La Profesora Abstraída

Weblog of Michelle Dion, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, at McMaster University. My blog has moved to Visit my other website.

Friday, August 11, 2006

New additions to my fall syllabi

Since I was on leave in 04-05, last year (05-06) was my first year at Tech where laptops and wireless access were ubiquitous on campus and in the classroom. I can tell which students are using laptops for notes and which are using them to IM or browse the web (i.e., those with blank stares, very little typing or eye movement to the front of the classroom, etc.).

Usually, I would ask those students questions when they appeared distracted, and often that would get them back on task. Sometimes, I would joke with them about what they might be looking at to get their attention. (Humor is my preferred way to deal with such classroom issues.) I used to think those students are just hurting themselves, not unlike sleepy students, so I'd tend to ignore them. (My classroom is pretty animated and interactive, and if they're tuned out, there's not much more I could do to engage them.)

However, last spring, I had some students specifically complain that the web habits of other students were distracting during class. This realization has led to the following addition to my fall syllabi (new material in italics):
Course attendance and participation, 20%
Your success in the seminar will require regular attendance and active participation in class discussions. To be able to participate actively in the discussion, you must have done the reading prior to class and you must attend class regularly. The quality, not quantity, of your participation is the key to a superior class participation grade. Asking thoughtful or insightful questions is just as important as answering questions posed by others in the class. Absences, tardiness, cell phone disruptions and abuse of internet technologies (e.g., web browsing/IMing during class) will adversely affect your participation grade.

posted by Michelle @ 7:31 PM,


At 8/12/2006 1:06 AM, Blogger Chris Lawrence said...

I'm stealing that for my syllabi.

At 8/12/2006 7:05 AM, Blogger Elenamary said...

I love that in syllabi! It is such an easy way to get 20%.

At 8/25/2006 12:33 AM, Blogger Andrea said...

That was something that I couldnt believe the first time I was in a classroom at Gatech. It made me feel sick of TECHnology


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