Flashcard question: texting/social networking in class (fall semester 2011)

Astronomy 210, Physics 205A, fall semester 2011
Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA

Near the end of their first day of class think-pair-share activity using flashcards to answer syllabus quiz questions, students in introductory astronomy and college physics courses at Cuesta College were asked a subjective question regarding their attitudes towards texting and social networking phone use in class.

Texting/social networking is acceptable behavior in class.
(A) Strongly disagree.
(B) Disagree.
(C) Neutral.
(D) Agree.
(E) Strongly agree.

Student responses
Astronomy 210
Section 70158
(A) : 9 students
(B) : 10 students
(C) : 12 students
(D) : 1 student
(E) : 0 students

Astronomy 210
Section 70160
(A) : 15 students
(B) : 9 students
(C) : 3 students
(D) : 0 students
(E) : 0 students

Physics 205A
Sections 70854, 70855
(A) : 21 students
(B) : 6 students
(C) : 16 students
(D) : 5 students
(E) : 0 students

Students were asked to explain their responses during the following whole-class discussion. Most responses were along the lines of texting/social networking being "distracting," "inappropriate," and "disrespectful," but some students remarked that emergency contact purposes (or similar circumstances) might be considered acceptable use.

These responses and student opinions were then used to set the policy, via consensus, regarding texting and social networking during class time (inappropriate, to be used with discretion in extenuating circumstances).

The one astronomy student who responded with "agree" for texting/social networking as acceptable behavior in class explained that it could be okay if in-class work was completed, while waiting for other students/groups to complete their work, and instructor was not lecturing. This was subsequently responded to by other students, saying they would frown upon any type of smartphone use in class.

No comments: