Distracted learning can break your GPA

By Kelsey Par - Staff Reporter

Texting in class may be a hard habit to break, but it may be worth stopping to avoid breaking your GPA. 

Out of approximately 780 students from six different colleges and universities across the country, more than 90 percent admitted to texting during class on a regular basis, according to recent study from The Journal of Media Education.

To some professors, texting is a sign of disrespect and can disrupt the learning environment for the student and others. 

"It's tricky, but not impossible to tell whether a student in class is taking notes, recording a due date on their calendar, or texting with their phone. If someone is texting they can't also be learning — at least not from the class where they are physically located," said English Professor Susan Rich. "What I don't think students understand is that they create a significant distraction not only for their professor who is trying to teach, but also to other students who are trying to learn. In reality, texting harms the entire class environment," Rich said. 

Recent research from the National Communication Association states that college students who are frequently texting during class have difficulty staying attentive to classroom lectures and constantly risk having poor learning outcomes. 

Anthropology Professor Dr. Lonnie Somer said if you're expecting an important phone call or text, then you should have your phone on vibrate and leave the classroom when it occurs. 

"I do not allow texting in my classes, and I'm very strict about this," Dr. Somer said.

"For me, I draw no distinction between a student texting while I'm lecturing and a student talking. I find it very rude. In addition, it is quite distracting for me to see a student texting while I lecture. I do not use notes and seeing a student texting has a magical effect of causing me to lose my train of thought."

While some professors find texting in class to be impolite, there are other instructors who aren't offended or bothered by it. 

"I probably differ from other professors when it comes to this, but I actually don't take off points for students who text in class. In fact, if it is not distracting, I usually won't even say anything unless it becomes so out of hand that other students notice and I start even losing my own train of thought," said Dr. Victor Evans a communications professor. 

"I follow the belief that if students are spending their money for these classes and they'd rather sit in the back and text, then that's their decision as an adult to throw their money away by texting with others, rather than focusing on the knowledge I'm trying to share with them," he said.

History Professor Tim McMannon takes a more comical approach when it comes to texting in class. 

Sometimes I make fun of people, or joke about it with them, McMannon said. 

"My philosophy is that if they're not going to pay attention, they're going to get what's coming to them," he said.  

However, students distracting themselves from their learning environment isn't the only problem. 

McMannon said he has noticed that a large number of Running Start students text in his class and just because they aren't paying for these classes out of pocket, doesn't mean they should slack off. 

"They aren't paying for these classes. We, the U.S. taxpayers, are" he said. 

Psychology Professor Dr. Bob Baugher recently offered his students extra credit if they successfully went 24 hours without their phones and social media, and then wrote about their experience. 

"About 35 out of 40 students said they'd attempt it and out of those 40 students, only 6 did it," Dr. Baugher said.

Dr. Baugher said he hates it when students text in his class and he even takes points off in certain situations. 

Students, on the other hand, have a different opinion than most professors. 

Student Jenn Tran said texting in class isn't disrespectful unless you make it obvious and obnoxious. 

"I do text in class. I think it takes away from the learning, but I make sure it's brief and I go back to the lecture. I think social media apps are worse when it comes to taking away from learning. It's an automatic habit to scroll through media," Tran said. 

Student Hailey Tran said it really depends on the teacher and the situation. 

"I text in class sometimes, but I always make sure to pay attention to the teacher and what's going on," she said. 

Student Nadia Pilipchuk has a different perspective than most students.  

"I don't text in class at all. Honestly, I think it's disrespectful. You come into a teacher's class to learn and hear the lecture but if you're going to be on your phone, there's no point in being in the class," she said.

"If you're talking to someone else you can't also be learning. There's no such thing as multitasking, we're always doing one thing more than the other," Pilipchuk said.

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