FAMU College of Law moves to online only this fall

FAMU law students gather outside the building in Orlando. Photo courtesy A’Lexus Garnett

Dean Deidré Keller of Florida A&M University’s College of Law announced recently that all classes will be taught online for the fall semester. Many students are asking if this is the best choice for them considering how difficult aw school can be.

The surging COVID-19 pandemic has changed how many institutions are providing instruction. The FAMUJ College of Law in Orlando has more than 500 students who will be transitioning to courses being taught online for the fall semester. Many students were aware that it was a possibility that classes would be online for the fall, but no decision had been made until the new dean’s announcement.

With many first-year pre-law students coming set to begin their journey, some students feel as if they will not be able to get the same learning experience from their professors as they would if they were in a face-to-face class setting. Coming in as a first-year law student you would want hands-on experience learning the different cases and rules.

Passion Wells, a second year law student at FAMU, says that being online for the fall is a great idea considering she was already taking classes online before the pandemic occurred. She does not believe the material will be harder online than in person. She says that it would be much more content because it gives the professors more opportunities to get to learn each student’s skills and ability.

“Some strategies I plan to help myself through the fall semester as we continue to transition in the online courses for the fall semester is to make sure I stay organized, relocating myself to a quiet area in my household, also engage in meetings as if I were in a classroom,” Wells said.

While she believes that many professors will struggle to meet the needs of students with online teaching, she said her grades improved during the spring semester when classes transitioned to remote instruction.

A ‘Lexus Garnett is a second-year student at Florida A&M’s College of Law. She says she likes face-to-face learning and considers itcrucial. She believes that for  the law school to continue to retain its accreditation, live class sessions are required so that the students can get the immediate feedback they need.

“It is much easier to hide behind a screen and not feel as pressured to know your cases and rules as well as you would if you were sitting directly in front of your professor,” Garnett said.

Garnett, an evening student, says  her home situation is not ideal for online learning. She said she has to move to different family members’ households to try and find the best space that fits her.

“At the end of the day I do feel like these times are unprecedented and we have to work together to adjust. The school did what was right to keep us as a student body safe and healthy and alive. Now we as the students have to make our learning experience as productive as possible,” Garnett said.

Kendra Willis a third-year law student at FAMU, is uneasy about  classes being taught online this semester. She said it is important to be on campus to do the different clinics and trial practices that they have to take for different courses.

“While I feel as though the health and safety of all faculty, staff, and students are important, so is the material we are learning, and it is imperative that if classes are strictly online, professors need to be innovative in their teaching to ensure that we are getting what we need,” Willis said.