May 6, 2004

Law school WiFi at the faculty meeting.

Ah, what a pleasure it is to have WiFi around the Law School. I easily sat through my exam proctoring the other day with my laptop, and today, right now, I'm sitting through a faculty meeting. I'm much less antsy than usual, with my connection at hand. The faculty meetings are important and interesting enough, but there is always potential for some droning little speeches and I like having the power to opt out. And to simulblog! You can either use the laptop to escape or to more deeply engage. Gordon Smith is sitting across the room and is mouthing the words "Are you on line?" or something. I nod. He's not picking up a signal. He pantomimes to Anuj to switch seats so he can move over near where I'm getting a signal.

The meeting topic right now is a new grading system. For years, from before I arrived here in 1984, we've had a mysterious numerical system, which goes as low as 65 (no lower, even if you hand in a blank sheet of paper) and as high as 95, but usually stopping at 94, so that a 95 is a special honor. Outsiders to the Law School are duly mystified, but for years, the faculty has clung to the system for various mysterious reasons. What are they? Oh, something about how letter grades are too ... what? ... meaningful? And something about how great it is to have a lot of fine gradations, so that no grading decision is momentous enough, like the decision where to draw the line between an A and a B or a B and a C. Somehow, we've come to our senses and are going to the traditional letter approach (with pluses and minuses). Which I of course like, because I'm basically a retro lawprof.