Time flew even as it stood still, with every moment predictably offering novel and surprising challenges. Somehow, the spring semester abruptly ended when we were simultaneously hitting our stride and suffering burnout. A seventy-five-minute class on Zoom often felt equivalent to twenty minutes in a physical classroom. 

Using Entry Ticket Attendance: Moving Beyond “Pass the Sign-In Sheet” to Engage With Each Student, Every Day

When I left private practice to start teaching legal writing in the fall of 2019, I never thought much about how to take attendance. But teaching during a pandemic has been full of disruptions and unexpected surprises, and here I was, scrambling for a head-count system that would work during a school year unlike any other. Some days, class was fully remote. Other days, it was hybrid, with half the class attending in person, and half remaining remote. No telling how long that would hold either, as change seemed like one of the only constants.

Can I Teach You in a Hall? Can I Teach You on a Call? Can I Teach You from My Room? Can I Teach You on a Zoom?

Professors—and perhaps law professors more than most—can usually rely on the architecture of the place, the costuming of the participants, and even the nature of our audience for at least some of our success in the classroom. In a normal year, I know I benefit from the kind of people in the room: a captive audience who have been rewarded for sitting quietly and attentively for sixteen years. I benefit from the students’ relationships with one another: they enliven and enrich the class discussion and the classwork.

Community Building for Better Outcomes: Our Silver Lining From Teaching in A Pandemic

When we set out to plan our fall remote legal-writing course in summer 2020, we found ourselves in a bit of a panic. We covered it well on the surface, sharing exercises and tips with colleagues to ground ourselves and show that we had concrete ideas for the fall. Beneath that surface, however, we each frantically researched

Shelter-in-Place Edition (multiple authors)

This issue contains mini-essays by the following authors on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their lives:

Mirielle Butler, UC Berkeley 

John Cook, Elon University 

Megan Davis, University of Houston 

Olympia Duhart, Nova Southeastern University 

Rebekah Hanley, University of Oregon 

Anne Johnson, Mercer University 

Megan McAlpin, University of Oregon 

Mary Ann Robinson, Villanova University 

Joyce Rosenberg, University of Kansas 

Robyn Stanton, Stanford University 