Tips & Tricks for Online School
Courtesy of your awesome 2L Reps!
By LAUREN GOWLER and DION CHEUNG
Below is a list of our top tips-and-tricks for navigating online law school!
(1) Have a document with all your Zoom links.
Instead of scrambling to find that Zoom link the minute before class — assemble a document with all your important, recurring Zoom links. Alternatively include the Zoom link at the top of your class note-taking document, or just include it on your digital calendar.
(2) Schedule your pre-recorded lectures.
Pre-recorded lectures are great. You can listen to them sitting in your pajamas drinking coffee in bed, or on the morning commute. You can listen to them when it works best for you. However…it’s also really easy to forget about them. Our tip: carve out a designated time every week to get through that three hour podcast. Schedule it just as you would a normal lecture, and establish a routine. For those extra long, hard-to-get-through lectures — break up the listening into smaller chunks of time to better digest the information.
(3) Google Documents are perfect for Zoom Breakout Rooms and Group Projects!
Our classmates call us the “Google Doc Queens”. We just absolutely love them. With Google Docs, you can create and edit text documents right in your web browser — no special software required. Even better, multiple people can work on them at the same time, making it the perfect tool for remote group projects. You can see people’s changes as they make them, and every change is saved automatically — so, no worries about losing your group’s work once the Zoom breakout room is closed. Google Docs are a great way for everyone to participate, comment and share their ideas. Our favourite features: being able to add in comments and talk with group members in the “live chat” feature.
(4) Take Advantage of Online Study Resources!
While it’s scary to think about, December exams are slowly creeping closer. To shake off those nerves, check out a few of these online resources to supplement your studying routine. First stop, the MLSA’s Outline Bank. This is an extraordinary resource. It offers outlines and notes from past students for all first and upper-year classes at Robson. While it won’t replace actually creating your own outline — it offers an invaluable insight into how other students organized their notes, and allows you to cross-reference with your own notes to make sure you aren’t forgetting anything. Rely on the hard work of past law students to give you a leg-up this exam season. Second stop, Online Cue Cards. There are a variety of different apps that you can use for online cue cards — Quizlet, Brainscape, or Tinycards are popular options. Cue cards are great for keeping track of terms, and learning cases. Having cue cards on your phone means that you can study from anywhere whenever you have a spare moment.
(5) Make or Join a Study Group!
Law is a collaborative field so having a study group is a great way to bounce ideas off your classmates and see things from different perspectives. Even though classes are remote, perhaps try to organize your study group in-person! (Of course, abiding by Covid Health Regulations). Or take advantage of the U of M’s access to unlimited Zoom, and schedule a Zoom study session!
(6) Helpful Online School Accessories.
If you’re looking for that special something to take your online school set-up to the next level — look no further! (1) Lighting is critical. For class or networking events, you may want to consider picking up a small adjustable circle light. You can clip it onto the top of your laptop or set it on your desk to perfectly (and evenly) light that gorgeous face. (2) Bad wifi is the bane of every law student’s existence. For those especially bad days, you may want to consider connecting your computer directly into your modem using an Ethernet Cable. This offers a more reliable, often faster internet connection. (3) Blue-Light Blocking Glasses help protect your eyes from blue light since you’ll likely be staring at your laptop for hours and hours. (4) Although not necessary, an extra computer monitor can be beneficial when you’re juggling your Zoom lectures, outlines, class notes, and online shopping tabs (just kidding, your professor has your undivided attention… right?). (5) Finally, perhaps the most fun/quirky — an Under-desk bike! This is a great way to keep your body moving when you’re stuck at your desk for long periods of time.
(7) Be sure to take a break from your screen!
Online law school can be all-consuming and mentally/physically draining. While we know your to-do list is a mile long, it’s really important that you take a break. Get outside, play a sport, go out for coffee, read something other than a textbook. Do something that makes you feel good!
Lauren & Dion
(Your 2L Reps)