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I agree that students need to send emails that are clear. I like to give my students the example of "hotmama@yahoo" who accused me of not responding to her emails. Turns out Hotmama was in my spam folder, so that is lesson #1: email me from your school account.

Otherwise, anything that comes in without identification (my students' school email is not their first and last names, so it's hard to tell) gets the following reply from me: Who are you? What class are you in?

Then the ball is in their court to write a clearer email. That doesn't clean up the texting language, but at least I know to whom I am responding. If I really can't figure it out, I just tell them to write me in regular words...by this time, we probably have class, and their question hasn't yet been addressed.

I have a small collection of unreadable emails that I can use for examples of how not to email me. I only use them when necessary!

Good luck,
Linda Russell
Minneapolis Community and Technical College
________________________________________
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Martha Krupa [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Monday, April 02, 2012 8:20 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Is it important that students learn to compose proper emails?

Hi Michele,

 It's a serious issue in my mind.  I have an e-mail protocol in my syllabus and I do not respond to students who don't follow it.  I teach more than one class at a time and we're often at different places in the syllabus.  I certainly cannot tell what issue the student is responding to without at the minimum a name instead of a student number, the course section and what assignment or issue is in question.  I have read many articles where issues of poor e-mail skills have affected the workplace.  It's like anything else let run amuck; it becomes a bad habit.  I don't think you're being a pain by holding them to a higher standard.  They may even thank you when they're out there working although I'm sure we won't ever hear it aloud.

Martha Krupa
Niagara University
Writing Coordinator

-----Original Message-----
From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Michele Doney
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2012 11:06 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Is it important that students learn to compose proper emails?

Hi all,

I'm having one of those moments when I can't tell if I'm helping prepare a student for the future, or just being a pain in the backside.  Your input will be helpful.

In the past few years, I've noticed that students have taken to sending me emails that read as if they are texting their friends.  Often there is no salutation, no closing, and very little in the way of punctuation or proper capitalization.  They make no attempt at grammar, and they use the usual texting abbreviations for words they do not wish to spell out in full.  Often, the student fails even to identify himself/herself, and when the email address is something like [log in to unmask]," I can't even work out how to address the student in my reply.  Do I start with "Dear Bronx Hottie"?  Until recently, I ignored the style and responded to the substance, if I could figure out what it was.  Lately, I have started to wonder if I am properly serving these students by not seizing the opportunity to help them learn the difference between texting their friends and writing to a member of the college staff to request assistance. It has always been my philosophy that some of the !
 most important things a student learns in college are not necessarily the things learned in the classroom.  With this in mind, I have responded to a few students by letting them know I will be happy to respond to their request if they are willing to compose a proper email.

So tell me:  Am I prompting them to think and to develop an important life skill, or am I just being a pain in the you-know-what?  Honestly, I really can't tell!

Thanks,
Michele

MICHELE COSTABILE DONEY
DIRECTOR, MATH & SCIENCE RESOURCE CENTER NCLCA CERTIFIED LEARNING CENTER PROFESSIONAL - LEVEL ONE OFFICE OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDIES JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINTAL JUSTICE
[Description: cid:3396506604_282853]
524 W 59 ST
NEW YORK, NY 10019
T.646-557-4595
F.212.237.8742


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