There was a cogent post over on FemaleScienceProfessor a while back about the crafting of course syllabi.
Link to post on FSP
In our little school we are currently dealing with the issue of wireless devices and at this point the University is allowing each professor to set their own policy as long as it is clearly stated in the syllabus."
I was indifferent to the whole issue except as an avenue for cheating until I had occasion to sit in a large undergraduate class during a lecture where a significant number of students were "taking notes" on their laptops. I realized two things:
1) For the most part the students with computers were not using them to take notes but were engaged in email exchanges and surfing the internet. Several students were playing games.
2) It was not just the students with the computers that were missing the point of the lectures but there was a clear "Cone of Distraction" that spread out behind each student using a computer in class.
If you have students using computers in your class I strongly recommend that you simply place a monitoring camera at the back of the room to see if there is a problem. On a certain level I could care less about the deadhead student that chooses to ignore my lecture (although I honestly do not understand why such a student would bother to come to class where the attendance is not recorded). My concern is the weak to average student that is easily distracted by the computers.
I know that this will place me in the Luddite / dinosaur class of professors but this is what I have in my syllabi now:
"Course Policy on Wireless Devices: The nature of the course content and the evaluation of the individual students knowledge requires that this course have a strict policy on wireless devices (laptops, cell phones, PDAs, handheld computers, pagers and all similar devices). In general, students should not bring wireless devices to any class, tutorial, laboratory or examination. Students found to be in possession of a wireless device during a quiz, test or examination will be given an automatic mark of 0% on the quiz, test or examination even if the device is turned off and a subsequent examination of the devices connection log reveals that the device was not used during the quiz, test or examination. This policy will extend to all students in a group that include a student found in possession of such a device (where they are being evaluated in a group activity). Exemptions from this policy may only be given to students that have a documented reason for requiring the device. Such exemptions MUST be granted before any device is brought to a course evaluation event."
- ► 2008 (13)
- ▼ 2007 (11)