Paul L. Caron
Dean



Sunday, September 20, 2020

Reynolds: A Simple 3-Camera TV Studio Classroom For Lively Online Teaching

Glenn Reynolds (Tennessee), Tired of Looking Gray and Boring Online? A Simple 3-Camera TV Studio Classroom For Lively Online Teaching:

Tired of the dreary webcam-look in my online classroom, I created a fairly simple and reasonably inexpensive three-camera studio using real video cameras for online teaching. This paper outlines how it was done, and provides suggestions for simpler, cheaper alternatives that are still far superior to traditional webcam approaches.

Reynolds 1

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September 20, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

2020 IFA International Tax Student Writing Competition (Sept. 30 Deadline)

IFA Logo (2015)The deadline in the International Fiscal Association's 2020 International Tax Student Writing Competition is September 30:

2020 IFA International Tax Student Writing Competition:
Subject: Any topic relating to U.S. taxation of income from international activities, including taxation under U.S. tax treaties.
Open to: All students during the 2019-20 academic year (including independent study and summer 2020 school courses) pursuing a graduate degree (J.D., L.L.M., S.J.D., M.S.T., MTA, Masters of Taxation, or similar program). Any appropriate papers written in fall 2019 or spring and summer 2020.
Publication: The winning author will be entitled to publish his/her article in the Tax Management International Journal, which is produced by Bloomberg BNA.
Submission DeadlineSeptember 30, 2020.
Prize:  $2,000 cash, plus expenses-paid invitation to the IFA USA Branch Annual Meeting in Chicago on April 22-23, 2021.

Here are the recent winners:

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September 15, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

ABA Tax Section Releases 20th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge Problem

The ABA Tax Section has released the J.D. Problem (rules; entry form) and LL.M. Problem (rules; entry form) for the 20th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge (infographic):

LSTCAn alternative to traditional moot court competitions, the Law Student Tax Challenge (LSTC) is organized by the Section’s Young Lawyers Form. The LSTC asks two-person teams of students to solve a complex business problem that might arise in everyday tax practice. Teams are initially evaluated on two criteria: a memorandum to a senior partner and a letter to a client explaining the result. Based on the written work product, six teams from the J.D. Division and four teams from the LL.M. Division receive a free trip to the Section’s Midyear Meeting, where each team presents its submission before a panel of judges consisting of the country’s top tax practitioners and government officials, including tax court judges. The competition is a great way for law students to showcase their knowledge in a real-world setting and gain valuable exposure to the tax law community.

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September 9, 2020 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Laughter, Learning And Well-Being In The Law School Classroom

Diana Simon (Arizona), Laughing Your Way to Academic Success: Can Laughter Impact Learning and Well-Being in the Law School Classroom and are there Cross-Cultural Differences?:

Unfortunately, the truth is that law students are unhappy and can suffer from anxiety and depression at unusually high rates. Is there anything we, as professors, can do to help with that? While what transpires in the classroom is only a small piece of the puzzle that forms a student’s psychological well-being, the answer is we can do our part in the classroom to not only relieve student anxiety but improve learning in the process.

After briefly examining the findings about the mental health of law students, this article reviews: (1) research on whether humor in the classroom can improve learning; (2) research on whether humor in the classroom can decrease student anxiety; (3) research on whether there are gender differences associated with the use of humor; and (4) research on whether there are cross-cultural differences in the perception and effectiveness of humor with a special focus on China. ...

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August 25, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Teaching Law Online: A Guide For Faculty

Nina A. Kohn (Syracuse), Teaching Law Online: A Guide for Faculty, 69 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2020):

As law school classes move online, it is imperative that law faculty understand not only how to teach online, but how to teach well online. This article therefore is designed to help law faculty do their best teaching online. It walks faculty through key choices they must make when designing online courses, and concrete ways that they can prepare themselves and their students to succeed. The article explains why live online teaching should be the default option for most faculty, but also shows how faculty can enhance student learning by incorporating asynchronous lessons into their online classes. It then shows how faculty can set up their virtual teaching space and employ diverse teaching techniques to foster an engaging and rigorous online learning environment. The article concludes by discussing how the move to online education in response to COVID-19 could improve the overall quality of law school teaching.

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August 6, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Common Mistakes In Online Teaching

Margaret Ryznar (Indiana-Indianapolis), Common Mistakes in Online Teaching:

This article explains five common mistakes in online teaching and how to fix them. To do so, this article draws on student comments coming from mid-semester surveys in an Online Trusts & Estates course, as well as focus groups on online law courses.

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August 5, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Curricular Change In Legal Education: Number Of Tax Faculty Is Down 46% Since 1973

William J. Carney (Emory), Curricular Change in Legal Education:

This article surveys basic changes in legal education from 1973 to 2017-2018, using a comparison of the sizes of the student body with the professoriate, and changes in the allocation of faculty resources over this period.

The paper documents law school enrollments over this period. In summary, student enrollments have been on a roller coaster, and now have declined to 1973 levels after a 40% increase. At the same time, faculty numbers have increased by 70%. While this has resulted in more favorable faculty-student ratios, bar passage rates nationally have declined from 82% to 72%. This is a classic picture of a failing industry, with high fixed costs due to tenure and cyclical revenues, forced to raise tuition to support what has become a bloated faculty. It also raises questions of whether declining bar passage rates are caused by the declining academic credentials of law school applicants, or modern failures in teaching.

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July 23, 2020 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

What Works In Online Teaching

Margaret Ryznar (Indiana-Indianapolis), What Works in Online Teaching, 64 St. Louis U. L.J. ___ (2021):

T Zoom Meetinghis Article offers lessons from an empirical study of an Online Trusts & Estates course. More than 280 law students were surveyed over three semesters on what works well for them and what does not in this online course. Their top three answers in each category serve as guidance for faculty creating online courses. Specifically, students found that flexibility, course powerpoints, and video lectures worked well for them. Meanwhile, they wanted open modules and more assessments. These lessons informed future versions of this online course and aim to help other faculty creating online courses.

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May 13, 2020 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

2020 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition

Tannenwald (2013)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and American College of Tax Counsel are sponsoring the 2020 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition:

Named for the late Tax Court Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr., and designed to perpetuate his dedication to legal scholarship of the highest quality, the Tannenwald Writing Competition is open to all full- or part-time law school students, undergraduate or graduate. Papers on any federal or state tax-related topic may be submitted in accordance with the Competition Rules.

Prizes:

  • 1st Place:  $5,000
  • 2nd Place: $2,500
  • 3rd Place:  $1,500

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April 28, 2020 in Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 13, 2020

Lawsky Presents Teaching Algorithms And Algorithms For Teaching Online At Florida

Sarah Lawsky (Northwestern) presented Teaching Algorithms and Algorithms for Teaching online at Florida as part of its Tax Colloquium Series sponsored by the Marshall M. Criser Distinguished Lecture Series:

Lawsky (2017)This article focuses on what it calls the “algorithm method,” a common method used to teach tax classes that presents students with unambiguous problems that guide students through complex statutes and regulations. The article describes and situates within current pedagogies a novel teaching tool: a website that randomly generates tax problems with objectively correct answers; multiple choice answers that reflect common errors that students make; and explanations for each answer that either respond to the underlying error or give a full explanation of the correct answer. The article explains the purpose and use of the website, highlights advantages of and potential issues with the website, and proposes approaches to make using the website, and indeed the algorithm method, more effective.

April 13, 2020 in Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Tax Workshops, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Blackman: Law Professors Quietly Oppose Pass/Fail Grading

Following up on Monday's posts:

Josh Blackman (South Texas), Law Professors Quietly Agree With My Post on Pass/Fail Grading:

Blackman (2020)"I was just steamrolled by my faculty on this — almost everyone but me joined the copy HARVARD-STANFORD train."

Yesterday, I published a lengthy post about grading for the Spring 2020 semester. I knew the post would be unpopular in certain quarters. First, many professors have long opposed grading on a curve; I criticize a deeply-held position. Second, many students will oppose my position. The bulk of the class falls along the middle of the curve. They would stand to benefit from a pass/fail grading system. Students at either tail-end would be harmed from a pass/fail mandate. Third, some people may view my position as insufficiently compassionate. Fair enough. Empathy was never my strong suit.

But I knew that my post would resonate in other quarters. There are some professors who vigorously oppose the pass/fail movement. They are less likely to publicly state their views for the three reasons I mention above, and others: they do not wish to alienate their colleagues. But they privately messaged me.

One professor wrote, "Just saw your article on law school credit/no credit grading and wanted to let you know that you nailed it. I was just steamrolled by my faculty on this — almost everyone but me joined the copy HARVARD-STANFORD train." Another wrote, "Great stuff. We are trying to stick to our guns, but it is getting increasingly hard." A third wrote, "The University informed our law school that we could not have a pass/fail option. We can only do all standard grading or all pass/fail. Seems pretty stupid to force us into that choice, but there we are." And so on.

I am not optimistic my position will prevail at law schools nationwide. But I hope my post gave some voice to professors who can respectfully dissent.

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March 25, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, March 23, 2020

Free Online Content: Business Taxation/Subchapter K

CoronavirusIf you are looking for “plug and play” online content for your business taxation or partnership taxation course, Professor Cass Brewer, Georgia State University College of Law, is offering numerous videos that he created for his fall 2019 online Partnership & LLC Taxation course. See the table below for details. Brewer warns, “Caveat emptor: The videos are far from perfect because they were created for the first iteration of my online Partnership & LLC Taxation course. Some of the videos have technical glitches, and the closed captions for many of the videos contain typos and other errors. In a pinch, however, you may find the videos useful to finish out the semester.”

Quick Links to Online Materials Regarding Subchapter K (Partnership & LLC Taxation):

Topic

IRC Sections

Video Link

Definition of a Partnership and Choice of Entity

IRC §§ 761(a); 7701(a)(3); skim IRC § 199A

Video 1: Definition of Tax Partnership

Video 2: Types of State-Law Business Organizations

Video 3: Four Federal Income Tax Regimes

Video 4: Classification (a/k/a “Check-the-Box”) Rules

Video 5: Tax Hieroglyphics

Partnership Formation: Basics

IRC §§ 704(c)(1)(A) & (c)(3), 705(a), 721, 722, 723, 731(a)(1), 733

IRC §§ 1245(b)(3), 1223(1) & (2)

Video 1: Introduction

Video 2: AB, LLC Formation

Video 3: Formation/Conversion

Video 4: Formation/Conversion

Video 5: Formation/Conversion

Partnership Formation: Advanced (Special Rules, Liabilities, and Gain Recognized)

IRC §§ 704(c)(1)(A) & (c)(3), 724

IRC §§ 731(a)(1), 752(a)-(c)

Video 1: IRC §§ 704(c) and 724

Video 2: IRC §§ 704(c) and 724 Illustrated

Video 3: Formation and Liabilities Part One

Video 4: Formation and Liabilities Part Two

Video 5: Formation (Gain Recognized)

Partnership Operations: Taxable Years, Methods of Accounting, Allocations, Outside Basis Adjustments, Outside Basis Loss Limitation

IRC §§ 446(a)-(c), 701, 702(a)-(b), 703, 704(a) & (d)

IRC §§ 705(a)(1)-(2), 706(a)-(b)(1)(B)

Skim IRC §§ 448(a)-(c), 6031(a)-(b)

Video 1: Taxable Years and Methods of Accounting

Video 2: Allocations of Tax Items

Video 3: Outside Basis Adjustments and Loss Limitation

Substantial Economic Effect

IRC § 704(a) & (b)

Video 1: Introduction

Video 2: Analysis of Orrisch

Issuing Partnership Interests in Exchange for Services

IRC §§ 83(a)-(c), (h); 721; 1061

Video 1: Introduction

Video 2: Capital v. Profits Interests

Video 3: IRC § 1061 (“Carried Interests)


Built-In Gain (Loss), Revaluations, Tax/Book Depreciation (Traditional Method), and Anti-Character Conversion Rules

IRC § 704(c)(1)(A) & (3)

IRC § 704(b)

IRC § 724(a)-(c)

Video 1: Introduction

Video 2: Book/Tax Gain (Loss) Allocations

Video 3: Revaluations

Video 4: Reverse 704(c) Allocations

Video 5: Anti-Character Conversion (§ 724)

Partnership Liabilities: Recourse v. Nonrecourse

IRC §§ 704(c)(1)(A) & (3); 752(a)-(c)

Video 1: Recourse v. Nonrecourse Debt

Video 2: Nonrecourse Deductions

Video 3: Liability Sharing Rules of IRC 752

Video 4: Recap

Transfers of Interests

IRC §§ 705(a); 706(c); 741; 751(a), (c), (d), (f); 752(d)

Video 1: In General

Video 2: Seller’s Perspective

Video 3: Buyer’s Perspective

Current and Liquidating Distributions of Cash

IRC §§ 731-735

Video: In General

 

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March 23, 2020 in Coronavirus, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Law Teaching In The Age Of Coronavirus

CoronavirusSeth Oranburg (Duquesne), Josh Blackman (South Texas), Howard Wasserman (Florida International), and Diane Klein (La Verne) offer their thoughts on online law school teaching:

Seth Oranburg (Duquesne), Distance Education in the Time of Coronavirus: Quick and Easy Strategies for Professors:

A worldwide pandemic is forcing schools to close their doors. Yet the need to teach students remains. How can faculty — especially those who are not trained in technology-mediated teaching — maintain educational continuity? This Essay provides some suggestions and relatively quick and easy strategies for distance education in this time of coronavirus. While it is written from the perspective of teaching law school, it can be applied to teaching other humanities such as philosophy, literature, religion, political theory, and other subjects that do not easily lend themselves to charts, graphs, figures, and diagrams. This Essay includes an introductory technology section for those techno-phobic faculty who are now being required to teach online, and it concludes with five straightforward steps to start teaching online quickly.

Table of Contents
I.   Introduction ........................................................ 3
II.  Prepping: Tools for Distance Educators ............. 5
     A. Computer ....................................................... 5
     B. Microphone..................................................... 7
     C. Webcam ........................................................ 8
     D. Software......................................................... 9
         1. Widows....................................................... 9
         2. MacOS ....................................................... 9
         3. Other Software...........................................10
III. Creating Audio-Video Content .......................... 11
     A. Creating a Voice-Over-PowerPoint Video..... 12
          1. Creating the Slides....................................14
          2. Scripting the Voice Over............................14
          3. Recording/Exporting the Presentation.......14
     B. Creating a “Talking Head” Video................... 16
     C. Repurposing Existing Video ......................... 18
     D. Synchronous “Zoom” Meetings..................... 19
IV. Deploying Online Content ................................. 20
     A. Organizing Content........................................ 20
     B. Uploading versus Linking Videos .................. 21
     C. Juxtaposing Learning Activities ..................... 22
         1. Tests ...........................................................22
         2. Essays.........................................................23
         3. Journal Entries ............................................23
         4. Discussion Boards.......................................25
V. Conclusions: 5 Steps to Online Teaching ........... 26

Seth Oranburg (Duquesne), More on Online Teaching:

Law school is going online, suddenly and quickly. Are you ready? Most of us are not – but here are some suggestions that will make teaching online simpler.

First you need to understand your options. There are two main ways to go online: synchronously and asynchronously. What’s the difference and which should you pick? ...

What Is It ...
Pro ...
Con ...
Tips and Tricks ...
Bottom Line ...
Summary
Whether you go with a synchronous or an asynchronous format depends in large part on your goals: are you trying to get by in a crisis, or is this an opportunity to step up your teaching skills and create valuable new content for the future?

In general, the synchronous approach is lower risk and lower reward. It’s essentially an inferior substitute for meeting in person, but it will get the job done, and it’s not that hard to do well enough. If your goal is to get through this coronavirus kerfuffle, you should probably just set up a virtual classroom and keep going through the term’s material.

The asynchronous approach, on the other hand, is a chance to turn lemons into lemonade, in the sense that the really good online learning environment can substantially improve student learning. If you want to look at this pandemic as an opportunity to step up your teaching skills, go for it! Be cautioned, however, that it’s a lot of work to do it right, and distance education is ineffective when done wrong.

I hope this short post helps you decide how to move forward with distance education in this time of coronavirus. If you would like to take a deeper dive into these concepts, please check out my article on SSRN.

Josh Blackman (South Texas), Thoughts and Tips on Teaching with Zoom:

Wednesday evening, the South Texas College of Law Houston announced that it would immediately halt all in-person classes. We had less than 24-hours to prepare for distance learning. This afternoon, I taught my first class using Zoom. This post will offer some thoughts and tips on the process.

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March 15, 2020 in Coronavirus, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Winners Of The 19th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge

ABA Tax Section, Winners of the 19th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge:

J.D. Division

ABA JD1st Place:
Amanda Krugler and Scott Sullivan [right, with ABA Tax Section Chair Thomas Callahan] [more here]
University of Kentucky College of Law
Coach:  Jennifer Bird-Pollan

2nd Place (Tie):
Matthew Foran and Harry Gao
Seton Hall Law School
Brian Krastev and Matthew Marcellino
Syracuse University College of Law

Best Written Submission:
Ryan Hartnett and Mitchell Renfrew
Western New England University School of Law

Semi-Finalists:
Anita Alanko and Jennifer Galstad
Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law

Mark Watterson and Taylor Monroe
UNT Dallas College of Law

Ryan Hartnett and Mitchell Renfrew
Western New England University School of Law

LL.M. Division

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March 12, 2020 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 5, 2020

2020 FBA Tax Law Student Writing Competition Winner

The Federal Bar Association Section on Taxation has announced the winner of its 2020 Donald C. Alexander Tax Law Writing CompetitionElizabeth Burlington (Frost & Associates, Annapolis, MD), The Letter and the Spirit: the §501(c)(3) Religious Exemption and American Churches:

BurlingtonThis paper analyzes the tax treatment of churches in America from the inception of the §501(c)(3) exemption through the present. While churches enjoy tax-exempt status under the umbrella of the §501(c)(3) charitable designation, they also enjoy more preferential treatment than other similarly classified organizations. Church tax policy is unusual for several reasons: the lack of a clear guidance as to what constitutes a “church,” the requirements necessary to support an examination of the church’s tax-exempt status, and the lack of any specific or substantive criteria to “prove” an organization church and therefore entitled to the exemption.

This unusual policy is further muddied by the fluid and ineffable nature of religion and churches themselves, as well as by the actions of some more enterprising and high-profile individuals over the past few decades. The unique—and sometimes confusing—state of the church-specific tax laws leave the door open for abuse. This analysis illustrates the ways by which these issues can be addressed without eliminating the §501(c)(3) exemption for churches.

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March 5, 2020 in Tax, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 28, 2020

2019 IFA International Tax Student Writing Award; Call For Entrants In 2020 Competition

IFA

The winner of the International Fiscal Association's 2019 International Tax Student Writing Competition is David Rubin (Virginia), EB OR NOT EB? That is the Question Treasury Must Answer After Brexit, 49 BNA Tax Mgmt. Int’l J. 1 (2020).
Faculty Sponsor: Ruth Mason

The United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union could have a significant effect on international and U.K. domestic taxation. Brexit will likely impact aspects of the United Kingdom's value added tax and withholding tax regimes, customs and excise taxes, State Aid determinations, and double tax treaties. This article discusses one discrete issue that has not yet been decided by the U.S. Treasury and that could have significant consequences for entities currently claiming the benefit of U.S. tax treaties: whether the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union means that U.K. shareholders will no longer be considered “equivalent beneficiaries” for purposes of the derivative benefits test in the limitation on benefits provision in U.S. tax treaties.

This article evaluates the arguments for and against extending equivalent beneficiary status to U.K. residents post-Brexit, considers historical analogs that might provide insight on the question, and discusses Treasury's options for extending equivalent beneficiary status in light of the possibility that some approaches could create issues with its treaty partners or the U.S. Senate.

2020 IFA International Tax Student Writing Competition
Subject: Any topic relating to U.S. taxation of income from international activities, including taxation under U.S. tax treaties.
Open to: All students during the 2019-20 academic year (including independent study and summer 2018 school courses) pursuing a graduate degree (J.D., L.L.M., S.J.D., M.S.T., MTA, Masters of Taxation, or similar program). Any appropriate papers written in fall 2019 or spring and summer 2020.
Submission Deadline:  September 30, 2020.
Prize:  $2,000 cash, plus expenses-paid invitation to the IFA USA Branch Annual Meeting in Chicago on April 22-23, 2021.

Here are the recent winners:

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February 28, 2020 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, January 16, 2020

2020 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition

Tannenwald (2013)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and American College of Tax Counsel are sponsoring the 2020 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition:

Named for the late Tax Court Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr., and designed to perpetuate his dedication to legal scholarship of the highest quality, the Tannenwald Writing Competition is open to all full- or part-time law school students, undergraduate or graduate. Papers on any federal or state tax-related topic may be submitted in accordance with the Competition Rules.

Prizes:

  • 1st Place:  $5,000
  • 2nd Place: $2,500
  • 3rd Place:  $1,500

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January 16, 2020 in Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

2019 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition Winners

Tannenwald (2016)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship has announced the winners of the  2019 tax writing competition:

First Prize ($5,000):
Christine Davis (Florida), More Anti-Simplification: PTI and GILTI After the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
Faculty Sponsor:  Mindy Herzfeld

Second Prize ($2,000):
Alexandra Ferrera (NYU), Incentivizing the Care of Adult Family Members Through a Two-Part Tax Credit
Faculty Sponsor:  Lily Batchelder

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December 10, 2019 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 6, 2019

Lawsky's Free Income Tax Problem Generator

Sarah Lawksy (Northwestern) has created a great free website that generates multiple-choice federal individual income tax practice problems in a variety of subject areas.  From the FAQ page:

Lawsky (2017)Q: What does this website do?
A: It generates multiple-choice federal individual income tax practice problems. The problems are a random selection of facts, names, and randomly (but thoughtfully) generated numbers about a range of basic tax topics. You can pick a particular topic, or you can have the website to pick both a topic and problem at random.

Q: Are the answers also random?
A: Mostly, no. The multiple-choice answers are based on mistakes people commonly make (though one random answer is usually thrown in there).

Q: What happens once I pick an answer?
A: If you pick a wrong answer, the website usually provides a substantive hint about what you did wrong. A right answer usually returns a full explanation. In many of the explanations of answers both right and wrong, there is a link to the relevant code section.

Q: Do the questions repeat?
A: Eventually--there are not an infinite number of problems--but there are a lot of different problems. Setting aside the numbers' changing, which doesn't necessarily provide conceptually different questions, different types of problems toggle a bunch of different facts and relationships between the numbers, all of which change the problem conceptually. For example, for like-kind exchanges, there are five different facts than can toggle (asset is personal use or business use, whether there is debt relief and whom that debt relief favors (someone who provides boot or not), etc.) and four different questions. For installment sales there are even more toggles; for unrestricted property as compensation, many fewer.

Q: What is this for?
A: Whatever you want. A professor can use to generate problems for teaching or to give students direct access to it; a student can use it to practice for tax class--whatever works for you. The website is free and is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 license, which means, roughly, that you can share this or use it for any purpose, just so long as you give appropriate credit, distribute the material so other people can use it under the same terms, and don't create any additional restrictions.

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December 6, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Tax Prof Mildred Robinson, UVA's First Black Female Faculty Member, To Retire

Robinson

Professor Mildred Robinson Set To Retire:

Professor Mildred Robinson, a groundbreaking tax law instructor whose scholarship and community service have emphasized equity, will teach her last class at the University of Virginia School of Law at the end of this semester. She will retire this spring after almost 35 years on the faculty.

Robinson was UVA Law’s first African American female tenured professor. She was hired with tenure in 1985 from Florida State University.

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December 5, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Prof Moves, Tax Profs, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

2L In Harvard Tax Clinic Argues Case In U.S. Court Of Appeals For The 7th Circuit

Harvard Law Today, Clinic Stories: Prepping for the U.S. Court of Appeals:

HarvardThrough Harvard Law School’s Federal Tax Clinic, students have the unique opportunity represent low-income taxpayers in disputes with the IRS, both before the IRS and in federal court. Working individually and in teams, they represent taxpayers involving examinations, administrative appeals collection matters, and cases before the United States Tax Court and federal district courts.

In this video, we follow Adeyemi “Yemi” Adediran ’21, a second year student in the Clinic, as he prepares to argue an appeal on behalf of a military veteran with PTSD in the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, in Chicago. The veteran’s appeal to the Seventh Circuit centered on his eligibility for innocent spouse relief under the Internal Revenue Code. Over a three year period, the veteran’s wife embezzled $500K from the Appleton, Wisconsin Blood Bank—where she worked as a bookkeeper. She was arrested and sentenced to jail, but because the couple filed taxes jointly and embezzled money is taxable, they were both legally responsible for back taxes on the money.

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December 4, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Data-Visualization And Student Evaluations: Male Profs Are Brilliant And Funny; Female Profs Are Mean And Rude

Chronicle of Higher Education, What a Data-Visualization Tool Tells Us About How Students See Their Professors:

Student evaluations of teaching are both widely used and, as a host of studies have shown, deeply flawed. They don’t measure teaching quality particularly well. They also reflect students’ bias, in that women and minorities tend to receive more critical evaluations. The problem is significant enough that 18 scholarly associations signed onto a statement in September asking colleges to not rely on them heavily in determining teaching effectiveness.

Thanks to Ben Schmidt, a clinical associate professor of history and director of digital humanities at New York University, we also have an interesting way to visualize the differences in the ways that students evaluate male and female professors. And we can see how different disciplines are described.

A few years ago, Schmidt mined 14 million reviews on RateMyProfessors to create an interactive tool, Gendered Language in Teacher Reviews. Plug a term into the chart and you can see how many times per million words of text it is used, broken down by gender and discipline. It’s a fascinating — and highly addictive — look at the way in which students perceive their professors. 

Brilliant

Mean

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November 27, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (10)

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

2019 Christopher Bergin Award For Excellence In Tax Writing

Benjamin M. Satterthwaite (J.D. 2019, South Carolina; LL.M. (Tax) 2020, Florida), Nash Bargaining Theory and Intangible Property Transfer Pricing, 164 Tax Notes 2275 (Sept. 30, 2019):

Tax NotesThis article was the winning entry in Tax Analysts’ annual student writing contest and received the 2019 Christopher E. Bergin Award for Excellence in Writing. [Honorable Mention: Daniel Pessar (Harvard)]

In this article, Satterthwaite proposes a transfer pricing framework for unique intangibles that integrates the economic fundamentals of John Nash’s bargaining theory with the “realistic alternatives” language of amended sections 367(d) and 482.

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November 5, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

FBA Tax Law Student Writing Competition

Alexander

The Federal Bar Association Section on Taxation invites J.D. and LL.M. students to participate in the  2020 Donald C. Alexander Tax Law Writing Competition (rules; flier):

The Federal Bar Association Section on Taxation sponsors an annual writing competition and invites law students to participate. The Section on Taxation has named this annual competition—the Donald C. Alexander Tax Law Writing Competition—in honor of former IRS Commissioner Don Alexander, who passed away in 2009. Throughout his career, Mr. Alexander was both a widely admired role model and an advocate for writing skills and style in tax law.

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October 23, 2019 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Case Western Tax Prof Is Still Teaching At 92 Years Old

Cleveland.com, Case Western Reserve University Law Professor Still Teaching at 92 Years Old:

GabinetYou know that saying, “when you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life?”

Well, at 92 years old and still teaching four days a week, Professor Leon Gabinet is the true embodiment of that.

“I think at 92, I must be the oldest living professor,” Gabinet said, laughing.

News 5 checked with the American Association of University Professors, and while we're told the data around professor's ages isn't maintained, a spokesperson couldn't immediately think of professor above that age still teaching.

Gabinet teaches federal income tax law at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law — a place he has been a fixture since 1968. ...

“You would think going into a federal income tax class that it was going to be really dry and boring,” said law student Jess Ice. “But I laugh every class. I just have a great time. He has forgotten more about tax than I’ll ever learn in my life.”

It’s true — Professor Gabinet, at 92, has much of the tax code memorized by heart. And still, he spends hours before each of his classes every week reviewing materials and getting prepared. ...

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October 3, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 6, 2019

2019 IFA International Tax Student Writing Competition (Sept. 30 Deadline)

IFA Logo (2015)The deadline in the International Fiscal Association's 2019 International Tax Student Writing Competition is September 30:

2019 IFA International Tax Student Writing Competition:
Subject: Any topic relating to U.S. taxation of income from international activities, including taxation under U.S. tax treaties.
Open to: All students during the 2018-19 academic year (including independent study and summer 2018 school courses) pursuing a graduate degree (J.D., L.L.M., S.J.D., M.S.T., MTA, Masters of Taxation, or similar program). Any appropriate papers written in fall 2018 or spring and summer 2019.
Publication: The winning author will be entitled to publish his/her article in the Tax Management International Journal, which is produced by Bloomberg BNA.
Submission DeadlineSeptember 30, 2019.
Prize:  $2,000 cash, plus expenses-paid invitation to the IFA USA Branch Annual Meeting in Boston on Feb 27-28, 2010.

Here are the recent winners:

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September 6, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

ABA Tax Section Releases 19th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge Problem

The ABA Tax Section has released the J.D. Problem (rules; entry form) and LL.M. Problem (rules; entry form) for the 19th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge:

LSTCAn alternative to traditional moot court competitions, the Law Student Tax Challenge asks two-person teams of students to solve a cutting-edge and complex business problem that might arise in everyday tax practice. Teams are initially evaluated on two criteria: a memorandum to a senior partner and a letter to a client explaining the result. Based on the written work product, six teams from the J.D. Division and four teams from the LL.M. Division receive a free trip (including airfare and accommodations for two nights) to the Section of Taxation 2020 Midyear Meeting, January 30-February 1, in Boca Raton, FL, where each team will defend its submission before a panel of judges representing the country’s top tax practitioners and government officials, including Tax Court judges.

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September 4, 2019 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Law Teaching And Academic Perfectionism

Nancy Ehrenreich (Denver), When Professors Get in Their Own Way: Law Teaching and Academic Perfectionism, 68 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2019):

This article recounts how the author recovered from disillusionment and decreasing effectiveness as a law professor by diagnosing and overcoming her academic perfectionism. Perfectionism is the self-defeating tendency to have unrealistic goals and expectations of oneself. For many, it can cause loss of confidence, frustration with others, and, eventually, worsening performance. In short, perfectionism can lead a law professor to get in her own way, taking things students say personally and failing to recognize the pedagogical (and emotional) needs of the class. Focusing on the author’s experience teaching large, 1L courses, the article describes how letting go of the desire to impress or entertain students can lead to a more confident, comfortable, and effective approach to teaching.

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August 24, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, August 16, 2019

Jim Maule's Reflections On 40 Years Of Teaching Tax Law

Saturday, August 3, 2019

How Two Law Schools Use Virtual Reality In The Classroom

Legal Tech News, Curriculum Comes Alive: How Two Law Schools Use Virtual Reality in the Classroom:

In recent years, law schools have injected a host of technologically-savvy initiatives into their curriculum, ranging from start-up incubators to online-centric coursework and beyond. But some law schools are looking to move their curriculum into a new dimension: the third dimension, to be specific.

The educational tracks at the 2019 American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) conference opened with “Virtual Reality in the Law Classroom,” a presentation of what two law schools have done with 360 video and 3-D modeling technologies to increase their students’ learning. Kenton Brice, director of technology innovation at University of Oklahoma College of Law, and Jenny Wondracek, director of legal educational technology at UNT Dallas College of Law, demonstrated that while the technology may seem futuristic, adopting it is feasible now.

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August 3, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Survey: Nearly Half Of All Students Are Distracted By Technology

Inside Higher Ed, Survey: Nearly Half of Students Distracted by Technology:

A recent survey found the use of technology in class, such as laptops or phones, for noneducational purposes was distracting to almost half of students, while others surveyed believe technology in the classroom is unavoidable.

The study was published in the Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and surveyed 478 students and 36 instructors at the University of Waterloo [A Mixed Blessing? Students’ and Instructors’ Perspectives about Off-Task Technology Use in the Academic Classroom].

Of the undergraduate students surveyed, 49 percent said the use of technology for reasons not related to class, or “off-task” use, was distracting to them. However, students generally said they’ve used technology for off-task purposes regardless.

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August 1, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, July 19, 2019

Teaching With Feminist Judgments: A Global Conversation

Bridget Crawford (Pace), Kathryn Stanchi (UNLV), Linda Berger (UNLV), Gabrielle Appleby (New South Wales), Susan Appleton (Washington University), Ross Astoria (Wisconsin), Sharon Cowan (Edinburgh), Rosalind Dixon (New South Wales), Troy Lavers (Leicester), Andrea McArdle (CUNY), Elisabeth McDonald (Canterbury), Teri McMurtry-Chubb (Mercer), Vanessa Munro & Pam Wilkins (Detroit Mercy), Teaching with Feminist Judgments: A Global Conversation, 38 Law & Ineq. ___ (2020):

Feminist JudgmentsThis conversational-style essay is an exchange among fourteen professors—representing thirteen universities across five countries—with experience teaching with feminist judgments. Feminist judgments are “shadow” court decisions rewritten from a feminist perspective, using only the precedent in effect and the facts known at the time of the original decision. Scholars in Canada, England, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Ireland, India and Mexico have published (or are currently producing) written collections of feminist judgments that demonstrate how feminist perspectives could have changed the legal reasoning or outcome (or both) in important legal cases.

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July 19, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Spread Of Online Legal Education

SmartLawyerSmartLawyer, The Spread of Online Legal Education:

In 2018, law school enrollment increased for the first time in almost a decade. Total J.D. enrollment in the U.S. currently sits at over 111,000 students.

While J.D. enrollment is only just starting to bounce back, enrollment in non-J.D. online legal programs has grown dramatically in the same time frame; about 5,600 students are currently enrolled in these programs. Non-J.D. legal programs include Master of Studies in Law (MSL), Master of Legal Studies (MLS), and Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees. ...

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July 17, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Field: A Tax Professor's Guide To Formative Assessment

Heather M. Field (UC-Hastings), A Tax Professor's Guide to Formative Assessment, 22 Fla. Tax Rev. ___ (2019):

The ABA Standards now require formative assessment to be integrated into law school courses, and there is extensive literature, both in legal education and education more generally, about the goals and methods for formative assessment. This Article makes the key insights of that literature accessible and actionable for professors teaching tax courses. This crash course on formative assessment is intended to enable tax professors to integrate formative assessment into their classrooms effectively and efficiently without having to become legal pedagogy scholars in addition to being tax law scholars. The formative assessment techniques discussed herein range from those that require relatively little time and effort to those that may be particularly impactful but that require additional time and work. This Article also discusses strategies for reducing the burden of even the work-intensive approaches.

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June 12, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Clint Wallace Wins South Carolina Classroom Teacher Of The Year Award

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

What This Law Professor Learned by Becoming a Student Again

Larry Cunningham (St. John’s), What This Professor Learned by Becoming a Student Again:

For the past year, I have been a student again.  Once I finish a final paper (hopefully tomorrow), I will be receiving a Graduate Certificate in Assessment and Institutional Research from Sam Houston State University.

I enrolled in the program at “Sam” (as students call it) because I wanted to receive formal instruction in assessment, institutional research, data management, statistics, and, more generally, higher education.  These were areas where I was mainly self-taught, and I thought the online program at Sam Houston would give me beneficial skills and knowledge.  The program has certainly not disappointed.  The courses were excellent, the professors knowledgeable, and the technology flawless.  I paid for the program out-of-pocket, and it was worth every penny.  It has made me better at programmatic assessment and institutional research. (I also turned one of my research papers into an article, which just came out this week [Building a Culture of Assessment in Law Schools, 69 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 395 (2018)].)

But the program had another benefit: It has made me a better teacher.

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May 8, 2019 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Jeffrey Kwall Named 2019 Professor Of The Year At Loyola-Chicago

Kwall
Jeffrey Kwall named 2019 Professor of the Year:

The Student Bar Association (SBA) at Loyola University Chicago School of Law has named Jeffrey L. Kwall, Kathleen and Bernard Beazley Professor of Law, the school’s 2019 Professor of the Year. Each year at Loyola, graduating law students honor one member of the full-time law faculty for excellence in teaching, mentoring, and advising. Kwall was also voted Professor of the Year by the Class of 2016.

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May 7, 2019 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Winners Of The 18th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge

18thABA Tax Section, 18th Annual Law Student Tax Challenge Winners:

J.D. Division

1st Place:
Jordan Fruchter and Thomas Boland
Albany Law School
Coach: Danshera Cords

2nd Place:
Emily Eash and Eliana Hoeppner
Western New England University

3rd Place:
Luis Garcia and Janette Duran
University of New Mexico Law School

Best Written Submission:
Luis Garcia and Janette Duran
University of New Mexico Law School

Semi-Finalists:
Scott Lee and Brittany Johnson
Georgetown University

Daniel Rowe and Mark Goshgarian
Loyola Law School

Kaitlyn Cornett and Thomas Koelbl
University of Memphis

LL.M. Division

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May 4, 2019 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 12, 2019

Lederman Wins Indiana University Research/Teaching Award

Lederman (2018)Lederman to Receive Sonneborn Award:

Leandra Lederman, William W. Oliver Professor of Tax Law and director of the Law School's tax program, is the recipient of Indiana University's 2019 Tracy M. Sonneborn Award. The award honors faculty for accomplishments in the areas of teaching and research. Named for the late eminent scientist Professor Tracy M. Sonneborn, the award is given to an exemplary researcher who is also well known as an exemplary teacher. Lederman will deliver the annual Sonneborn Lecture this fall. She is currently on a sabbatical leave as a Fulbright Scholar in Luxembourg.

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April 12, 2019 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Profs, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Winners Of The 2019 National Tax Moot Court Competition

Florida Bar, 2019 National Tax Moot Court Competition Winners:

LibertyWinner: Liberty [right]
William Baker, John Riordan, Jonathan Shbeeb
Coach: Tim Todd

1st Runner-Up: Stetson 
Deanna Cipriano, Romina Drazhi, Mark Joseph
Coach: Katie Everlove-Stone

2nd Runner-Up: Baltimore
Brenton Conrad, Dara Polokoff
Coach: Fred Brown

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April 9, 2019 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

2019 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition

Tannenwald (2013)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship and American College of Tax Counsel are sponsoring the 2019 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition:

Named for the late Tax Court Judge Theodore Tannenwald, Jr., and designed to perpetuate his dedication to legal scholarship of the highest quality, the Tannenwald Writing Competition is open to all full- or part-time law school students, undergraduate or graduate. Papers on any federal or state tax-related topic may be submitted in accordance with the Competition Rules.

Prizes:

  • 1st Place:  $5,000
  • 2nd Place: $2,500
  • 3rd Place:  $1,500

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March 5, 2019 in Legal Education, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 1, 2019

2018 IFA International Tax Student Writing Award; Call For Entrants In 2019 Competition

IFA Logo (2015)The winner of the International Fiscal Association's 2018 International Tax Student Writing Competition is Ivan Ozawa Ozai (McGill), Tax Competition and the Ethics of Burden Sharing, 42 Fordham Int'l J. 61 (2018). 
Faculty Sponsor:  Allison Christians

2020 IFA International Tax Student Writing Competition:
Subject: Any topic relating to U.S. taxation of income from international activities, including taxation under U.S. tax treaties.
Open to: All students during the 2018-19 academic year (including independent study and summer 2018 school courses) pursuing a graduate degree (J.D., L.L.M., S.J.D., M.S.T., MTA, Masters of Taxation, or similar program). Any appropriate papers written in fall 2018 or spring and summer 2019.
Publication: The winning author will be entitled to publish his/her article in the Tax Management International Journal, which is produced by Bloomberg BNA.
Submission Deadline:  September 30, 2019.
Prize:  $2,000 cash, plus expenses-paid invitation to the IFA USA Branch Annual Meeting in Boston on Feb 27-28, 2010.

Here are the recent winners:

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March 1, 2019 in Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Should You Allow Laptops In Class? Here’s What The Latest Study Adds To That Debate

LaptopChronicle of Higher Education, Should You Allow Laptops in Class? Here’s What the Latest Study Adds to That Debate:

Point: Laptops are a menace, undermining how students take notes in class and distracting not only those using them but also their neighbors.

Counterpoint: Laptops are a lifeline, allowing students with disabilities to participate fully in class.

Plenty of professors have strong opinions about whether laptops belong in the classroom. They also pride themselves on holding opinions based on research. So a new paper investigating the difference between taking notes longhand or on a laptop was bound to attract attention. But that doesn’t mean it offers a definitive answer.

The paper, How Much Mightier Is the Pen Than the Keyboard for Note-Taking? A Replication and Extension of Mueller and Oppenheimer (2014), was published this week in Educational Psychology Review. As the title suggests, the authors tried to replicate a well known study that found that students who took notes by hand fared better on conceptual test questions than did those who typed notes on a laptop [The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note-Taking]. Students who took notes on a laptop wrote more, and were more likely to write what a lecturer said verbatim, according to the original study. Perhaps, the authors of that study wrote, students taking notes on laptops did so “indiscriminately or by mindlessly transcribing content,” did not form a deep understanding of the material, and therefore did worse on the items that demanded such understanding.

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February 26, 2019 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (4)

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Great Disappearing Teaching Load: From 3-3, To 3-2, To 2-2, To 2-1; 1-1 Is The Next Maginot Line

Chronicle of Higher Education, The Great Disappearing Teaching Load: How Few Courses Are Too Few?:

Course ReliefYale has gone 2-1," a faculty member in political science told me, in the tone he presumably used in the classroom when discussing the perils of nuclear proliferation.

It became a refrain. During my 10 years as dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Notre Dame, the question of teaching schedules — a phrase I unsuccessfully tried to substitute for "teaching loads" — hovered in the periphery of my day-to-day life. Sometimes it occupied center stage. At times I wondered if the question — "Could I have a course off for that?" — would be chiseled on my tombstone.

It’s a "first-world problem," as the kids say, and I hasten to acknowledge that deans or department chairs struggling with collapsing budgets, or faculty members routinely teaching four courses per semester, may want to proceed to the next article in The Chronicle Review.

For the rest of you, a question: How many courses per semester should a faculty member at a major research university teach?

The question is rarely asked — because it’s in no one’s interest to ask it. Not presidents, since in public institutions they, unlike faculty members, have to answer questions from more or less curious and informed state legislators about how professors use their time. Not provosts, deans, and department chairs, struggling to sustain the Maginot Line of standard teaching schedules while also competing to hire faculty members. Not graduate students, whose courses are typically taught by tenure-line faculty members anyway. And not professors, eager to conduct more research, certainly, but also craving the flexibility of a schedule not burdened by the day-to-day rhythm of class meeting times.

It’s actually in the interest only of innocent undergraduates, who don’t realize that the tenure-line faculty members supported by their tuition dollars may be teaching a decreasing number of courses. And although they don’t know it, it’s in the long-term interest of faculty members themselves. ...

John Boyer’s absorbing recent history of the University of Chicago is one of the few places where the topic is discussed. (Not coincidentally, Boyer is a longtime dean.) I suspect that the pattern he outlines there is typical: Tenure-line faculty members taught six courses per year (that is, two per quarter) through the 1960s, then five, and now, at most, four. Over time, teaching schedules, like salaries, began to vary a good deal by department or program.

Dame’s pattern was similar: Faculty members in the humanities, social sciences, and arts moved from 3-3 on a semester system in the 1970s to 3-2 and then 2-2 in the late 1980s. When I started as dean, in 2008, tenure-line faculty members in science and engineering taught 1-1, with the expectation that they would be running funded labs; those in business taught 3-0. The "0" came about when the business school identified a semester without teaching, remarkably, as the uniform policy at the top business schools. Humanities, social-science, and arts faculty members taught two courses per semester.

The first strike came in economics. "We need to go 2-1," the chair politely explained, "because otherwise we can’t hire anyone." He was right, and so we did, with the proviso that teaching would be more than 2-1 for faculty members without strong research programs. Economics at Notre Dame had a spectacular decade, zipping up the rankings. Now I’m warned, somberly, that "some faculty at Duke are 1-1." ...

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February 13, 2019 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (10)

Monday, February 11, 2019

Morrow: TCJA — Teaching A Tax Code Just Adopted

Rebecca Morrow (Wake Forest), TCJA: Teaching a Code Just Adopted, 8 Wake Forest L. Rev. Online 57 (2018):

The spring 2018 semester at many law schools started approximately three weeks after the Tax Cuts Jobs Act (TCJA) passed. This essay reflects on the experience of teaching tax law in a semester when all textbooks and statutory supplements were outdated and tax scholars scrambled to make sense of the new law while simultaneously teaching it to our students. It concludes, paradoxically, that teaching the TCJA so soon after it passed offered some huge advantages from a pedagogical perspective: it proved to students that they must rely primarily on the statute, rather than secondary sources, and must develop strong statutory interpretation skills to understand tax; highlighted the importance of the first rule of statutory interpretation, to “keep reading”; and increased the already high marketability of tax law expertise.

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February 11, 2019 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 24, 2019

2018 Tax Prof Teachers Of The Year

AALS Teacher of the Year 2
Tax Profs recognized at the AALS annual meeting in New Orleans as Teachers of the Year:

January 24, 2019 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

2018 Law School Teachers Of The Year

It was great to see four of my colleagues (Trey Childress, Steve SchultzVictoria Schwartz, and Peter Wendel) recognized at the AALS Annual Meeting in New Orleans as 2018 Teachers of the Year:

AALS Teacher of the Year

January 23, 2019 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Helicopter Law Professors Are Hurting Their Students

Helicopter 2Emily Grant (Washburn), Helicopter Professors, 53 Gonz. L. Rev. 1 (2018):

Helicopter professors, like their parenting counterparts, hover over students, guiding them precisely, and swooping in to rescue them from any hint of failure or challenge. Just as helicopter parenting can be harmful to children, helicopter professoring poses similar threats to students, not the least of which is creating disengaged students dependent on professors for all aspects of their learning and development.

The instinct to be a helicopter professor is understandable in light of several social and cultural circumstances of today’s legal education. First, law students today are largely Millennials who were helicoptered parented and educated in a system that often focused solely on test results. Second, law professors are at times overly focused are garnering positive student evaluation scores, which may be easier to do with a little extra spoon feeding. Professors too may themselves be helicopter parents in their non-work hours, a behavioral pattern that too easily can infiltrate the classroom. Finally, law schools today are seeing a rise in students that have a consumerist attitude and in some cases lower academic credentials; those types of students expect and perhaps need additional assistance. But satisfying that need, combined with the focus on quantifying assessment practices and on improving teaching techniques, may easily cross the line into helicopter behavior.

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December 18, 2018 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, December 13, 2018

2018 Tannenwald Tax Writing Competition Winners

Tannenwald (2016)The Theodore Tannenwald, Jr. Foundation for Excellence in Tax Scholarship has announced the winners of the 2018 tax writing competition:

First Prize ($5,000):
Colin T. Halpin (Washburn), A Step in the Right Direction: The Effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on the Alternative Minimum Tax and the Need for Further Reform
Faculty Sponsor:  Lori McMillan

Second Prize ($2,000):
Betting on an Uncertain Future: The Tax Consequences of Large Third-Party Litigation Financing
Faculty Sponsor:  Gregg Polsky

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December 13, 2018 in ABA Tax Section, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

From Podcasts To Treasure Hunts: Using Technology To Promote Student Engagement

Marcia L. McCormick (Saint Louis), From Podcasts to Treasure Hunts—Using Technology to Promote Student Engagement, 58 St. Louis U. L.J. 127 (2013):

Three influential calls for reform in legal education, the MacCrate Report, the Carnegie Report, and most recently the Stuckey Report, have all recommended that professors use teaching methods to provide greater opportunities for students to practice problem solving skills and receive feedback on their performance. Being a lawyer is much more than memorizing rules; students need to be able to understand the big picture and use the details to problem solve. This article details how to use audio and written podcast summaries to help students see the big picture in a subject and how each smaller topic fits together into that bigger picture. On the detail side, quizzes and “Treasure Hunts” get students to read statutes apply them to different problem situations.

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December 4, 2018 in Legal Education, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)