Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Mobile Devices

In creating a mobile devices policy, consider the following questions:

  1. Are there times when having a mobile device would benefit student learning? Are there ways to clearly communicate these times to students?
  2. Are there times when having a mobile device is especially detrimental to student learning? Are there ways that you could communicate these times to students and discourage use of mobile devices at those times?
  3. If you have a zero tolerance policy for mobile devices, how will you enforce it? Will students be penalized in any way for breaking a zero tolerance policy? Will enforcing your policy be more disruptive than the original mobile device disruption?
  4. In the write-up of your mobile devices policy, have you provided a rationale? [Link to research on effects of mobile devices?]


go to checklist

As research on learning shows, unexpected noises and movement automatically divert and capture people's attention, which means you are affecting everyone’s learning experience if your cell phone, pager, laptop, etc. makes noise or is visually distracting during class.

For this reason, I [insert the option below that aligns with your sentiments]

  • ask you to turn off your mobile devices and close your laptops during class.
  • allow you to take notes on your laptop, but you must turn the sound off so that you do not disrupt other students' learning. If you are doing anything other than taking notes on your laptop, please sit in the back row so that other students are not distracted by your screen.

go to checklist