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Faculty Reps Wrap

By Tina Zhou and Mark Watts, Undergrad Law Faculty Student Reps

Have you ever had any qualms about your education at Law School? Any feedback about Law School processes? Or any brilliant ideas to make Law School more rewarding?

No worries, there’s an attentive hotline for you!

THE FACULTY STUDENT REPS!

The Faculty student reps are your voice on the Law Faculty Board, which governs the UNSW Law School. We’re elected undergrad, postgrad and JD students who participate in the various committees that report to the Board, including committees associated with coursework, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues, and our relationships with overseas law schools.

For example, we have expressed student views on proposed assessment schedules for new elective courses in the Qualifying Degrees Committee, referred on difficulties surrounding enrolment and special consideration and have aired JD student concerns about the need for late night study space in and around the Law Building and the size of JD classes!

If your reaction is:

No worries!

This semester, we are having ‘consultation’ times in the Lawbry! Flick us an email with any queries and we’ll organise a time to meet. Otherwise George Fermanis will be in the Lawbry Monday 5-6pm and Thursday 1-2pm.

Last semester, these periods were a useful resource for students and we have been able to refer student feedback to the Faculty or students to the correct contact point to allow them to have their problems solved. We enjoyed listening to your views on the way in which the Law School operates and are looking forward to meeting more of you this semester!

If coming to a consultation time next semester is not practicable, feel free to shoot us an email! We also have a survey form that you can fill in here. Responses can be made anonymously, and may be as detailed as you wish.  Our email addresses with the relevant committees we are in are available on our FB page, UNSW Law Student Representatives, and on the Faculty and Law Society websites!

So have you heard the news?

Use of Computers in Exams

An interesting issue that was raised at the last Faculty Board meeting was the introduction of computer-based exams. The Board considered whether it was a good idea to introduce a trial for students in a limited number of elective subjects to choose to type their exam answers, rather than handwrite them.

In the States, the majority of law schools conduct their exams on laptops. Students download exam software onto either their own laptop or a laptop loaned to them by the University. This program blocks out the internet, and allows students to type out their exam answers in the exam rooms. Exam answers are then uploaded to a cloud based storage facility.

The use of computers in exams has a number of benefits. It brings the experience of exams closer to the real experience of modern students and the legal profession. It could lead to the introduction of word-limited exams; an initiative which may smooth out any inequalities associated with differences in typing or writing speeds. It allows students to more readily edit their answers during the exam period. It also makes it much easier for tutors to mark exams, and for them to be checked for plagiarism.

Interestingly, a study from the University of Edinburgh found that, in exams in which students had the option of either typing or handwriting their answers, there was little variation between the marks given to typed answers and handwritten answers.

If your reaction was quite eloquently this, complete with the eye roll:

We understand! There are a number of logistical difficulties surrounding the layout of exam rooms, access to power points during exams, access to eBooks during open book exams, and the unreliability of cheaper laptops.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the issue.

Best of luck for all your semester two endeavours,

Tina Zhou and Mark Watts

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