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Friday, 26 November 2010

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Ahistoricality

With all due respect to your praxis, which is sound, the idea that a 400 person lecture has some sort of "intellectual energy" which is degraded by 1-2% of the class texting is well into prima donna territory. "he cares" is a pretty weak case given that he's trying to teach philosophy by dramatic monologue.

Clio

I'm confused. If people use a cellphone in class, they are obviously waiting time, but if students use paper or their computer, they are obviously paying attention? I've frequently used a cellphone to take notes, if my computer was in the shop or accidentally forgotten.

How about you let your students use whatever technology is easiest for them, and encourage attention in other ways - such as a backchannel, polling programs, and asking students to write a two-minute response to a question and pass them to the aisle?

It is fine to point out to your student that maintaining eye contact in class is professional etiquette, but indirectly accusing students of public masturbation because they do not use the technology of your choice is not courteous either. It would be better to risk letting students "get away" with texting, especially when it really comes down to a personal pet peeve.

tomemos

Clio, no one's accusing anyone of masturbating--get a sense of humor--but I'm happy to accuse you of being obtuse. You're not confused, you're just disingenuously ignoring the obvious: pen and paper are great at note-taking and not so great at distraction, whereas a phone is abysmal at note-taking but just phenomenal at providing distractions. (A computer is between those poles; I don't allow them in my seminars, which aren't note-intensive anyway.)

Vance Maverick

self-phone

Nice -- very Yglesias, and keeps the association with self-abuse working.

Mary Stack

I wonder if you heard about the professor who yelled at a student for yawning? While texting, or talking is a voluntary action, yawning is not. I thought it was bad form on his part because the student could easily have a sleep disorder, or a myriad of other reasons to involuntary react, and none of them having to do with boredom

Martin Wisse

That Thomas fella comes across as a dick more than a hero, but than i'm suspicious of superstar lecturers with waiting lists for 400 member classes anyway. If a few people are texting and you notice, instead of ruining the lesson for all 400 people by walking out, why not warn or eject the miscreants?

Anon.

The idea that every second of a two-hour lecture is important or worth listening to is absolutely ludicrous. When the lecturer is answering the same question for the third time in a row because some moron isn't getting it, you bet your ass I'm going to use my phone or computer.

nutellaontoast

"But I'm here to talk about how to discourage students from texting in class, not complain about the cookie-cutter education so many students are receiving."

I think they're pretty related. Students would engage a lot more if they weren't forced to pay through the nose for an environment that does nothing to foster learning. I tell everyone I can that doing two years at a community college is the best thing educationally, since your first two years at a "real" school will be spent entirely in gigantic, useless classrooms.

Fighting cell phone use in class is a laudable goal, but if that prof really wanted to be a hero, he'd fight gigantic lecture classes that help no one.

tomemos

Anon, every second of a two-hour movie isn't essential either, but I hope you don't text in movie theaters. Not because it's disrespectful to the cast and crew, but because it's distracting to the other people in the theater. I've sat in lecture halls and seen how what's going on on one computer screen draws the attention of those sitting nearby, causes them to go to the same website, etc.

Auguste
I wonder if you heard about the professor who yelled at a student for yawning? While texting, or talking is a voluntary action, yawning is not.

Not only that, it has less than nothing to do with boredom. Unless the professor is talking so endlessly that he or she is sucking all the oxygen out of the room.

Emarsh

I have had a problem this semester with students talking in the back of my small classroom. This is fairly uncommon, so I wasn't quite ready for it. I did the same thing you do, by rearranging the tables so everyone can see everyone else, and it stopped immediately. They were suddenly accountable to their peers (and me) and had nowhere to hide. The day I first did this was the most productive day of that class. As far as texting is concerned, I don't really care about that, so long as they are not making noise or distracting others. I figure they will get out of the class what they put in. I did notice, though, that texting halted as well, although I said nothing about it.

优文网

The idea that every second of a two-hour lecture is important or worth listening to is absolutely ludicrous. When the lecturer is answering the same question for the third time in a row because some moron isn't getting it, you bet your ass I'm going to use my phone or computer.

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