Law Professors

UW Law Prof Who Banned Laptops Says He Is Not a Luddite


A University of Wisconsin law professor is defending his decision to ban laptops in his constitutional law class.

Professor Anuj Desai tells the Wisconsin State Journal that he is not a “Luddite.”

Desai said that when he was in law school, he was the only student in his 1991 class to use a laptop computer. But his laptop had only word-processing capabilities, while computers today have wireless Internet access that offers many distractions.

Desai bans laptops in his con law class because it hampers discussion. “I want students engaged with not only what I’m saying but with what other students are saying so they can respond,” he told the publication.

Earlier this year, the University of Chicago dealt with the problem of Web-surfing law students by shutting down Internet access in most of its classrooms. A University of Memphis law professor has also banned laptops, resulting in a complaint filed with the ABA, the story says.

Ann Althouse, another UW-Madison law professor, offers another solution in an interview with the Wisconsin State Journal. “The best remedy, if you think people aren’t paying attention, is to be as interesting as possible,” she said.

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