The idiocy of students using laptops during class for everything except learning has been identified and bemoaned in recent issues of the Student, but this may constitute the “small” part of the problem.
The larger problem is that for this in-class behavior to occur, the professor obviously has not engaged the students in the class, because if he or she had, the students wouldn’t have time or opportunity to engage in such behavior. Back of this problem, I hypothesize, is the even bigger problem of classes so large that the students are inherently disengaged to a degree that no number of techno-clickers, power-point slides or 3D visual experiences can overcome. This, I hypothesize, is the bigger, deeper, far more serious damage done by escalating class sections of 70, 100, 200 or 300 students when, by their very nature, smaller classes of 40 students or fewer are far more conducive to productive faculty-student engagement and learning.
This, of course, is merely a hypothesis: facts must be gathered; data must be analyzed; conclusions must not be drawn hastily; years of poring over statistical records are required; the numerical boundary between small and large class size must be pinpointed down to five decimal places.
In the meantime, there are new student centers to build; task forces to task; mission, vision and value statements to be re-written; a new provost to train and plans made to celebrate the fourth century for Miami, which is only 98 years away and ticking.