Lectures are Tech-Free

Active use of laptops and other technology (e.g., cell phones, tablets) require instructor permission.

Why is the class tech-free?

Technology can be very useful, and we will harness technology in specific ways in this course. However, research suggests that the benefits of technology depend on where and when we use it. Lectures and sections will be tech-free in this course unless specifically indicated. This policy is based on careful analysis of the scientific literature as well as surveys and discussions with Psych 101 students. Research, including from our own course, shows that in a large class such as this one, using a laptop in class is associated with poorer grades for both laptop users and for their neighbors. Evidence also suggests (including evidence from our own course) that tech-free policies improve student grades and engagement. Consider lecture-time to be a place to take a break from your tech and be mindful and present. We understand that “life happens.” If you are expecting an important message during class that requires you to check your phone, talk to Dr. Hard or Grisham. Feel free to step out for brief breaks to check texts, emails, etc.

Can I get permission to use a laptop?

Although research suggests tech-free lectures are better for students, on average, students sometimes have different needs. If you feel strongly that not using a laptop will impair your learning in this class, you should reach out to Professor Hard or Grisham at to discuss your needs. Anyone seen using a laptop in class must have instructor approval and a signed agreement indicating that the laptop will be used exclusively for notetaking. Cell phones are not permitted during class except for taking attendance or other instructor-specified activities.

Please note that following our tech-free policy is part of being a responsible member of our course community. Students who disrupt the learning of themselves and others with unauthorized and off-task technology use may lose attendance credit for the day, which can impact whether the final exam is "optional."

How can I take notes?

To assist you with taking notes by hand, we will release a lecture outline on Sakai at least 24 hours before each lecture to preview major topics and concepts. Please reach out to us if you need tips or advice for effective notetaking.