By André Voshart
Professors are struggling to maintain the attention of students who use laptops in class. Laptop use in business professor Tarun Dewan’s classes have become “incredibly disruptful,” he said Students in Dewan’s class said he takes away participation marks if they are caught using laptops for reasons other than note-taking-teaching assistants continuously patrol the classroom for offenders.
“(If students are) playing games and other stuff they do get warned,” Dewan said.
Unlike business courses, students enrolled in Information Technology Management are required to bring a computer to class-a laptop ancillarly fee is actually built into their tuition. But the wireless internet connection is causing increasing problems.
“If I see someone using MSN, I tap them on the shoulder,” said ITM professor Aziz Guergachi. However, he is well aware students will close programs when they see a professor coming.
Nick Beslin, a second-year ITM student, thinks what students do should be up to them. “I don’t learn anything in class anyways,” he said. “We’re paying for (the computers). It should be up to us.”
James Norrie, chair of ITM, leaves it up to professors to decide how to deal with distracted students. “Most students are used to multi-tasking.
The challenge is how do we address motivating students,” he said. “Make sure what you’re doing in class is engaging.” Norrie considered shutting down Internet access in classrooms, but he doesn’t believe the addition of laptops to the curriculum three years ago has affected grades.
“Before laptops, students would have done spitballs and paper airplanes,” he said.