Office of Student Affairs

Guidelines for Electronic & Wireless Devices in the Classroom


Electronic and wireless devices have become an integral part of modern life. These devices allow for ready access to knowledge and continuous connectivity. It is important to acknowledge not only the power of electronic/wireless devices but also the appropriate use of these devices. The guidelines outlined below provide the College of Health Sciences community, including faculty, staff and students, with a framework directing the use of wireless and electronic devices in the classroom.

Any inappropriate use of electronic/wireless devices will be subject to the rules and consequences of the Academic Misconduct Policy and the College of Health Sciences Honor Code


Guidelines for Students

Using electronic or wireless devices in the classroom is a privilege, not a right. The use of these devices in the classroom is permitted on a class-by-class basis at the discretion of the instructor. Instructors may, at their discretion, reduce points awarded for participation in class or other graded activities for the inappropriate use of electronic or wireless devices. This includes when such devices are required for the course but not available due to student error. Students should follow the policies outlined in the course syllabus, and clarify with the instructor if they have questions about these policies. Students who have a need for these devices as specified by a VISA from the Student Accessibility Center should present the VISA to the instructor at the earliest opportunity.

Electronic/wireless devices are increasingly required for classroom activities. If required, the student is responsible for purchasing and maintaining these devices. This responsibility includes purchase, maintenance, registration/activation, maintaining the power source, and bringing these devices to class in good working order. Students should consult the course syllabus or the instructor regarding the specifics for devices required. UWM students may be eligible to check out laptop computers from the library multimedia lab in the East Wing of the UWM Golda Meir Library. For more information, visit the UWM library website.

It is important that electronic/wireless devices are used appropriately. The guidelines below are to direct the proper use of these devices in the classroom:

Remember that students are in the classroom for one reason: to learn. The use of electronic/wireless devices during class should be restricted to in-class activities, including taking notes, viewing the lecture slides presented by the instructor, or accessing the internet for class-related information. Do not assume you can use these devices. Rather, check with the instructor and reference the course syllabus.

As a student you have the right to request that a classmate cease the inappropriate use of any electronic/wireless devices. You also have the right to speak to the instructor for accommodations if you find any use of wireless/laptop devices distracting. Be aware that some students, for a variety of reasons, have permission to use devices in class.


Tips for Successful Use of Electronic/Wireless Devices:

Don’t distract yourself
  • Avoid activities unrelated to the course including, but not limited to:
    • completing assignments for other courses
    • checking email during class
    • communication unrelated to in-class activities (i.e., voice, email, text messaging, etc.)
    • surfing the web or visiting websites unrelated to in-class activities
    • playing games, listening to music or watching videos
Don’t distract others
  • Set all devices including all sound alerts to “vibrate” or “mute” during class
  • Do not place or accept calls or text messages during class
    • if a true personal emergency call is anticipated, speak directly to the instructor before the start of class. Sit near an exit and quietly leave the room to accept the call.
  • Minimize set-up time
    • arrive with sufficient time to set up laptops, etc., before class begins. Set-up must be completed before class begins.
  • Be aware of potentially distracting typing or clicking
  • Follow all “device prohibited” times
    • Special events or guest speakers
    • Exams/quizzes
    • Any other time designated by the instructor
    • In case of a campus emergency for which a SAFE Alert is issued, the instructor will be responsible for communicating relevant information to the class
  • Be sensitive to and respect privacy concerns of others
  • Respect the request of a classmate or the instructor to cease the use of any and all electronic/wireless devices.