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Creating an effective policy on electronic devices, including laptops, cell phones, and tablets, requires instructors to balance the power these tools have for student learning with the power the tools have to be a distraction.

Sample Language

Mary C. Caldwell, MUSC 2300 "Introduction to European Art Music"

Laptops and tablets (provided the latter can function as a computer) are welcome and even encouraged in class so that we can better work together on activities and readings. Phones, however, are not permitted. Learning how to resist our phones is a challenge. Everyone should silence and stow their phones for the duration of class. When you surreptitiously use your phone on your lap, flat on the desk, or furtively in your bag, both I and your classmates can see what you're doing—it distracts all of us and will result in gentle (and if it is necessary repeatedly stern) admonishment. Failure to abide by this policy will lower your participation grade.

Camille Charles, SOCI 2010 "Social Statistics"

You may use your laptop or tablet for taking notes during lecture; however, that privilege will be lost if I find that you are using them for non-course-related reasons (e.g., news, social media, shopping). All other electronic devices should be silenced and hidden (you may use your cell phone for the attendance poll or as a calculator when appropriate). If there is an emergency situation and your phone must be on/visible, please inform me of this at the beginning of class.

Wharton MBA Electronics Policy

The MBA program disapproves the use of electronic devices during any class for non-educational purposes.  Experience has shown that such use significantly disrupts learning, both for the students using the device and for others in the class. This policy separately addresses phones, laptops, and tablets.

  • Phones must be turned off and put away. If a student must keep a phone on by reason of a personal emergency, the student must inform the instructor before class begins.
  • The use of laptops and tablets is not allowed unless for educational purposes as permitted by the instructor (e.g., notetaking, reading, or data analysis).

Instructors are expected to detail in their syllabi when and how such uses are permitted and what penalties may be imposed for violations of the policy.