In the fall of 2020, the CALT website is featuring updates from law professors about how their institutions are responding to the challenge of teaching during a pandemic.
The McGill Law community has been resilient and hopeful in the face of our uncertain times. Onboarding the incoming class began much earlier than usual, with Zoom Town Halls in June and contact with incoming students continued throughout the summer. Professors have adapted to teaching remotely, drawing on lessons learned from the last two weeks of the Winter 2020 term when we began teaching online as COVID-19 emerged in Montreal.
The Faculty struck an ad hoc committee on remote pedagogy and hired students to coach or train instructors on the technology for remote delivery. Instructors are experimenting with a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching techniques, including pre-recorded lectures, breakout groups, and polling. Fortunately, technological glitches have been relatively limited. Professors have also tried to interact with students as much as possible, notwithstanding constraints restricting in-person activities to non-core instruction or leisurely events involving a limited number of participants. The faculty and student body have notably organized diverse community activities, including a vibrant virtual orientation, the customary Thursday evening socials known as Coffeehouse, meetings of our dozens of student-run clubs, and a Ciné-club with movie nights followed by group discussions. Some of our usual advising sessions for incoming students are being offered throughout the term by a podcast series. Although we have limited access to the Faculty of Law’s buildings, we are trying to remain connected as much as possible.