Student’s Laptop Use Leads to Professor’s Arrest – Same Story-2 Different Discussion Threads

Why is it important to consider you audience when you create and facilitate discussions? Do your summaries/comments ever create a bias that does not really represent the overall conversation?

An assistant professor of mass media at Valdosta State University, in Georgia, was arrested last week on charges of battery after a confrontation with a student over enforcing a school rule about using social media in class led him allegedly to close the lid of the student’s laptop computer on her hands, according to The Spectator, the campus’s student newspaper.

Many students are concerned about the future of Rybicki’s classes and losing the professor. Some, like Josias Valdez, mass media major, feel he was simply enforcing a school rule about using social media in class, and that he shouldn’t be blamed for that. The university said it was investigating the incident and ordered students in the class not to talk about it.

One article appear in the The Chronicle of Higher Education and the other  in The Spectator, the student newspaper of  Valdosta State University.  The comments related to each of the articles are interesting and reflects the audience of each publication. The (Chronicle = faculty and  the Spectator=students). both series of comments seemed to favor the faculty member.

However, here are a couple of comparisons based on a couple of comments I curated form the thread. Do these comment represent  each discussion?   Do the chosen   summary comments  create a  bias that does not really represent the overall conversation?  Do you ever find you inject your own biases  when you facilitate online? Why or why not?


  • Regardless of the college procedures to which the students should be held accountable, students will continue to surf in class or, in the case of those of us who teach General Education classes, we endure students working on assignments for their “real” classes during lecture or discussion.
  • I’ll start caring about where students are surfing during class as soon as my colleagues stop surfing random sites during meetings.
  • if you give students a REASON to pay attention, they will.
  • It’s called instructional design. Too bad so many faculty members have never heard of it.


  • I was in the class, this student blew this up. It should have ended when we left class. The student, a female, thinks her stuff doesn’t stink and she thinks she is better than anyone. (i.e. a picture on her facebook says “yep, I’m basically perfect”) She got called out and embarrassed in front of class and now she is making a big deal to grab the attention.
  • Team Rybicki!!! The student is a complete drama queen and was asked multiple throughout the semester to close her computer. The student has also been in previous classes with this professor and has been a distraction to all the students in her classes!
  • No one here needs to get involved in’s none of their business! I’ve heard the story direct from the person involved and other people in the class and it’s being settled with the people involved in the incident. It’s no one else’s business but theirs so let it be! The published story isn’t completely factual so until all the facts are brought to light, no one should be talking about it honestly.

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