Law School Laptop Bans

This week’s Chronicle of Higher Education has a front-page story Law Professors Rule Laptops Out of Order in Class which reports on new laptop use policies or procedures at the University of Chicago; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Michigan; Florida International; Georgetown; Harvard; and the University of Wisconsin.  Recently, in an editorial in the Stanford Daily, students themselves asked the university to “Consider limiting wireless access in class.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education piece discusses the pros and cons of various policies and also the technical difficulty of effecting a ban.  It quotes several law professors, including David Cole from Georgetown who offers this interesting observation:

Several weeks into one of his law classes last year, he asked the students what they thought of the ban, letting them respond anonymously. Roughly three-quarters of the students said they favored a no-laptop policy. And 95 percent said they had used their machines for purposes other than taking notes.