Our View: Use technology respectfully in class


CW Editorial Board

Laptops and tablets have become an unquestioned fixture in today’s college classrooms. These devices function to assist us with note-taking and staying organized, but they don’t come without drawbacks.

Unfortunately, this professed purpose for use of laptops in class is often a far cry from what really happens in a university lecture hall. According to Inside Higher Ed, over 90 percent of students use technology in class for noneducational purposes.

We’re all guilty of occasionally getting distracted by a text or an email when we should be engaging in a discussion or taking notes during a lecture, and this alone is not a pressing issue.

However, when students work on assignments from other classes, pop in earbuds to watch a baseball game or have the audacity to answer a phone call while sitting in class, misuse of technology can become both disrespectful to your professor and distracting to your fellow classmates. As college students, we all have a responsibility to be mindful of how we use technology during class.

Even if the University’s exorbitant tuition rates aren’t enough to convince you to pay attention in class, at least consider other students who want to get their money’s worth when it comes to their education. Engaging in distracting behavior while you’re in class doesn’t only distract you; it distracts others around you. Focusing on a monotonous lecture at 8:00 a.m. is already a trying task. Don’t make it any harder on your peers by catching up on your favorite Netflix Original during class.

It’s also worth noting that professors tend to be passionate about what they’re teaching. After all, most of them devoted the better part of a decade to learning about their subject. Even if a particular class isn’t as riveting to you as it is to your instructor, sitting in front of them while blatantly knocking out unrelated tasks is impolite at best.  

Similarly, professors need to respect their students. Professors owe it to their students to be reasonable and accommodating when something comes up that forces a student to leave class.

Additionally, policies that place outright bans on the use of laptops or earbuds in class can direct unwanted attention to students with disabilities who are required to use technology during class. Professors must refrain from enacting policies that exert control over the classroom when those policies come at the expense of the comfort and privacy of certain students.

Even the most organized and responsible of us occasionally have to deal with something that could not have been predicted. Life happens, and professors would do well to respect the students whom they seek respect from.

When we use it the right way, technology has the potential to help us consume and organize information more efficiently. However, even only a few students misusing their devices in class can harm the overall learning environment they’re in. On the other hand, despite indications that students do not always use class time well, it’s still the responsibility of professors to treat students with respect. Ultimately, we need both awareness and respect to create the productive, learning-conducive environments college classrooms ought to have.

Our View represents the consensus of the CW Editorial Board.