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plantandsculpture

Note taking & recording classes as a 1L at Queen's Law

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Hi all,

I'm excited to say that I'll most likely be attending Queen's Law starting this fall.

I haven't been in school for about three years now, so I'm trying to give myself a good adjustment period to get used to the classroom setting.

When it comes to note taking, I'm leaning more towards handwriting them, because I have felt in my university years that having a computer in class distracts me a lot.

That said, I'm also a little worried about not being able to retain everything due to the inherent slow speed when handwriting.

To mitigate this, I'm wondering if it would be a good idea to record classes in my first year of studies and come back to the recordings while I review them after classes.

My question is this: at Queen's Law, do most professors allow students to record their lectures?

Thanks in advance for responding!

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Not a Queen's Law student, but my response is applicable nonetheless.

I, too, in undergrad found that having a computer in class was distracting. Often, I would be browsing the internet rather than paying attention to what the professor was saying. 

However, I have found this not to be the case in law school. This is specifically due to the fact that you will not have enough time to browse the internet, or do similar things, while in class. Even diverting your attention for seconds can, at times, make you miss out on vital information. 

So, what I'm trying to say is that you likely will not get distracted by having your computer in class while in law school. 

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48 minutes ago, plantandsculpture said:

Hi all,

I'm excited to say that I'll most likely be attending Queen's Law starting this fall.

I haven't been in school for about three years now, so I'm trying to give myself a good adjustment period to get used to the classroom setting.

When it comes to note taking, I'm leaning more towards handwriting them, because I have felt in my university years that having a computer in class distracts me a lot.

That said, I'm also a little worried about not being able to retain everything due to the inherent slow speed when handwriting.

To mitigate this, I'm wondering if it would be a good idea to record classes in my first year of studies and come back to the recordings while I review them after classes.

My question is this: at Queen's Law, do most professors allow students to record their lectures?

Thanks in advance for responding!

Of the profs I've had in 1L, only one provides recordings. The exception being when a prof has rescheduled a class and some students may have a conflict outside of school. I remember two profs explicitly denying requests to record their lectures in September. Also, multiple profs don't allow computers in class unless you require an accommodation. Please don't let this worry you because taking notes in class is actually quite manageable, even with slow handwriting! What works for most people is bringing notes on the readings to class where you can add anything or highlight important stuff you already have written. It's very rare that you'll be taking any extensive notes in class since classes are generally discussion based anyways.

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2 hours ago, Honks202 said:

-snip-

Also, multiple profs don't allow computers in class unless you require an accommodation.

-snip-

Is it common for professors to not allow students to work off of computers in class? 

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45 minutes ago, PlayALawyerOnTV said:

Is it common for professors to not allow students to work off of computers in class? 

Over half my profs for in-person classes didn't allow computers. Other sections had different profs so I'm not sure exactly how common it is.

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15 hours ago, PlayALawyerOnTV said:

Is it common for professors to not allow students to work off of computers in class? 

No, it isn't common. In fact, in all the years here on ls.ca, I can't recall anyone ever posting that experience.

@Honks202, how many in-person classes did you have this year and how many didn't allow laptops in class? 

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Pro tip: sit in the front. Not only will it make focusing easier but you also probably won't want to browse the web when everyone behind you can see. 

I don't go to Queen's but most of my profs mentioned at the beginning of the year that recording is not permitted. I imagine that's common across law schools. Even if it were allowed I think recording could do more harm than good for you. There were times I showed up to class and was so tired or not in the mood that if I'd recorded the lecture I'd have zoned out completely. This just creates more work for you in the future, and will probably lead to you taking too many notes tbh. Being able to pause a lecture is a curse.

Edited by LawBlaw2019
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56 minutes ago, erinl2 said:

No, it isn't common. In fact, in all the years here on ls.ca, I can't recall anyone ever posting that experience.

@Honks202, how many in-person classes did you have this year and how many didn't allow laptops in class? 

3 out of 4.

I just spoke to a friend in another section and they had no laptop restrictions (one prof asked students not to use laptops but didn't enforce it)... so luck of the draw?

Edited by Honks202
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Graduated QL in 2030. At that time there were 3 profs who had laptop bans. So looks like Honks got those ones. 
 

OP, I also hand wrote notes and found that to be very manageable. Queens has full year courses for the most part so I felt the pacing of the material to be quite feasible to keep up with even when handwriting. I did not have the experience of another poster that law school moves too fast to get distracted online. Basically as long as the temptation of the internet was there, I was browsing. So I had to remove that. 
 

That said, when it came time to make outlines, it took longer, because I wasn’t able to cut and paste from my class notes. After first term, I switched to taking reading notes on my computer, then printing and doing handwritten in class. Best of both worlds. 

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12 minutes ago, 3rdGenLawStudent said:

That said, when it came time to make outlines, it took longer, because I wasn’t able to cut and paste from my class notes. After first term, I switched to taking reading notes on my computer, then printing and doing handwritten in class. Best of both worlds. 

Highly recommend this approach. Even with the laptop option, I prefer keeping it in my bag and writing over printed notes.

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Thanks all! It sounds like a good mix of computer-typed notes (esp. for reading notes) + handwritten notes will be the way to go. In any case, I'm sure that in the first few weeks/months, it'll take a lot of trial and error on whatever I do to adjust to studying in law school.

All this to say, I'm super excited to begin studying finally. Thanks again for all the valuable advice. This forum has provided helpful in many aspects especially for someone like me who really doesn't have anyone else to ask law school related questions to.

I look forward to more note taking-related suggestions if there are any!

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6 minutes ago, plantandsculpture said:

Thanks all! It sounds like a good mix of computer-typed notes (esp. for reading notes) + handwritten notes will be the way to go. In any case, I'm sure that in the first few weeks/months, it'll take a lot of trial and error on whatever I do to adjust to studying in law school.

All this to say, I'm super excited to begin studying finally. Thanks again for all the valuable advice. This forum has provided helpful in many aspects especially for someone like me who really doesn't have anyone else to ask law school related questions to.

I look forward to more note taking-related suggestions if there are any!

Also go to Queens and I also had many profs who did not allow computers in class (I am likely in the same section as the individual above). However, now that we are online we can do what we would like.

My advice, definitely do your reading notes on your computer. You'll waste too much time otherwise.

For class notes, it depends on the professor. Certain professors lecture more than others and in those classes you will have difficulty writing out all your notes by hand. However, other classes are more discussion based and do not require a lot of note taking.

However, as you said, trial and error is definitely required.

Edited by souflee
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Yes, trial and error is inevitable. That’s actually why I love the QL full year 1L format- gives you a chance to try things first term, when exams are midterms and worth very little, so that you can course correct for second term when the marks matter!

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I started off taking handwritten notes, as I've done it throughout my undergrad/postgrad. I will say that taking notes on a laptop is vital because law is different than many other fields (esp. the arts).

1. You will need to take notes on a lot of cases, and there is specific wording all the time that you may not have time to write down. If you only take handwritten notes, you will find yourself writing more than 4 pages of notes per lecture - good luck organizing them all. By the time midterms came around in my first sem, I had over 100 pages of notes and making them into outlines was a nightmare.

2. Almost every class has participation marks. There is no way you're going to be able to answer consistently fast enough (everyone's gonna have their hands up by then) if you're not able to CTRL+F notes from the previous week. 

3. Mentioned this already but you need to make outlines - absolutely critical for exams. You're going to waste a lot of time typing your handwritten notes into word files. Also, when you have over 100 pages of notes you tend to misplace a page,  which can really ruin the flow of your notes. Now there are some programs you can use to turn notes into word files, but good luck writing legibly enough for the program to read when you're writing so fast. 

Now maybe you've watched the paper chase and think, "hey if harvard students from the 70s can take handwritten notes so can I". Well, that was when there was a level playing field where everyone took handwritten notes. Now, things have changed and if you dont believe me, you can give it a try. 

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