Student entries

Laptop Lectures

Laptop Lectures

Madison Weaver

While we have all been suspended from face-to-face instruction as of March 10th, 2020, fortunately, our tPP team is accustomed to working in a decentralized manner and using technology to its fullest. We have team members that work day-by-day in the classroom setting while others contribute from hundreds of miles away. During this time of isolation, we are able to utilize the benefits of technology by facetiming our coding partners, checking our online Trello board for to-dos, or zooming with our professor, Dr. Loadenthal, for weekly check-ins. This transition has made me reflect on just how much I, and this project, rely on technology for success.

While most of the world is adjusting to a new type of normal during this COVID-19 pandemic, one of the things students and teachers are now balancing is how to adjust to new teaching, thinking, writing, and learning styles online. We already use sites such as google drive and other various internet sites in order to code our cases as well as use twitter and new sources to stay up to date on new case starters. Additionally, we employ technology by calling or skyping guest speakers during our tPP class times to gain more insight into the surrounding areas of our project. Whether it is tPP Advisory Board members such as Seamus Hughes, Erin Kearns, Richard Rubenstein, Emily Gorcenski, William Braniff, Gary Ackerman, Ryan Scrivens, or Kurt Braddock, or other prominent members of surrounding fields, such as T.A. Staderman, technology has been a vital aspect for this group to grow, learn, and further our project into the future.

tPP has, in many ways, conquered the challenges of doing team-based research and “cultivate[d] positive dynamics among the staff in order for the team to be effectively responsive to the ever changing circumstances of the project” even among this social isolation.[1] This project strives to stay as up to date as possible and is always adapting the project for the better. Furthermore, “anticipating issues and problems, then developing practical solutions that are carefully designed, methodical, and appropriate to the issue or problem” is key.[2] With that comes looking ahead at how the current COVID-19 Pandemic is going to influence our codebook and cases. Not only are terrorism cases surrounding purposeful spread of the virus occurring, but because of the increase in technology use, terrorism in cyberspace and the threat it brings has also heightened. While there have been cases where defendants were charged with both computer hacking and terrorism charges, it is not commonly seen in the public. This pandemic coupled with the rise in technology use and computer hacking could potentially mix for the perfect storm of an attack on specific people, groups, or businesses if one has the means to do so. While, I have not seen any yet, I do think that this is an interesting niche of terrorism in which the project should keep an eye on in the near future.

While looking ahead and adapting our work now can seem to create more work in the immediate future, our team is much better prepared to take on whatever comes next, whether it is continuing with laptop lectures rather than face-to-face interactions, working from miles away as older members matriculate off into other fields, or changing where we are hosted as a project, tPP remains strong and determined to intervening in the criminal justice discourse.

[1] Natasha Mack, Arwen Bunce, and Betty Akumatey, “A Logistical Framework for Enhancing Team Dynamics,” in Handbook for Team-Based Qualitative Research (Lanham, MD: AltaMira press, 2008), 61–97.

[2] Mack, Bunce, and Akumatey.

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