The GSU ALERT Program – Why? Why not!

The GSU College of Law Library has just announced its slate of spring ALERT programming… Hooray!  This semester’s line-up includes some real bangers, with sessions covering PowerPoint, Health Law Research, the Bluebook, and Fastcase!

But, as a law student, you maybe wondering: what exactly is the ALERT program?  Where did it come from?  What might distinguish ALERTS from some of the other programming available at the college of law, and why might you choose to attend?  I’m glad you asked because that is the purpose of this hea’ blog post. 

Where can I access the information on the ALERT Program?

See https://gastate.view.usg.edu/d2l/home/1188316

How long has the ALERT program been around?  Where did it come from?

Legend has it that the ALERT program began sometime in the fall of 2015, when then Librarian and now interim director of the Georgetown Law Library (yes that Georgetown) Austin Williams pitched the program as a way to provide supplementary research and technology training to the GSU law community.  Yours truly took it over in Spring 2016 and it has been rolling ever since. 

What is the ALERT Program? 

Basically, it’s a series of four presentations given per semester, twice (we do each twice, once early and once late.)  If you complete at least six you receive a digital badge as soon as you finish and a certificate at the awards ceremony before you graduate.  They generally last around 45 minutes with time to answer the quiz at the end.

What if I can’t make it to the in-person session?

Lucking, there are also ONLINE ALERT sessions.  Just see the ALERT I College Page for exact directions.  Generally, you have to watch the video lesson and take the quiz.  Easy peazy, one, two, threezy.

But why? 

That’s really the question isn’t it?  Why take a minimum of six hours of your life to learn even more (I know – my brain feels full daily and I’m not even in law school.)  There are actually exactly three reasons why.

  1. It looks good on your resume.  When I interview people to be GRA’s in the law library, I’m always looking for interesting things to ask about.  For an interviewer, this is that type of thing.  Moreover, when they do ask, it gives you a chance to brag about yourself a little bit.  When asked, being able to say something like “ Oh, that’s a supplementary educational program I CHOSE to participate in because I wanted to learn more about legal research and technology.”  Saying things like  “We’ve done things above and beyond what is expected from the 1L class like business research, legislative history, and productivity tools lessons” makes you look motivated and engaged. 
  2. You’ll actually learn things.  There is only a finite amount of information that you can conceivably include in a one-credit Legal research class.  These sessions are designed to build upon the foundation you started in research methods. 
  3. It builds a foundation for learning even more.  Again, we can’t really hope to teach you any big subjects in around 45 minutes.  But, introductions are important.  Simply knowing that a certain type of resource or technology exists will allow you to seek it out later, even if you don’t remember exactly how to use it.

So, Just do it!

If you have a free 40 minutes here and there, why not ALERT!  It’s a fun(ish), easy way to kill time between classes.  Lots of them are also available online.  If you have any questions about procedures, topics, or really anything else, you can send me an email at pparsons@gsu.edu

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