Catherine Enos – Opinions Editor
The first day of classes is always an annoying formality— professors going over syllabi, telling you what they expect and what they prohibit during lecture. It makes complete sense that most professors don’t allow you to talk on the phone or have loud conversations with your classmates so you are not disrupting the learning of other students. However, there’s a more contentious policy that some professors have snuck into their syllabi and that is the prohibition of using a laptop during lecture.
There are plenty of arguments against the use of laptops in class. Students may be doing other things on their laptop unrelated to taking notes like sending emails, playing games, or scrolling through Twitter. Professors say that these activities distract the individual participating in non-lecture leisure and those around them. But I can honestly say, as an individual who is very easily distracted, I have never hyper-focused on another person’s emails or game of solitaire.
Another argument professors have recited into oblivion is that “research claims that taking notes by hand is better for your memory” and this is true. However, it goes without saying that you should be able to read your notes after you take them. And for those of us afflicted with bad handwriting, anti-laptop policies don’t really help the studying process.
In our day and age, one would expect for professors to become more computer-friendly, especially in classes with heavy note-taking. Laptops, for all their flaws, certainly help class move a little bit faster.
It is understandable, however, why these policies exist– professors generally want students to be as enthusiastic about the material as they are and it’s disrespectful to show up to class and not listen to a word that’s being said. As one of those enthusiastic students, it is irritating to see a person show up to class and spend the class texting or going through emails. However, as a student, you are financing your own education and if you want to spend the class doing nothing, that should be up to you– but these apathetic individuals should not decide the fate of me and my laptop.