Policies You Might Want on Your Syllabus
A collection of ideas from other Penn faculty
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.