Law School Laptop Bans

This week’s Chronicle of Higher Education has a front-page story Law Professors Rule Laptops Out of Order in Class which reports on new laptop use policies or procedures at the University of Chicago; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Michigan; Florida International; Georgetown; Harvard; and the University of Wisconsin.  Recently, in an editorial in the Stanford Daily, students themselves asked the university to “Consider limiting wireless access in class.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education piece discusses the pros and cons of various policies and also the technical difficulty of effecting a ban.  It quotes several law professors, including David Cole from Georgetown who offers this interesting observation:

Several weeks into one of his law classes last year, he asked the students what they thought of the ban, letting them respond anonymously. Roughly three-quarters of the students said they favored a no-laptop policy. And 95 percent said they had used their machines for purposes other than taking notes.

2 thoughts on “Law School Laptop Bans

  1. Pingback: Laptop bans - not for law schools only, but legislators too. « Legal Research Plus

  2. I am an unabashed computer nerd who absolutely cannot live without my laptop. That being said, I feel this policy does have significant merit. As an adjunct instructor whenever I teach courses in “smart” classrooms (computer labs) inevitably a good percentage of my students (40% or more) are NOT working on things related to class (MySpace seems to be the most frequent destination). As a student, even when in a doctoral program in which we used laptops in the classroom, inevitably when we became disinterested in what was being taught, we resorted to IMing each other with Skype or sending e-mails in an attempt to get the other person to burst out with inappropriate laughter. So, as long as the instructor has access to a computer with an LCD projector or can at least control the Internet access of his/her students, I feel a laptop ban is inevitably a step in the right direction.

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