The mission of the Information Technology Department is to provide the UNC School of Law community with the technological tools and services required to excel as learners, educators and scholars, and to leverage information and communication technologies to promote the school's reputation for excellence, its sense of community, and its commitment to teaching and learning, ethical values, public service and legal scholarship.
The following topics are among the most common that new and prospective students are interested in. Additional information and resources are available to enrolled students via the law school's internal site (see My Carolina Law below).
While not required, many students find that a laptop is a vital tool for succeeding in law school. One of the most important reasons students choose to own a laptop is to be able to take exams electronically. Professors prefer that students complete exams electronically, although a select few have a no-laptop policy during class. The IT department offers students the option to check out laptops for exams and at other times, as needed, but strongly encourages students to arrive with their own mobile computers.
While you are a student at UNC Law, you are entitled to a free UNC student e-mail account (HeelMail), which you can access via UNC's webmail system from your own laptop or home computer, as well as from computers located around the law school, law library or from any public terminal with Internet access. Although many students elect to keep Gmail, Yahoo and other external e-mail addresses, all students are expected to forward messages or check their UNC mail account regularly since it is considered the official e-mail point of contact.
Learning Management System (LMS)
UNC and Carolina Law currently use Sakai, an open source platform developed by a consortium of higher ed partners, as the preferred learning management system. Professors use Sakai to distribute course materials and study aids, manage discussion forums and communicate regularly with students. Students are enrolled in Sakai course sites automatically at the time of registration and can easily access all their sites via My Carolina Law.
Access to Law Databases & CALI
The Carolina Law Library (http://library.law.unc.edu/) provides access for law school students, staff and faculty to a number of legal databases, including LexisNexis and Westlaw. The library also maintains a subscription to CALI, the Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction, which offers a vast library of online lessons on core subject areas. Most law students use these resources heavily.
There is wireless connectivity throughout the building, including all floors of the law library and in all classrooms and common areas. The campus's primary secure wi-fi zone (UNC-Secure) is only accessible to students once they've installed a security certificate on their mobile devices. Students may also connect to a secondary secure wi-fi zone, UNC-PSK, by registering their devices via the Onyen services homepage (http://onyen.unc.edu/). Wired connectivity is also available throughout the building, although most students rely exclusively on the wireless network.
My Carolina Law
Carolina Law has an internal site, My Carolina Law. Through this site, students can stay informed about events, news and upcoming deadlines at Carolina Law, and request that online calendar items be added, visit student organization sites, seek IT support and read law news blogs. My Carolina Law contains a wealth of other valuable information for currently enrolled students and is considered a daily go-to page among not only the student body but also faculty and staff.
Classroom Technology & Class Recordings
All of Carolina Law's large and medium-sized classrooms have been upgraded with high-definition AV systems that enhance the instructor's teaching capabilities and offer a richer learning experience to students. Nearly all classes are recorded automatically by a sophisticated lecture capture system, with many faculty choosing to embed a daily feed of recordings into their Sakai course sites. Students have come to appreciate this very helpful supplemental learning & studying resource.
Video & Web Conferencing
The School of Law supports many types of online conferencing platforms, including Skype, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts and Polycom-based videoconferencing. These technologies are used by the Career Development Office to support students doing long-distance interviews, by faculty teaching from afar or wishing to include remote guest speakers during class and by the Externship Program and other groups for virtual meetings.