Surfing the Web may soon disappear entirely from Georgetown classrooms, as a growing number of professors enact policies either banning or discouraging laptop use during lectures and discussion sections

By Kevin Suyo
Published: February 9, 2009

For David Goldfrank, a professor in the department of history, the turning point came at the beginning of a World History II discussion section in 2007.

“I started with a directed question, and the student replied, ‘Wait a minute, please. I need to turn on my computer where I have my notes,’” Goldfrank said. “[ … As a professor,] I don’t want to know what is in your computer; I want to know what is in your head.”

From then on, Goldfrank said, he has banned laptops from all of his classes.

With these sorts of policies, Georgetown follows an increasingly popular trend that has been documented at colleges nationwide, including Yale University and The George Washington University.

Georgetown Law Professor David Cole conducted a test in one of his courses that resulted in 80 percent of students stating that they are more engaged without their computers in class, 70 percent of students liking his no-laptop policy, and 95 percent of students confessing that they had used their laptop for purposes not relating to the course material, he said in a recent Op-Ed in The Washington Post. . . . --NewsHammer 2/15/2009

Continue reading the Feb 9, 2009 article from Georgetown University's The Hoya.


  1. Alan Gillis // 3/24/2009 9:11 AM  


    In-class laptop use sparks backlash, possibly lower grades

    Alan Gillis Comment in The Hoya 02/18/09 10:44 pm

    There's note-taking and then there's Internet lust. Even note-taking is problematic from what I recall of my university days. You would think by now a real lecture theater solution would have been found. It's simple. Profs should supply transcripts of their lectures. No laptops, no note taking. After the lecture you underline and annotate. Being able to listen to the lecture is the thing, rather than frantically trying to make sure you won't miss anything when you're always a hundred words behind what's being said.

    It is happening at some universities where course material is published on the Internet including videos, some of it freely available to non-registered students or anyone like at MIT, MITOpenCourseWare,
    . . . .