New Study: students learn better from printed books

A new study shows that students learn way more effectively from print textbooks than screens

As researchers in learning and text comprehension, our recent work has focused on the differences between reading print and digital media. While new forms of classroom technology like digital textbooks are more accessible and portable, it would be wrong to assume that students will automatically be better served by digital reading simply because they prefer it.


Our work has revealed a significant discrepancy. Students said they preferred and performed better when reading on screens. But their actual performance tended to suffer.


For example, from our review of research done since 1992, we found that students were able to better comprehend information in print for texts that were more than a page in length. This appears to be related to the disruptive effect that scrolling has on comprehension. We were also surprised to learn that few researchers tested different levels of comprehension or documented reading time in their studies of printed and digital texts.

Students judged their comprehension as better online than in print.


From these findings, there are some lessons that can be conveyed to policymakers, teachers, parents and students about print’s place in an increasingly digital world.

1. Consider the purpose

2. Analyze the task

3. Slow it down

4. Something that can’t be measured

First Hand Guide to 1L Courses – Criminal Law

From the excellent Law School Toolbox website:

Understanding what classes you will encounter in your first year will give you the one-up on the rest of your classmates. You do not need a full, in-depth understanding about what these classes entail, especially since each law school follows a different curriculum. However, it is a good idea to understand an overview of each course so you feel comfortable on your first day and comprehend the context of this subject of law. One of the first classes you encounter as a 1L is Criminal Law.

Different than TV??

Unlike many other 1L courses like Torts, most incoming 1Ls have had the most exposure to Criminal Law and feel the most comfortable with this subject. Why is this? Well, many legal dramas revolve around crime and the legal system (think Law & Order, any detective show, etc.). However, the “criminal law” you see on TV versus the Criminal Law you will see in class and in your casebook are vastly different. Yes, there will still be crimes of murder, theft, rape, etc. but how you study them and engage in the subject are much different that how Detective Benson solves crimes. It is best to keep this in mind at the forefront, that way you aren’t confused halfway through the semester.

Common Law Rules (!)

To make law school more confusing for 1Ls, Criminal Law is divided into two jurisdiction categories: MPC-based jurisdictions (more on this in a minute) and Common Law based jurisdictions. I highly (HIGHLY) suggest separating these in your mind and notes right from the get-go because you will need to know both come exam time, and it can be very confusing trying to figure out both. Common law jurisdictions are states in which their statutes are based off the “common law” or judge’s decisions from previous cases. Basically, the common law is based on how other cases were decided and set precedent.

The Good, the Bad, and the MPC

The other side of Criminal Law is based on the MPC. In 1962, a group of Criminal Law scholars came together to create the “MPC” or the Model Penal Code. This is a code that formulates all offenses, elements, defenses, and information on crimes in a concise, organized manner. The intention was to consolidate the authority on Criminal Law so that decisions would be more regulated and consistent, rather than the Common Law counterpart. However, many states did not completely adopt the MPC but have created their own penal code with MPC influence.

Criminal Law: Outlines, Diagrams, and Exam Study Sheets (3d edition)

Criminal Law: Outlines, Diagrams, and Exam Study Sheets is designed to aid you in study and preparation for exams. The book contains three sections: Outlines, Diagrams, and Exam Study Sheets. Outlines are detailed outlines of the course material, arranged by topic. Diagrams are perfect companions to the Outlines, containing flow charts, diagrams, and other visual aids for each topic. Exam Study Sheets are condensed outlines, perfect for getting the ‘big picture,’ for revising, and for testing yourself on the details. All three sections include statutes, cases, and key terms, arranged and color-coded to maximize your studying, memorizing, and revising/reviewing.

Topics include: Elements of an Offense; Actus Reus: Voluntariness, Omissions, Consequences; Mens Rea; Murder and Homicide; Voluntary Manslaughter; Simple Non-Fatal Offenses Against the Person; Aggravated Non-Fatal Offenses Against the Person; Sexual Offenses; Failure of Proof Defense & Justificatory Defenses; Excusatory Defenses & Mental Disorder Defenses; Attempt; Parties to Crime; Theft; Fraud; Robbery; Burglary; Criminal Damage.

Purdue acquires online-only Concord Law School

Purdue University recently acquired the for-profit Kaplan University, and with that comes Concord School of Law. The Indiana university will be the first public institution with an online law school.

Concord Law School is one of a handful of online law schools, reports. For now, the law school’s day-to-day operations remain unchanged, Concord dean Martin Pritikin told the publication, and he expects that Purdue’s reputation will boost Concord’s.

Concord does not have ABA accreditation, and currently California is the only state that allows the school’s graduates to sit for its state bar exam. Out of 77 graduates who sat for the July 2016 California state bar, 16 percent passed, according to data (PDF) released by the agency.

In November, Concord filed petitions in Arizona, New Mexico and Connecticut seeking to change existing rules that restricts its graduates from taking bar exams. Pritikin told that he’s yet to receive responses from those states.

“I’m being patient and hopeful,” Pritikin said. “I think if we’re evaluated on the merits, we can hold our own with a number of ABA schools. My goal is to help break down some of the preconceived notions people have about online learning and online law school.”

Purdue paid $1 for Kaplan University, and agreed to share 12.5 percent of the programs’ new revenue with Graham Holdings Co., which owns Kaplan Inc., the Washington Post reports. Under the terms of the deal, Kaplan will continue to provide support—including marketing, human resources and financial aid administration—for the program for 30 years, with a buyout option after six years.

Ahead of the Curve: From Undergrad to Law School – Making the Transition, Part Two

From Law School Toolbox:

Welcome to Ahead of the Curve, our new series for incoming 1Ls. We’re getting lots of questions about what law school to attend, how to pay for it, and what people can be doing now to set themselves up for success in law school. Stay tuned, and be sure to sign up for our free mailing list and check out the Start Law School Right course to ensure you’re ready to go on Day One!

Improve Your Basic Writing Skills

Adopt And Embrace A New Writing Style

Your take-away: don’t struggle against the new formula. You are mastering new skills in persuasion that will make your writing stronger. Once you get comfortable with the structure of legal writing, you will have plenty of room to blend your skills into your unique, new “lawyer voice.”

Good legal writing is a craft that practicing attorneys and judges work very hard at practicing and perfecting. Work hard at your writing and you will get results.

Podcast Episode 112: Managing Distractions in Law School

Podcast Episode 112: Managing Distractions in Law SchoolFrom the Law School Toolbox Podcast. In this episode:

  • Internet, social media and technology – put the phone down!
  • How overthinking and mental clutter block your focus
  • Offloading mental clutter with systems and habits
  • Life and relationships – setting healthy boundaries and efficiently taking care of your needs
  • Avoiding seeing distractions as a result of boredom
  • Improving concentration though improved sleeping habits
  • ADD/ADHD: even mild cases can manifest differently in the law school environment

Visit us! Resources for UK and US law students.

Legal Yankee has assisted law students since 2010 with study guides, tips, methods, book reviews, and helpful resources from around the web. We also offer assistance with legal research and writing and one-on-one tutorial sessions via Skype.

With our experience in academia, legal practice, and education, we know how to teach students how to learn. Explore our website, join our mailing list, and get in touch if you have questions. We love the study of law and are here to help you.

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