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November 23, 2020


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Ralph D. Clifford

I have been teaching two sections of Intro. to Property this term, all by Zoom of course. One of my sections (in our part-time night program) has 17 students; the other section has 63. I am finding major differences between the two sections that can not be explained by the maturity differences between part-time night and full-time day students.

A significant factor that traced directly to Zoom is keeping track of how the students are doing during each class. I normally require students to keep their video feed on (those needed an exception to this can get one by contacting me before each class). I do this because I need to be able to get feedback on how well the material is being understood. To do that, I have to be able to see everyone. In the gallery view that I use during class, Zoom allows a maximum of 49 images per screen. Seeing 49 people on a screen is somewhat challenging, but I installed a second, large monitor which makes it work (the students are on the large monitor, the powerpoint slides are on my laptop’s monitor).

As a general matter, particularly with the 17 night students, this set-up has worked. For the night class, everyone is on the same screen in a large enough image to be seen. The night class has developed its personality and, at least based on the quality of the briefing and the questions that are asked, is doing as well as classes I have taught live.

For the day class of 63, however, this Zoom-caused limitation of 49 images on a screen is a significant problem. With more than 49 students, I find it impossible to keep everyone in sight, particularly as Zoom rearranges the gallery fairly regularly. Flipping between screens as you try to answer a student’s question just doesn’t work. I worry about these students because, as the semester has proceeded and despite my video on rule, a significant minority of my students are now a black box with a name. When I call on these students to participate in class, I often get no response.

My conclusion from this is that Zoom class sessions should be capped at 49 students. Teaching a student that you can’t see isn’t practical.

Ediberto Roman

Thanks, Ralph for your comments. We seem to agree in large part. I like your suggestion on the cap---can you imagine the reactions from deans??? Of course, I appreciate your observations. Not my field or focus of late--too much on the immigration front for me these days. I nevertheless hope one of us studies these issues further. Cheers! E


Bottom line: No matter how much anyone tries tries to fool himself/herself or others, Zoom sucks.

For those of us who remember the long history that happened before yesterday (unlike the juvenile students and many of their professors), "correspondence school" was a derided as inevitably subpar.

What is so astonishing is that the legal academic establishment has convinced students to pay for "distance learning" -- saving the costs to operate the physical plant (save fixed costs) and depriving these students of the experience and education for which they paid.

Soon, I expect, like that last "law school scam" movement, folks will catch on this to underhanded maneuver by legal academia (AGAIN)! It is like Wall Street: it never learns because there are seldom any real consequences for lying. (Too few law schools closed after the last round of "accountability" for ripping off students.)

What is the lie? That "distance learning" is worth anything like a real law school education. Anyone educator who so states is, in my view, knowingly prevaricating.


Here's an idea that might appeal to all you woke, progressive tenured law profs, to solve the Law School Scam 2.0 issue (charging full tuition for less than 50% of the value).

Send in the adjuncts! THis would have a couple of salutary effects.

First, send in the older adjuncts first. This would help accomplish the universal goal of legal academia of a.) exploiting the help, by capitalizing on financial desperation and inequality, and b.) churning the ranks of the adjuncts, to prevent any of these lesser beings (who basically do exactly what you do, as most of you don't publish at all, and those who do, in the main, publish crap that no one reads or cares about) from attaining any of the meager "benefits" of longevity as an adjunct.

Second, this plan would enable tenured and tenure track faculty ample time to pursue their most important activities: remodeling, supervising the household staff (nannies, gardeners, housecleaners), etc. All pretense of "research" and "scholarship" can be dropped, in favor of playing around online all day, posting anti-republican talking points, posturing about who is the most "woke," and dreaming up new ways to basically control, and thereby make the lives of the people even more miserable.

Love it! Go all in, law profs. You know everyone loves you, right?

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