In the past year or so, many law schools have concluded that laptops and access to the Internet may have become a distraction or hindrance to student engagement in the classroom. Some law professors such as, at Villanova Law School, have banned laptops in class. Albany Law School has decided to turn off Internet access in the classrooms as did the University of Chicago School of Law.
Here’s an excerpt from the statement from the Albany administration to students:
… We are setting up a four-week trial period in which wireless Internet access is shut down in the classrooms from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, starting Tuesday, January 19 (no Monday classes because of MLK Day). This will not impact access to the Internet outside the classrooms.
For those faculty members who use the wireless network as a teaching tool, ITS will have the ability to turn on access during their class time on an automated basis, when requested by the faculty member.
At the end of the four-week trial period, we will evaluate the results and determine, with your input, whether we should continue the program. Thank you!
Will this ban have a positive impact on student learning??
Do we need to also look for other solutions that will help professors maintain the students’ attention in class?
Are there other ways to increase student engagement besides turning off the Internet?
How often will ITS have to make exceptions and turn the wireless back on in classrooms (per faculty request)?
Stay tuned for more on this subject (after the 4 week trial period)…