All new technologies come with advantages and disadvantages, and laptop computers are no exception.

While having laptops in class affords certain advantages, such as more efficient note taking, it also may allow students to goof off in previously unheard of ways.

Professors have responded to the appearance of laptops in Bowdoin's class rooms in a variety of ways. Some have decided not to confront laptops with policies that are official, others have made highly restrictive polices, and still others have treated laptops with nuanced polices that fit somewhere in-between.

Many professors, however, said they have seen few problems with laptops and have not seen reason to institute official policies concerning them.

Associate Professor of Economics Stephen Meardon said that, so far, he has seen no issue, and, he continued, "if there's no problem, there's no need for a rule."

In that vein, Associate Professor of Economics Ta Herrera said, "I am laissez faire" with regards to students' use of laptops in class.

But others professors do believe there is a problem with laptops.

Assistant Professor of Government Michael Franz said that he is quickly changing his opinion about his own "no policy" laptop policy.

Many professors agree, and they have instituted policies to deal with laptops.

"I make it clear at the beginning of the semester that I reserve the right to ask students about how they are using the laptop during class," said Associate Professor of English and Program Director of the Gay and Lesbian Studies Department Aviva Briefel in an e-mail to the Orient. "In other words, if I suspect that certain students are spacing out, or e-mailing, or surfing the Web, I can ask them what they are doing (either during or after class) and tell them not to use the laptop in class again."

Some students agree that it is a professor's right to set restrictions on laptops in class.

Erin Saint-Peters '13 said "obviously if there's a distraction [professors] should have the right to say you can't [use a laptop]. I'm even fine with professors who say you can't have them because they find key typing annoying."

Assistant Professor of Philosophy Sarah Conly does not allow laptops at all, said one student.

"She worries about laptop use because it distracts class, and there are too many other things you can do on a laptop. So she just doesn't let us use them at all," said Simon Ward '13, who has Conly for Philosophy 121, Moral Problems.

While some students accept that professors may institute policies, others take offense to prohibitive laptop measures.

One student, Stanton Cambridge '13 said that, "while professors have this preconceived notion that people may not be paying attention while we have laptops, they have to realize that we are college students and we came to college for a reason, we are beyond being juvenile, and we're not going to fool around in class."

Adjunct Assistant Professor of English Terri Nickel said she feels that laptops can add another dimension to their classes.

"[Laptops] can be a positive thing," she said.

According to Nickel, students in her class use laptops to look up topics that are being discussed at the time and to add to the discussion.

Professors remain divided on what, if anything, to do about laptops. Today, most professors are, as Herrera says "laissez faire," but it reamins to be seen whether one day Bowdoin will have a new deal.