Survey “Managing Internet Access in Law School Classrooms”

Michael Sparks the Computing Services Director at LSU Law School conducted a survey of how law schools manage wireless access in their classrooms.

The survey pdf is here: wirelesssurvey.pdf.

There were 56 responding law schools and the results should not be too surprising. Some schools are using technology to restrict student surfing by either switching off the wireless access points or by using special software that students cannot circunvent.

Other schools use social means like instructions from the faculty or the Code of Conduct to control behavior.

There are two very good sides to this issue:

If the classroom is not interesting enough to engage the students, then faculty should make it more interesting….

… and ….

Faculty have a right to control their classrooms.

I agree with both and I believe that faculty will trumps all else. It is their responsibility to create the environment that delivers the educational message in the manner they desire. This is not to say that students who surf or doodle or generally don’t pay attention cannot be considered an unspoken backchannel to the instructor. There could be value in having the students decide what the best policy is.

Multi-tasking or ‘partial continuous attention’ is a new facet of today’s millenials and just because they are looking at the screen does not mean they are not tracking the class.

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