Computer etiquettewe need it

The hallowed hall of Marsh Life 235 witnessed a crime on Thursday, Sept. 6. Ten criminals were spotted leaving the building, MacBook Pros in hand.

They are wanted for the following charges: general misconduct and severe distraction in the classroom.

One hour and 15 minutes earlier, I entered the scene of the crime. Room 235 was its normal self, with people streaming into the classroom and awkwardly squeezing through the rows to sit with friends. Notebooks were opened, pens were found, and the professor began the lecture.

It was then that things got ugly. Finding myself surrounded by people using laptops instead of notebooks, I had hoped that the iridescent glow would not be distracting. How very wrong I was.

Less than 15 minutes into the lecture, my computer-bearing neighbors abandoned note taking, and soon the horror began.

The screens, once unassumingly blank, morphed into a tornado of shifting faces. The lady sitting in front of me flew from Facebook to Etsy to YouTube in seconds. The gentleman on my left checked Twitter and played Minecraft.

My eyes tried to look at the chalkboard and at the computer screens at the same time. The result massive distraction and a mounting headache.

Were these students so consumed in their own little worlds that they never considered how their Internet surfing habits would affect those around them? And really, why go to class if all they did was goof off?

After surviving this crime of classroom etiquette, I researched whether this aberrant behavior was normal. Indeed, a Harvard Business Review study found that 62 percent of screens open during class have nothing to do with the course itself.

That means only 38 percent of students with laptops are using them for class related purposes. This is bad news for the student who is easily lured into the distractions of the Internet, and also for everyone around them.

Taking notes on a laptop is fine. Word documents by themselves are not distracting its the changing of screens and flashing images that drive those trying to pay attention in class to insanity.

The classroom is a shared space we must remember to be considerate in what we do and how it influences others.

If you take a laptop to class, be polite by sitting in the back rows. Most of all, please limit the amount of time allocated for perusing the Internet.

And if anyone sees these computer-distracting criminals on campus, feel free to give them a stern glare and a piece of your mind.