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Creating an effective policy on electronic devices, including laptops, cell phones and tablets, requires instructors to balance the power these tools have for student learning with the power the tools have to be a distraction.

Sample Language

Mary C. Caldwell, MUSC 130 "Introduction to European Art Music"

Laptops and tablets (provided the latter can function as a computer) are welcome and even encouraged in class so that we can better work together on activities and readings. Phones, however, are not permitted. Learning how to resist our phones is a challenge. Everyone should silence and stow their phones for the duration of class. When you surreptitiously use your phone on your lap, flat on the desk, or furtively in your bag, both I and your classmates can see what you're doing -- it distracts all of us and will result in gentle (and if it is necessary repeatedly stern) admonishment. Failure to abide by this policy will lower your participation grade.

Camille Charles, SOCI 120 "Social Statistics"

You may use your laptop or tablet for taking notes during lecture; however, that privilege will be lost if I find that you are using them for non-course-related reasons (e.g., news, social media, shopping). All other electronic devices should be silenced and hidden (you may use your cell phone for the attendance poll or as a calculator when appropriate). If there is an emergency situation and your phone must be on/visible, please inform me of this at the beginning of class.

Annette Lareau, SOCI 004 "Sociology of the Family"

As we will discuss in class, we are working to create a lively intellectual experience. Unfortunately, cell phones, texting, email, and other social media are a powerful form of distraction. The class is only 50 minutes in length. For a series of complex reasons, the class policy is for students to not use laptops in class. Doodling, daydreaming, and even occasional dozing, however, have historically been part of the university experience; this class will not be an exception to that pattern. There is not a problem with bringing in food or drink.