Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Estella, the Mistress of Etiquette, With Some Email Rules.

I never want to become one of those “nit-picky” instructors, but I am going to have to about one thing… email communication.

For a generation that has ALWAYS communicated through technology, they are some of the worst users I have ever encountered. I think that it has little to do with knowledge of technology etiquette, but pure, unadulterated, narcissism. “This is from me, it’s obviously very important, I don’t need to follow simple etiquette rules.”

I am going to have to address this next semester, as part of my first day lecture…

  1. Use the student email system. I know some of you are older and already have work email, and personal email and don’t want to add another one for school, but you don’t have a choice. The college said you have to use it. I have to use it too, and it’s just my part time job. I was lax last semester since it was the first time we had student email, but not now. Can you go into a job and tell your boss, you’d prefer to use your gmail account at work? You can’t do it here either. Plus, I don’t know which one of you is “sweetbaby69@yahoo,” so you really need to start using the student email, which is based on YOUR NAME. And you need to change that email address. I used to hire recent college grads, and people with that type of email address did NOT get called back.

  2. Put a subject line in your email. Seriously. We don’t have the type of relationship where I read just anything you send me. That’s for lovers, friends, families, and supervisors (I need my job.) I used to work with someone who NEVER put subjects on his emails. We used to call his emails JRIB’s (just read it, bitches.) It was rude and wrong; however, he was the VP of the territory and my boss’s boss. You are my student. You need a subject line. Furthermore, please do not think that responding to an email I previously sent (which had subject line, I’m a professional) constitutes a subject line. When you respond to my beginning of the semester “Welcome Students” email right after the mid-term exam, I’m just going to assume your email says “Welcome to you, too!” and delete it – even though it was probably a question about your grade. But, how was I supposed to know that? If you can’t bother to start a new message and type in my email address, which can be found on the SYLLABUS and in the look-up feature for the system (but you have to know my name), at least change the previous subject line when you respond to my old one.

  3. Use your name in your document title when you save it. I instruct two classes, that’s generally 30+ written assignments, three times a semester. “My paper,” “Paper 1,” and “Paper” are not good document titles - EVER. This reminds me of back in the day, when doc titles could only contain 8 letters. We’re on Word 2007 now people, you can title your document anything you want, with as many letters as you want, and even using a few symbols (gasp!) Try a title like, “Jane Doestranolpouskis – Paper 1.” See, I can tell the writer and the assignment. And even though her name is long, it still works. And if, god-willing, I give you the opportunity to re-write (as you will probably need it), try “Jane Doestranolpouskis – Paper 1 – Rewrite.” Beautiful.

  4. PUT YOUR FUCKING NAME ON THE ASSIGNMENT. Seriously, this is kindergarten, nursery school really. IT REALLY SUCKS when you call the document “My Paper” AND you don’t put your name on the assignment either. Why should I have to trace your assignment back to the email (with no subject line, from “sweetbaby69”) to figure out who wrote it so I can put the grade in Blackboard. This pisses me off, and I might, just possibly, forget a few grades points while I’m trying to figure out the paper owner. Think about it.