Inside Higher Ed, Should Profs Leave Unruly Classes?:
Professors routinely complain about students who spend class time on Facebook or texting their friends or otherwise making it clear that their attention is elsewhere. But is it acceptable for a faculty member to deal with these disruptions by walking out of class?
Two years ago, a Syracuse University professor set off a debate with his simple policy: If he spots a student texting, he will walk out of class for the day.
Now two faculty members at Ryerson University, in Toronto, sparked discussion at their institution with a similar (if somewhat more lenient) policy -- and their university's administrators and faculty union have both urged them to back down, which they apparently have.
The Ryerson professors' policy was first reported last week in The Eyeopener (the student newspaper) .... Two professors who teach an introductory engineering course in chemistry jointly adopted a policy by posting it on the courses' Blackboard sites. ... [T]he professors said that after three warnings about disruptions such as cell phone discussions and movies playing on laptops, the professors would walk out of class -- and students would have to learn the rest of that day's material themselves. ...
The student newspaper described a chaotic environment in the class where the faculty members made the threat to walk out, with loud chatting among students and even paper airplanes being shot around the room. ...
I've never had law students behave remotely this badly. About the most disruptive conduct I've faced is students leaving class, presumably to go to the bathroom. One year I really lost my temper about that and told the class "If you can't hold it for the whole class, buy some Depends." As you can imagine, my evaluations that semester tanked.
Frankly, I'm not at all sure what I'd do if faced with the level of disruption that took place at Ryerson. Walking out seems like the only option. Any other ideas?