Revision Rundown: Review of Semester One

[tweetmeme source=”travisthetrout” only_single=false]

In my scramble to piece together my revision I came to realise just how many organising tools I’ve sampled since the beginning of my LPC and decided to give a quick post and a bit of a rundown of such organisation tools, both on the laptop and on the go.

One of my main problems was always moving around changing computers between home, on the train, in the base room, library and what have you. One of the reasons finding the perfect to do list on the Ipodtouch/Iphone was such a task in itself.

  • Iprocrastinate mobile (Sept – Dec08) This one really came out on top for me. Can categorise all my subjects and workshops and have individual to do lists, works perfectly for what I need.
  • To Do’s again, a more simple interface, but it works well. I use this for my print list, simple column list that doesn’t really need categorising beyond importance, this works well.
  • Zenbe Lists – used for a couple of months, before I got bored and replaced it with To Do’s.
  • And the ones that didn’t make it: Dobot ToDos; Easytask manager; To Do; What Tasks lite.

Given my moving around all the time, I am a fan of storage on the internet for various projects. This past semester I used a variety of sources for different subjects to see which came out top.

Business Law and Practice
This was me going back to basics, with a notebook and pen (or rather it ended up being 8 notebooks and about 10 boxes of pens but that’s another story). Basics never fail to let me down… however, did end up with a cramped hand, and not the best method for working as a team and pooling information… can’t just say I’ll email you my thoughts.

Property Law and Practice:
For this subject I did the blogging method (nice simple private blog on blogger) although in the end only lasted a couple of weeks in terms of compiling notes. The general notes were sufficient, and the blog is a good method, however, the nature of the course meant that it was impractical. The sheer amount of letter writing, contracts and forms to fill in. Nevertheless what I did find useful was making a list of online resources that were useful and generally the easy to read format.

Civil Litigation
For this I used a wiki (Pbwiki). all ready to use, no computer knowledge required, just type link and go. The great thing is that how you do it (layout linking etc) is entirely up to you. Bad thing – lack of spell checker. But overall great way to organise your own information freely.

Criminal litigation
A relatively newer addition to my notetaking (last 2 months). Given that I had gone back to basics and was doing word documents for Criminal, when I saw Soshiku it was another think to try out, again, its like a to-do list, but given that I had been working in word docs it was handy because you can attach word documents to the todo listings and separate them by subject. However, I do dislike the rather rigid interface, and feel like once these exams are over and I start new subjects, the hunt will be on for something new.

In a couple of weeks, I’m starting new subjects again… so a new opportunity to try new things and learn from this semesters mistakes. can’t wait.


[tweetmeme source=”travisthetrout” only_single=false]

Another “school tool” for organising classes, taking notes etc can be found at Soshiku.

Having used a range of “back to school” notebooks/organisers and simply high school stuff, this was brought to my attention rather late. Nevertheless perfectly timed for me starting my Criminal Litigation module for which I shall use soshiku.

Sign up for it is simple and free, put in a few details and away you go. On first glance its kind of what I expected, although will need to see if I can do something about the colour-scheme.

The Basic Set-up

Appears to be no way to change the clashing colour scheme on the home page – maybe I’ll find it one day. But sore eyes aside the concept ain’t too bad – projects can be private or public and you can add people for collaboration purposes if you wish. I don’t need to do that here.

You can have all your courses and then within the courses you add assignments. Within assignments you can have task lists and attach any necessary files. (In addition if using the “partners” feature can have discussions, although I’m not using this). There is also space to fill in notes.

For me the most useful feature is the attachment of notes, as I can type up my notes and attach them to the assignment to help keep the organised. The notes feature I’ll just type in any old thing I need to remember. helpful. But there are other organisers which do this just as well, but I shall persevere.

The To-Do List

Simple to-do list, type in what you want in the “what to do?” box (if using “partners” can delegate to someone else) and then just click the add task button. No different from any other to do list really.
However, some minor problems:

  • it is quite sensitive and if i hit the enter key too hard or twice in my impatience with the internet the task will come up twice (as above).
  • there doesn’t appear to be a way of the deleting or editing the task if you, for example, make a typo.
  • The only way I can see of deleting the task is to “tick” it and then click the little red symbol to delete it – which is a bit of a pain.
  • Can’t do separate due dates for tasks within the assignment
  • when you hit complete on the assignment, it doesn’t automatically complete all the tasks, and they will still appear on the main task list on the home page.

Some of these are minor annoyances, and I appreciate that I’m never going to find the perfect online organiser, but will continue to look for ways round this.

PB Wiki (2 months later)

[tweetmeme source=”travisthetrout” only_single=false]

So now that I’ve had more time to experiment with pbwiki I decided to do another post (previous post here)to explain how it is going and what I like and don’t like about it. A lot of people use it to compile any information all in one place – and I do agree – it is great for that.

First of, it is probably been one of the few tools I will use in the long-term and I could see myself using this for a long time to come, for any reason, simply because of the openness it presents. I’ve mainly been using it for Civil Litigation module and have branched out into other online tools for other subjects. As variety is the spice of life.

In order to compare the range of products I use, and to get a better idea of what is better for what use, I’ve highlighted the main Pros and Cons of PBwiki from my point of view.

The Pros:

  • freedom to write about what you want, how you want.
  • Easy interlinking between different wiki pages, particularly recent ones which other wikis lack
  • Easy to format text, add in tables etc.

The Cons:

  • Doesn’t mark up errors in spelling, or allow inter brower spellchecker through firefox to do so – have to go back and Spell check.
  • Can’t do sub folders within folders – scrolling through a large number of files in the same folder can be tiresome – I have hundreds of pages in some folders.
  • inability to create own page templates.

For a subject as diverse as law, a wiki is definately the best option, as it presents a lot of flexibility.

PB Wiki

[tweetmeme source=”travisthetrout” only_single=false]

We used to have a basic wiki at undergrad level, but it never worked as not enough people were open-minded enough to participate, which was a real shame. Nevertheless I’ve always loved the idea of a full wiki with links to everything when doing law, I feel sometimes that the internet lacks a full free database. I frequently have to check the meaning of words or phrases (simply for certainty) and think it is great to link words to definitions and interlink between different topics of law (as there are some good individual law topic sites out there).

This week I started to do my own wiki for my LPC studies, as a sort of revision tool (easy to search, link and include definitions and statutes). For this wiki, I’ve been using a hosted service (nice and simple) called Pbwiki.

Sign up is free and straightforward. Wiki can be public or private and you can make as many as you like once you have signed up (I have also made one for job application research).

As you can see my front page is simply a list of the courses I am taking this semester with links to them. Once I click on those links these open up into what I’ve made into a contents page and from there the possibilities are endless.

Each new page is a blank page (although you can choose to use a template) and you can type, link and format any way you want. I tend to create a range of pages from my central “contents page” and to that link my different lecture, workshop tasks, online tests, useful websites, dictionary definitions and statute/case references.

Still kind of new to the whole thing, so will post again later to see how this project is progressing.

Google Docs

[tweetmeme source=”travisthetrout” only_single=false]

For the many many articles I had to read for my undergrad Commercial Property Coursework – in all honesty there was no real reason why I chose google docs over say Office Live or any other similar service. In reality there is little difference in my mind.

Straight forward interface – type, save, upload, download. All the information is there whether you are at uni, home or the library. Information can be sorted into folders etc.

I’m not going to sit here and analyse every feature of Docs but if you’re interested in the comparisons Read Write Web did an interesting comparison article earlier in the year.

Since my undergrad I’ve gone off GoogleDocs and as always still on the search for perfection.