Sample Electronic Device Policies

Students sometimes believe that electronic devices (laptops, cellphones and tablets) are OK to use everywhere (including in class.) Explaining to students what types of electronic devices and uses of those devices are appropriate for your classroom and which are not may save you some frustration. As with many of these policies, you may or may not want to put this in your syllabus but you should be clear to students what you expect.

In some cases professors prohibit all electronic devices at all times. In other cases, they allow laptops and tablets for note taking or for participation in class projects. In other cases, these devices are part of the class and students are expected to use them as part of the class. Finally, some professors believe that students are responsible for what they do or do not do in class and that it is not the instructor’s job to act as a monitor on student’s attention; if a student chooses to spend class buying shoes, that is the student’s loss. Instructors also should decide to what extent they want to police student use of electronic devices, what constitutes inappropriate use and what the consequences are of abusing this policy.


  • You may use laptops or tablets in this class to consult online readings or to take notes. However, any other use of these devices and the use of cell phones is strictly prohibited. Place your phone on mute before you come to class. Violating this policy will negatively impact your participation grade.


  • Students may not use any electronic devices (computers or cell phones) during this class.


  • Because this class is focused on learning together, common courtesy dictates that you should not use laptops and cell phones for anything other than the topics of our class (so for example shopping and texting your friends is prohibited). However, if quickly checking the web for some reference in class helps you follow or make sense of my or other students’ comments, please feel free to do so. If I find that you are abusing this policy, I will ask you to turn off the device. Repeated infractions will lower your participation grade.