Let’s get one thing straight – when trying to focus on a mediocre PowerPoint, we find nothing more irritating than

No, Professor, Im laughing because English is soo fun.

"No, Professor, I'm laughing because your powerpoint is soo fun."

an ESPN video flickering in our field of vision. But sometimes, despite the demand for undivided attention in class, one finds they just have to be on top of that ending eBay auction, or is overcome with burning desire to catch up with an exciting new Clog post. If you’re going to indulge your ADD symptoms – and we know you inevitably will, you slacker – here are some ways to do it discreetly, without bothering the rest of us (or earning a dirty look from your GSI).

Turn your brightness down. We’d prefer our last sightto be a memorable one, considering we’re about to go blind from your eye-searing computer glare. That does not include your image search results for pics of Kim Kardashian’s dog, so keep your backlights low!

Don’t switch pages constantly. Especially if your brightness is high or the room is dim, professors can easily tell between the students who are busily taking notes, and those cycling through shopping sites. Why? The glow reflected on the user’s face changes suddenly.

Get a silicone keyboard protector. If you have a laptop with silent keystrokes, we’d like to know what model you’re using. Most laptops have noisy keyboards, so if you want to hide the fact that you’re chatting at length with a friend during a quiet lecture, get a keyboard cover. They’re great at reducing sound, and you can find them for just a few dollars online.

Use an app like Chrome’s Stylish to change colors, hide obnoxious advertisements, and to disguise that you’re actually catching up on Facebook.

Choose “no page style” in your browser preferences, which will convert most sites to pure text (and hiding images and flash content). This is especially easy to do quickly, since this option is located in the top  menu bar on many browsers.

Get a privacy filter for your laptop screen. While they can get expensive, they’re great because they not only discourage wandering eyes off your b’ness, but they protect your computer.

We hope these suggestions will help you to reduce the number of fellow students you piss off in lecture. Good luck!


Image source: Eastenhuh under Creative Commons.

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