Over the past few years, the wireless connections on the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus have increased from about 15 percent to 85 percent of campus. And while many professors are grateful for the expanded internet coverage, they are also grappling with new classroom rules to make sure students are staying on task, reports the Daily Camera. When students hide behind their laptop screens, it’s hard to tell whether they are Googling material related to the course and taking notes, or if they’re blogging, shopping, instant messaging, or playing games. Rules vary across CU classrooms: Some teachers have laptop bans in their lecture halls, some require students with computers to sit in the first few rows so they can monitor the screens, and others simply leave it to students’ discretion. But an emerging trend among college professors is to let students regulate the use of technology through social norms. Associate Professor Diane Sieber led a seminar last month for her colleagues at CU on how to handle laptops in the classroom, so they have options beyond banning laptops. Sieber, who teaches writing, ethics and "digital citizenship" to engineering undergraduates, lets her students write "social contracts" each semester to help govern the classroom. Technology-related rules are consistently high on her classrooms’ lists, with students asking that laptops be used solely for academic purposes. "They ask their classmates, ‘Please don’t watch movies on your computer, because if I’m behind you I can’t focus," she said…

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