Suggestions for Laptop Use in Classrooms

As the availbility of laptop computers and wireless access in NMU's classrooms has grown so have the opportunities for students' attention to "wander" away from classroom activites. The Educational Technology Resources and Policy Committee (ETRPC) and the Teaching and Learning Advisory Committee (TLAC) have collected from their colleagues the following syllabus statements, classroom techniques, philosophies, and concerns of cheating on the use of laptops to provide guidance to other faculty.

Sample statements for a syllabus:

Computers are to be utilized for coursework and activities related to coursework. Do not use computers for entertainment during class meetings.

Do not display material on screen which may be distracting or offensive to your neighbor.

Use headphones for activities that require sound.

"Negative participation (surfing, gaming, chatting, emailing) in class will reduce your participation grade by at least 1/2 letter grade - you are a distraction to others sitting nearby and to me."

"Appropriate Classroom Laptop Use...Although having a laptop in class opens up new learning possibilities for students, sometimes students utilize it in ways that are inappropriate. Please refrain from instant messaging, e-mailing, surfing the Internet, playing games, writing papers, doing homework, etc. during class time. Acceptable uses include taking notes, following along with the instructor on PowerPoint, with demonstrations, and other whole class activities, as well as working on assigned in-class activities, projects, and discussions that require laptop use. It is easy for your laptop to become a distraction to you and to those around you. Inappropriate uses will be noted and may affect your final grade."

You are expected to be punctual, alert, and prepared for the class. You will be considerate of the instructor and other students, which includes not keyboarding or checking e-mail while information is being presented. Please turn off instant messaging during class time and refrain from playing games on your computer.

Please turn off cell phones and pagers when you are in the classroom. You are encouraged to bring your computer to lecture, but, while in the class, you will use your computer only for purposes related to this course.

"Please maintain the computer issued to you in proper working order at all times. Viruses and spyware can infect the computer without your knowledge. Please run scans often."

Example of Classroom Management Techniques:

Philosophical Offerings:

Cheating:

Cheating as been a concern in academia for many years. The advancement of electronic devices such as laptops, cell phones, handheld devices, and wireless access have added a new level of concern for cheating. The following are suggestions to deter cheating in your classes.

Introduction Lab Course Syllabus:

Students in this class are expected to conform to a code of academic honesty. While it is encouraged for students to work together, there are situations where work is expected to be the students whose name appears on the work. Quizzes and exams are obvious examples of where cheating will not be tolerated. However, using the same code and documentation (even if you change your name and modify some words), same graphs, etc is also considered cheating. Each student is expected to learn how to create their own files, graphs, etc. In lab work, it will often be the case that both partners will have identical work. However, both partners are to turn in lab sheets, and both partners are expected to participate equally in completing the lab tasks. It is not acceptable for one partner to do all the work, while the other merely watches and writes. Both partners are expected to understand the lab exercises. If you have questions on what is considered appropriate, ask your professor.

Upper Level Lab Course:

Students in this class are expected to conform to a code of academic honesty. While it is encouraged for students to work together, there are situations where work is expected to be the student's whose name appears on the work. Exams are obvious examples of where cheating will not be tolerated. However, using the same code and documentation (even if you change your name and modify some words), is also considered cheating. For example, using the same MATLAB m-files (unless given permission by the instructor) in lab or for homework to produce two copies of plots or problem solutions (even if you change your name), is also considered cheating. Each student is expected to learn how to create their own files. In lab work, it will often be the case that both partners will have identical work. However, both partners are to turn in lab sheets, and both partners are expected to participate equally in completing the lab tasks. It is not acceptable for one partner to do all the work, while the other merely watches and writes. Both partners are expected to understand the lab exercises. If you have questions on what is considered appropriate, ask your professor.

Student Handbook:

The Dean of Students office provides each student a handbook which includes the Student Code. Section 2.2.3 references Academic Dishonesty.

http://dso.nmu.edu/handbook/?part=2

NMU Acceptable Use Policy:

This statement represents a guide to the acceptable use of network resources at Northern Michigan University.

http://www.acs.nmu.edu/7.1.php


To add your ideas, techniques and comments to this list please contact Tom Gillespie at tgillesp@nmu.edu