I'm currently taking a course where I acquired the textbook as an e-book. Physical copies were available too, but I find kindle-versions far more convenient as I can read it wherever, whenever, using the kindle app on my phone.

Then naturally during lectures, I'll have my phone out (on mute of course) so that I can access the book. This is no different to any other student in the hall who have their physical copy out. In fact, I am less disturbing, because when those other students need to look something up, you'll hear pages turning, while my finger is silently scrolling my phone.

And yet, my professor doesn't seem to realize the benefits of technology and bans usage of phones. I of course do not intend to follow this policy: I've paid money for my e-book and am not going to spend more money for another physical copy just to appease this tosser.

However, my question is specifically, what should I do? Should I just keep on using my phone as usual, or should I contact some authority figure immediately? I'm not really worried about what he can do (because there's not really anything he CAN do, he can't throw me out of class or anything), but I would still like to take optimal steps.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – ff524 Nov 19 '18 at 14:38
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    Are you sure the textbook is not in the university library? – Crowley Nov 19 '18 at 18:08
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    It might be worth stopping by office hours or after class and just asking the professor how he would like you to proceed. "I would like to be able to use the textbook during class, but I only have a digital version and you don't allow phones in class. Is there a way I can be able to look at the textbook without having to purchase a new book?" – David K Nov 20 '18 at 15:09
  • Sounds like an outreach to others to justify a lack of regard for the rules set in place by those who are given such authority [ie the professor] You want to talk about how it is not a distraction to have your phone out; if you are the only one with their phone out, it is likely a distraction. Furthermore, phones tend to be distractions overall in most settings these days; much more so if you other students are paying attention, and potentially "induced" to pull out their phones for non-study purposes. What should you do? Comply with the reasonable rules that in no way infringe actual rights. – Incorporeal Logic Nov 20 '18 at 16:25
  • "I'll have my phone out (on mute of course) so that I can access the book. This is no different to any other student in the hall who have their physical copy out. In fact, I am less disturbing, ..." - As a student, I would find what you're doing more disturbing. I've been conditioned to tune out the sound of turning pages, but a phone screen (especially in a classroom where phones aren't allowed) now that's something that would distract me. You might not be like me, but enough students are. – Lord Farquaad Nov 20 '18 at 17:52

As a general rule, faculty members have wide latitude to set the policies for technology use in their courses, as well as the consequences for violating such policies, if any. So long as the policies are not excessively punitive (e.g., failing a class because your phone accidentally rings once), it is unlikely that you will gain any relief from the university administration.

So this is one of those situations where both of you have the freedom to do what you wish, but that does not spare you from the potential consequences of your actions if the faculty member decides that they are inappropriate.

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    Consequences that might possibly include James being thrown out of the class if it comes to that. – Morgan Rodgers Nov 18 '18 at 6:56

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