If this is a 2nd gen shuffle, are you using the USB docking cable that originally came with the shuffle (with a mini-dock)? The cable for the 3rd and 4th gen shuffle does not work with the 2nd gen shuffle because the connector is different.
If you are using the correct cable, make sure the laptop is connected to its power adapter (so that it's not running on battery power). If there are other USB devices connected, you should try it with the shuffle as the only device. If it still does not work, confirm the USB port is working properly by connecting something else to the same port, preferably something similar like a USB flash drive or external drive.
If that doesn't help (and the USB port is confirmed to be working), you may have a faulty USB docking cable or there may be a hardware problem on the shuffle, such as bad headphones jack or faulty logic board.