In Class Tech

Laptop use in class

There is a fair bit of evidence using laptops and other devices in class has negative influence on student performance, or at least that it’s not positive unless a class is specifically designed to include it. While the University doesn’t have a policy to discourage device use, you might want to discourage it personally in your class. To make it easier and more seamless, here is an info slide you might want to include at the beginning of your lecture slides:

Remember that some students will have disabilities or particular circumstances where using a device in class really is helpful and good for them – something that might be worth mentioning should you decide to make general recommendations.

Social media & privacy

If you are using social media as part of your course, you might be worried about the new privacy regulations. Fortunately, the GDPR doesn’t introduce any specific new restrictions. Here is all you need to know:

  • If you use social media as part of assignments, discussions or communications with students, you might want inform your students that if they ask us to remove any data we hold on them, we will not be able to remove what they shared on the social media as we have no control over it.
  • You can even construct assignments around social media, as this is equivalent to assignments involving a public task. That is even if you’re effectively requiring the students to make it public that they study at your course.
  • You might consider special circumstances if a student approaches you with a good privacy-related reason not to participate in social media related activities.
  • You can direct the students to the Social Media Handbook which addresses privacy issues.

Feel free to download and modify the following slide to inform the students about your use of social media (no image available as slide requires filling the contact details):

Top Hat

Top Hat is a student response system available to staff and students at the University.

Note: a more recent technology, Mentimeter, has many of the same advantages as Top Hat. You can read about Mentimeter on the LT blog here.

These systems usually work as follows:

  1. Lecturer asks a question.
  2. Students respond via phone/tablet/laptop.
  3. Results appear on the screen.

Top Hat offers considerable benefits to the free services available online:

  • Wide range of question types
  • Students can participate by internet-enabled devices or SMS
  • Discussion feature allows students to submit questions during the lecture, and vote up popular questions
  • Questions can be set for homework
  • Responses can be tracked and analysed after class

University information about Top Hat

Read about how in-class voting is used in the School of Physics and Astronomy