For the past four years I’ve taught the session on Knowledge Management tools for Law Students in an Advanced Legal Research a Writing class. In an effort to help the students get more out of the session, this year I “flipped” the class. Instead of lecturing and demonstrating software for 80 minutes, the students watched the short instructional videos I prepared and installed software on their laptops in preparation for the class. This took them between 40 and 60 minutes depending on their technical ability.
Then in a shortened 40 minute class, I put the students together in groups of 2 or 3 and had them work on some exercises. This allowed them to practice using the using the tools they learned about in situations approximating how they’d be used in legal research.
The feedback from the students on the new class format was very positive. 83% of students preferred the blended class style to a traditional lecture, and 75% said that they felt more confident using the tools covered in class than they would have with a traditional lecture. At the end of both classes, most of the students stayed behind after the class was dismissed to continue playing with the new software tools.
Below, exercises A to H are to be completed before the class. The in class exercises are at the bottom. These materials are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License to encourage their use and re-use. In plain english this means that anyone can modify the materials, as long as they share the modifications back to me, and the materials can be used for commercial purposes.
We’re going to look at 7 different tools that will help you develop a more efficient research work flow. It is not expected that you’ll use all the tools, but most students find that they’d have a hard time living without two or three of them once they see how the tools make their research lives easier.
- The tools we’ll look at are:
- Desktop Search,
- Zotero for citation management,
- Evernote for saving general notes, capturing web pages and pictures for future reference,
- JotNot Pro to take the place of a photocopier,
- Google Drive for collaborative document editing,
- Google+ Hangouts for online meetings and document co-editing, and lastly
- backup options so that your digital life is safe.
Before you move on, please make sure that you have a Gmail account, and have signed up for Google+, as you’ll need access to a Google account for the exercises in this module (and in the next class). If you don’t have an account, you can sign up here:
B. Desktop Search
- Using your desktop search tool, see if you can find a paper you wrote last year.
- Also using your desktop search find all the emails you’ve received from a friend. How many were there? (if you don’t see any emails in your desktop search you’ll need to add your webmail account to your desktop email program).