We love those teachers that let us get away with any form of electronic devices in the classroom. After all, class is boundEtiquette Guide - Laptops In Class to get a little boring from time to time, and considering that humans have an average attention span a little less than that of a goldfish, a computer can be a good thing to have around. But when there are a few hundred other people sitting in the same lecture hall as you – there are some basics you should adhere to.

DON’T: Keep your volume on. Nobody wants to hear the start-up sound of your MacBook, as refreshing as it may be. Just take a second to hit the mute button right before you leave your dorm so that you don’t accidentally expose your embarrassing affinity for Justin Bieber as you prop open your laptop in that 8 a.m. Economics lecture.

DO: Turn down the brightness. If you’re anything like us and you have to survive through four straight hours of class every day, you’re going to need every drop of battery life, and it starts with being efficient on your power supply. Closing all those unnecessary programs that you won’t be making use of helps a tad bit too. As much as we all hate Internet Explorer, it won’t eat up as much of your precious battery that Google Chrome may.

DON’T: Watch movies or videos. Having text or lecture slides on your screen is boring enough that it won’t attract anyone else’s attention, but once you fire up a pirated copy of The Bourne Legacy, people’s eyes will probably be drawn to its sheer terribleness. And once too many heads start turning, the professor’s going to know that something is going on.

DO: Check your Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Just kidding on the last one… nobody uses Google+. This is so you can clear your notifications bar and respond to any messages that may be urgently pending. But, don’t lose yourself in the depths of social media so that the next time you look up, your professor’s already a dozen lecture slides ahead of you.

DO: Actually take notes. Most people already take notes in humanities class where old-school professors read from text on a PowerPoint presentation, but it’s not a bad idea to give it a shot in your science and math classes. If your professor puts the lecture slides online, you can use Adobe Reader to write notes directly on those slides. And if you take a few minutes to become fluent in Microsoft Word’s equation editor, you can bring your laptop to that multivariable calculus class where the professor’s always going too fast for your liking.

DON’T: Go to the bathroom without it. Some students here at Cal really like technology, and they’d gladly take that brand new 16-inch Asus off your hands if the opportunity presents itself. It’s probably better to not give them that chance – even if it means holding it a couple seconds longer while you pack away your stuff.

You’ll notice that when you walk into a classroom nowadays, you’ll hear more tapping of keys than scratching of pencils. It’s definitely a good thing, and feel free to join in. But, be respectful of the class, and your peers. We’re still here to learn – even if only a little bit – after all.

Image source: markkow under Creative Commons


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