3.17 Personal Electronic Devices in the Classroom


The University of Northern Iowa is committed to the appropriate and effective use of technology in the classroom to enhance the quality of student learning. This policy addresses student use of personal electronic devices in the classroom.

Policy Statement

Every instructor at the University of Northern Iowa has the authority to restrict or prohibit the use of personal electronic devices in his or her classroom, lab, or any other instructional setting. It is expected that instructors will communicate, both verbally and in writing via course syllabi, their policies regarding student use of electronic devices. It is also incumbent upon instructors to make reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities through the Student Disability Services office.

While the technologies may change, examples of such technology include, but are not limited to, computer hardware and software, cellular phones, personal digital assistants (PDA’s), programmable calculators, and portable recording devices of any kind (audio or visual).

While students may, with instructor approval, use personal electronic devices in the classroom to take notes or do work that is relevant to the class, the following activities are considered disruptive to student learning and are generally prohibited when the class is in session unless specifically authorized by the instructor:

  • using personal electronic devices to engage in any activity that violates UNI policies and procedures
  • using personal electronic devices during examinations
  • using personal electronic devices to cheat or plagiarize (see Student Academic Ethics Policy: http://www.uni.edu/policies/301)
  • communicating with others via e-mail, instant or text messaging during class time using cell phone, computer, or other electronic device, unless expressed permission is given by the instructor
  • engaging in any research, work, or Internet “surfing” not authorized by the instructor
  • recording or transmitting via audio or visual technology any lecture, tutorial, written material or other type of class material without first obtaining the instructor’s consent
  • duplicating, storing or transmitting material that violates copyright law
  • accessing, creating, distributing, or transmitting abusive, slanderous, libellous, discriminatory, sexually explicit, or pornographic material
  • harassing, bullying or threatening another individual (see Sexual Misconduct Policy: http://www.uni.edu/policies/315)
  • vandalizing, damaging, or disabling property of the University of Northern Iowa.

UNI Faculty Senate, approved October 24, 2011
President’s Cabinet, approved August 2012