There used to be a big problem with cell phones ringing during class. That doesn't happen very often any more. Two reasons: 1) experience evolving into etiquette, and 2) the students are ALWAYS using their phones, so there is NO CHANCE for them to go off.
What am I blathering about? Students are now constantly texting or web-surfing on their phones. Up til this point, I hadn't cared. You want to ignore part of the class? Fine, I know it'll show up in your grade. However, for the first time, the correlation between attendance and performance has waned in my astronomy courses. Even the students who know it's rude to use the cell phone during class feel no remorse about jumping in and out of the classroom to use it. So now it has turned into a distraction for more than just the user. Which is funny, as you'd think the cell phone ringing would be more annoying, but it isn't. I have a couple of specific examples from this last semester that have motivated me to come up with a long, clear cell phone policy for my syllabi. Here's a first draft:
CELL PHONE POLICY
All electronic devices must be turned to “silent” before class starts. Cell phones should not be in use during the class period at any time. Usage includes answering the phone, making calls, sending and receiving text messages, browsing the internet, listening to music, taking or looking at photographs or using the phone as a calculator. If such usage is noted by the instructor, the student will be asked to leave class for the day.
Any usage of a cell phone during an exam will mean that the student is finished with the exam, and the exam must be turned in to the instructor at that time.
If there is an extenuating circumstance (ex: on-call at work, family emergency) that means that the student must be in contact via voice/text messaging, the student must inform the instructor at the beginning of the class period. Any voice/text messaging in that case must be conducted outside of the classroom. The student will be as silent as possible in this situation out of respect to fellow classmates and the instructor.
Comments? Suggestions? HELP!?!?! Sadly, this is now the longest part of the syllabus!!!!