Why I’m Not Allowing Laptops in My Seminary Class

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dcbii's picture


If I had to take one of his classes and couldn't use my computer to do so, I wouldn't take any notes at all, then.  I can't write nearly fast enough to take enough notes to matter, and what little I do get down distracts me so that I miss the next point.  This is why I never take sermon notes either.

I attended a college class once with my daughter and saw the way she and her study group took notes using a Google doc -- all 4 of them were entering notes on the same shared document, and each could fill in something the others missed, and changes were seen by all of them.  If you have to take notes and the teacher is giving a lot of material, this is the way to do it.

On second thought, if I could get a stone tablet and a chisel and hammer, I might have tried to take a few notes like that once just to see what the teacher said.

I completely agree that any professor can set the rules for the class, but making things harder by disallowing technology that helps the student, just because it can be misused, is completely misguided.  Either he expects adults in the class or he doesn't.  He should just tell the students not to bring up games, chats, etc., and teach the class.  Those who miss out by not paying attention are only cheating themselves.

Dave Barnhart

TylerR's picture


Yes. They're paying for the class. You're paid to teach the class. Provide your product and let students take notes the way they want. If they're surfing Facebook, then their research paper will be awful and they'll likely fail the course.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

T Howard's picture

I was one of the first students at PCC to bring a laptop to class. I was able to do so for a week before I was told by the Academic VP that I could no longer bring my laptop to class because it was 1) too much of a distraction to other students and 2) an unfair advantage over other students who couldn't afford one.

So, I had to write notes in class and transfer them to my laptop after class.

I'm a guest lecturer now for one of my former MBA profs, and at the university every student usually has a laptop in class.  For a week, I was ahead of my time...

Michael_C's picture

I'm left-handed, and a much slower writer as a result. In many college classrooms, there are only right-handed desks available. Being able to take notes (and occasionally essay tests) on a laptop, was a huge help to me. My laptop allowed me to glean so much more from my classes. I was able to have my head up and engage more in the discussion, and it made it easy for me to share my notes when classmates missed a session.

FWIW If I felt my attention waning I would turn off wifi, so I wouldn't be distracted by the internet.

Jim's picture

Literally I cannot write .... I lost the ability 30 years ago when I broke my neck (lost small motor control of my hands and fingers)

But I can type! At the get go my left most finger on my left hand (the pinky) didn't work and the ring finger on the left had had to double down and do the pinky function too! After a while the picky began to move again. 

So I would appeal to the Dean ... and say ... "look I'm handicapped ..." ... and ha! ha! use a laptop and have a competitive advantage over the pen and tablet crowd