The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Professors crack down on classroom tech use

That moment is always incredibly awkward. The lecture hall is silent, the professor is pacing back and forth in the front, and everyone seems focused. Then a loud beep emerges from somewhere in the room, and one by one, heads turn, looking desperately for a student fumbling to silence their cell phone.

Lately, more Marquette professors have been cracking down on technology use in the classroom as a means of combatting these moments.

“Getting caught texting and being asked to leave a class may be a little embarrassing, but the consequences in the workplace can be much more severe,” said David Clark, a professor of economics at Marquette.

As a liberal arts university, Marquette aims to create an environment where students learn: “the fostering of personal and professional excellence” that will aid them in real-world endeavors upon graduation, according to Marquette’s mission statement.

“We are teaching life lessons here,” said Sarah Feldner, an associate professor in the College of Communication. “I have friends in the business world who regularly mention people rudely using technology in meetings and such. We want our students to know when it is and isn’t right to use technology.”

Many Marquette professors allow the free use of technology in class, but most are stern regarding this freedom.

Feldner does not allow laptops or cell phones in class, but says most students will put away these devices upon first request if they are using them anyway.

“I think my policy is respect for our classroom environment. It is not arbitrary, and it is not an anti-technology statement,” Feldner said.

But many students find professors’ rules regarding technology to be very limiting.

“I think we’re paying a lot of money to sit in our classes and should therefore be allowed to use that time how we want to,” said Julia Debella, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration.

As a whole, the university implores students to make active use of technology, including campus-wide DPS email alerts and emergency text messaging. Some say a divide exists between campus policy and professors’ individual rules.

“I sometimes don’t understand why professors are so strict with cell phone use in class,” said Courtney Miklos, a sophomore in the College of Health Sciences. “I feel like they are sending mixed messages. We are adults now, so why can’t we decide what is and isn’t acceptable?”

Marquette administration does not force professors to abide by a uniform set of rules regarding in-class technology. It is up to each professor to decide what is appropriate classroom etiquette.

“I used to allow technology in class,” Feldner said. “I had multiple students complain that they felt distracted, so that’s why I now have these rules.”

While many professors may appear stubborn in their policies, they hope to satisfy all students’ needs and establish good behavior, Clark said.

“While students recognize that taking a phone call during class would be inappropriate and rude, they unfortunately don’t see texting in the same light,” Clark said. “However, texting or taking a phone call indicates that the student is more interested in communicating with that person than paying attention to the presentation or discussion in class.”

It’s a sentiment some students, including Debella, can agree with.

“When technology use becomes a distraction to other students, then it is a problem,” Debella said.

Jackson Swartout, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, believes the laptop ban in some classes hinders his ability to learn because he uses his laptop for note taking. But he also sees the benefits of such a policy.

“I know people go on StumbleUpon and Facebook all the time during class,” Swartout said. “I myself am guilty of it and I know that if laptops just weren’t allowed (in all classes), more people would pay attention to the professor.”

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

All Marquette Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *