Do Professors Think Student "Texting" in Class is Rude?

You better believe we do!

I have never thrown a student out of one of my classes, but last semester I came close. This student spent the better portion of a 15-student discussion seminar texting on her cell phone. I warned the student twice and she did not stop!

Here is a short article from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on the generational differences between students and their professors on the issue of texting in class. A snippet:

Texting became a point of contention during a panel discussion at Pitt last semester. It stunned some professors and administrators that students couldn’t understand why texting during class, or in the middle of a face-to-face conversation, would be considered disrespectful.

Millennials don’t view that as rude or offensive, because they grew up using technology that previous generations didn’t have, said Kari Rosenkaimer, 20, a Pitt sophomore studying nursing.

“One of the most important things we want to get across to professors is that we’re not ignoring them when we’re texting,” Rosenkaimer said. “We’re still listening. We’re still taking notes. We’re just doing something urgent.”

Now I am going to get a little old and grumpy here, but a student who is texting during a face-to-face conversation with a professor is being extremely rude. I don’t care if such behavior is “part of their culture.” When they are in my office or in my classroom they are part of “my culture” and should be willing to live by my rules. (Wow, that sounded harsh–but I am going to stand by it).

Now don’t get me wrong–I am in favor of trying to incorporate technology and other gadgets into the classroom to help enhance student learning. (I am not particularly good at it, but I am willing to at least give it a shot!). But a person texting right in front of my face while I am trying to lead a discussion is unacceptable. Moreover, it is rude to those students who are devoting 100% of their mental energy to the classroom conversation.

And I will not even get into responding to the student who claims that she can take notes and text her friends at the same time…

Now I turn to my student readers: Am I being too much of an old fogey here? What do you think about student texting in class?

5 thoughts on “Do Professors Think Student "Texting" in Class is Rude?

  1. OmegaWolf: There is a part of me that agrees with you, but when I get reports from other students that another student's texting bothers them, I need to do something about it. Thanks for the post.

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  2. Your students are adults. Let them do what they want and live with the consequences of a bad grade when they don't learn the material because they were wasting their time.

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  3. Yeah, I'm not quite sure how someone is really able to defend texting during a face-to-face or classroom discussion. Even if someone accepts texting as being the new “thing” of our culture, it's still just an updated version of talking with friends. That's something I hope most people wouldn't do during class (or at the very least understand that it's rude).

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