I’m in the midst of a brilliant lecture. I’m very well prepared for this class. I have thirty or forty Powerpoint slides that boil down the textbook chapter into handy outlines. I have included outside material that I spent hours finding and scanning. I have even inserted a two minute clip from a news show that someone had uploaded to YouTube. I also genuinely find this topic fascinating, so I’m able to talk passionately about it. I’m pacing and making wild arm movements.But about half the class isn’t staring at the wonder that is me. Their eyes are glued to their computer monitors. There is a background sound of clacked-clack as they transcribe my lecture. At least, that’s what they tell me what they’re doing. I can’t see their monitor screens. It’s more likely that they’re IM-ing their girlfriends and flirting with boys on MySpace and downloading songs. ...
Some universities have no laptop policies, because of the temptation to check Perez Hilton and the latest YouTube sensation while in class.
I let it go. If they miss two weeks of school and show up for the final with a hangover, I say “your funeral, dude.” To me, in-class internet surfing falls under the “your funeral” policy. If students want to bomb my final because they weren’t paying attention to the lecture, then go for it.
I'd be interested to know how people feel about laptop use by students. I guess I hadn't really noticed the ubiquity of laptops until recently, say, the past year or so. (And for reasons I can't figure out, they're more common in my general education courses than my courses for philosophy majors.) I don't have a 'no laptop' policy, and I'm not in general opposed to their use for taking notes, etc.
But please folks: If you are going to sit in class and IM and search YouTube, please don't come to my class. It's an insult to me and to those around you.