I was pleased to see the Tribune report on the recently approved guidelines for the use of mobile computing and communications devices (MC2) in classrooms at McGill ("Guidelines proposed for laptop ban," September 21). I would encourage interested students to consult the full document, available on the TLS home page (mcgill.ca/tls). However, while the guidelines do clearly state that one option for instructors is to ban MC2 devices in their classes, the article neglects to mention the other two possibilities, namely that devices may be allowed under specified conditions or as long as they are not disruptive.
The APC Working Group on Guidelines for Acceptable Use of MC2 Devices was created in response to instructor and student concerns about the sometimes inappropriate nature of the use of MC2 devices in classes and the resulting distraction for other students and the instructors. The Working Group, which included four professors and four students, was mandated to produce guidelines that would help instructors create a climate of respect and understanding in support of individual and collective positive classroom experiences. During the 2009-2010 year, the Working Group surveyed the McGill community widely through a representative sample of 1,000 students and 300 instructors, compiled an inventory of best practices at peer institutions, and conducted a comprehensive literature review. This data informed the development of the McGill guidelines, which then benefited from input from relevant academic committees and individuals with pertinent administrative experience and specialized knowledge.
It is our hope that the guidelines will encourage discussion about appropriate teaching and learning environments at McGill, as such discussions can only benefit all concerned.
Laura Winer, PhD
Chair, APC Working Group on Guidelines for Acceptable Use of MC2 Devices
Associate Director, Teaching and Learning Services