Professors should allow students to use technology in class this fall

Alexandra Purchatzke

With the majority of classes being online this past year, switching to in-person classes in the fall will take a lot of adjustment. Many of us became accustomed to taking notes on iPads, laptops and other electronic devices. 

Unfortunately, before the pandemic moved everything online, many teachers did not allow students to use technology in their classes, preferring students to handwrite notes. For students that have only ever known online college classes, or those who prefer digital note taking, having to take notes on pen and paper could detract from the value of in-person classes. 

In order for students to get the most out of their education at UT, professors must allow students to use technology in all of their classes. 

Erik Dempsey, lecturer and assistant director of Core Texts and Ideas, does not allow his students to use technology in the classroom.

“I find that having screens in class distracts students from discussion,” Dempsey said. “I try to run my class in a way that students are paying attention to the books and paying attention to the conversation. I find screens of all sorts to be a distraction.”

While technology might distract some students, it should be the responsibility of the individual student to decide if they want to take notes and engage during class, or scroll through Twitter. Professors at UT should be able to trust their students to take their education seriously.

During remote learning, many students have found that taking notes online is not only more convenient, but also helps them take better notes. Taking notes digitally allows students to import lecture slides for a class and easily add graphics to their notes. Additionally, digital notes help students remain organized, are less likely to be lost and are easily shareable between peers.

Biology freshman Lana Mohamed likes the convenience and organization of writing notes on her iPad. 

“Even before everything (moved online) I was considering going paperless, and if it’s allowed, the plan was to take the notes digitally because it’s a compiled version of everything you need,” Mohamed said. “You don’t have to sift through papers or carry around folders and notebooks and things like that. You have it all in one space and just have it organized by day and everything already, so it’s very convenient and neat.”

For years, students have been calling on professors to allow them to use technology during class. Given that many students have been forced to use technology and take notes online for the past year, what better time than now to bring our in-person classes into the future by allowing students to use technology to take notes.

Purchatzke is a biochemistry freshman from Boerne, Texas.