What’s a Prof to Do When Students Text and Surf in Class?

EL PASO — I do not want to be a technology police officer in the classroom yet I sometimes feel like one. I am troubled by the number of students using cell phones to text and laptops to surf the web during my lectures. This seems to be even more of an issue in larger and bigger classrooms. As UTEP’s student population grows (over 20,000 at the start of this academic year), each semester there seem to be more students enrolling in my lecture classes, and more instances of technology disrupting my classroom teaching. Early in the semester, actually on day one and week one of each class, students and I go over the course syllabi and we review the goals and objectives for each class. This is the time where I usually explain expectations in my courses, including the use of technology.