My policy for using laptops in the classroom
September 2015 (perspective of an assistant professor)
Here is my course policy regarding students using laptops and other electronic devices during my lectures. Since I'm often on my laptop during talks and meetings, I find it hard to impose a “no laptop” policy on my students. So I've adopted this compromise, which seems to have worked well in the past few years.
Laptop, tablet, and cell phone usage in class
Our policy for using electronic devices in class is simple: Be considerate of your classmates. We're fine with you using them silently by yourself, and we will sometimes present code-related demos where you are encouraged to follow along.
But remember that you are packed closely together with dozens of other students in the lecture hall. For your classmates who are trying to pay attention in class, it's really distracting to see flashy pictures and videos out of the corner of their eyes. Also, some students might be offended by certain images. So try to stay off of image- or video-heavy sites. Text is much easier to ignore.
Also, device usage sometimes spurs whispered conversations and laughter amongst friends, which can be contagious. Those sounds can distract and break the concentration of your classmates. So please remain quiet unless you are asking or answering a question (which we definitely encourage!).
All electronic devices are banned during exams.