The anticipation of pulling out a laptop, getting every word down the teacher says, is too often squelched by a teacher’s strict rules stopping a student in their tracks with the words “No electronics allowed in this classroom.”
But, can they do that? Electronics allowed in one class, but not the next. What’s a student to do? What’s the reason for this? Typing is faster for taking notes, and it saves paper, but a student must obey when a teacher has a rule like that. Or do they? What can a teacher do if students don’t obey that one particular rule?
“How you take your notes is your business,” said Dr. Eugene Seeley, Dean of the Woodbury School of Business.
After interviews with the dean or chair of each department on campus it was made clear that there is no college-wide policy on electronic note taking. Teachers are free to set their own rules about whether or not they allow electronics during their individual classes.
“Some professors do have their own policies on their syllabi that forbid the use of computers or other e-devices in the classroom,” said Robert Cousins, English and Literature Department Chair. “and the department is supportive of those professors’ right to set their own policies.”
Some teachers don’t like electronics in their classroom because they fear students may be using them for other things besides taking notes. Surfing the web and checking Facebook and other social sites are some of the reasons that teachers have banned electronics. It can be hard to focus when there is that temptation to check these sites.
But what can be done if a student doesn’t obey the teacher’s given policy?
“One [teacher] even requires a note from the chair if you are found to be using anything [electronic] in class along with an apology to the rest of the class,” said David R. Connelly, the History and Political Science Department Chair.
Most teachers who have rules against electronics in the classroom and catch someone breaking them will just get call out the student during class, but others have more drastic measures. Either way there is a consequence for ignoring such rules.
Plans to make a campus-wide policy have been discussed but nothing has been decided yet.
“We have discussed it a few times at department meetings but it was generally fairly quickly agreed upon that this is an individual faculty decision,” Connelly said. “It has been discussed once if I recall at faculty senate as well. Issues were brought up and it was decided no action at this time was needed. A one-size-fits-all policy for campus or even a department seems very difficult for such a pervasive and integral part of university life.”
By Chelsea Hunter