As a graphic recorder, I've shared stages with brilliant thinkers like the president of Rhode Island School of Design and a Harvard neuroscientist. I've drawn live visual notes for the CEOs of hot Silicon Valley startups and Fortune 500 companies. But I think the most nervous I've ever been was walking with paper and markers into the exam review of a class at Yale.
When I mentioned to my friend, an associate dean of admissions at Yale Law and former FBI agent, that I'd like to try graphic recording in an academic setting, she invited me into the classroom of her undergraduate national security law class. And so I found myself within the beautiful, Harry Potter-esque Yale Law School a couple weeks ago, with 15 wicked smart undergrads watching me take notes at the wall.
Graphic recording for this class was a valuable lesson in how a better understanding of a meeting or presentation's objectives and structure will result in a more coherent output at the wall. Going into an exam review, I had assumed that my job was to take notes on the content of the discussion, but the purpose of the review was more about showing students how to construct a compelling argument for or against a particular legal statute, with some digression into specifics. Knowing this now, I would have made different choices in layout and organization.
Were the notes still helpful? The students are completing their exam this week, and I plan to follow up with many of them to find out if they thought there was value to the process.
They were helpful to me, I can now have a semi-intelligent conversation about the constitutional implications of FISA's lower probable-cause standards for surveillance. This job certainly has some unusual perks!