A few thoughts as the month clicks over and we start counting down to September and the return of our students – something I’m looking forward to even though it doesn’t look likely that I will finish everything I had intended to do over the summer.
Simon Chester posted recently about the use of laptop computers in class and the ongoing debate over that, with some professors not allowing it. I think that’s a transitional thing and its inevitable that such attempts to hold back the tide will be overwhelmed before long. Nearly every student at this law school (Osgoode Hall) has some form of portable wireless device which can acces the Web, allow email, word-processing, telecommunication and likely a variety of other functions. Students are multi-task proficient (they seem to be born that way now) and frankly they also have the attitude and the expectation that everything be online. Although this is not the case, it is very very difficult to get that message across – not least because what was not online yesterday often is today, or next week. Questions that I did not think could be answered online – well sometimes a student shows me that it can. Staying ahead of the students has been the name of the game for quite a while now and will be – perhaps forever. No sooner do you install wireless than the question is asked, ‘does it allow printing?’ So you scramble to provide that. Then they expect online reference assistance, at 2am!
Life in a law library is endlessly interesting – and I wouldn’t go back to the pre-Internet days for anything. Remember cut and paste updating of Acts? [shudder]