Student Voice

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Opinion

Profs need to answer emails

October 27, 2006

For almost every class I have taken at UW-River Falls and two other institutions, professors have dedicated the first day of class to handing out the syllabi and meticulously reading through them, section by section.

Though some professors prefer to put the necessary information on Web sites like D2L or send them via e-mail, the majority still print out enough copies for everyone to have.

At the top of each syllabus, the teacher’s name, office location, office hours, etc., are included to make it easier for students to locate them in case of arising questions or concerns. A telephone number, sometimes both office and home, and an e-mail address are usually included.

When the Internet and e-mail are common forms of personal communication, it would be absurd for a professor to not offer this as a lifeline to their students.

For students and other computer-savvy people, e-mail is the fastest and easiest way to communicate. For members of the Voice, I’ve observed that getting in contact through e-mail is often quicker than calling a cell phone or text messaging.

If someone doesn’t want to be bothered with the hassle of sitting at a computer responding to students by typing, then don’t give me your e-mail on the syllabus.

I’ve had conversations with my professors numerous times over e-mail. Usually it’s a question-and-answer type of a conversation, and most commonly the language is not 100 percent following English grammar guidelines.

If I’m working on a paper at 11:30 p.m. and it is due some time the next day, would it be more polite of me to send an e-mail asking any question I might have, or call their provided home phone number?

I’m fairly positive that my ability to have children would be hindered if I called a professor past their bedtime at their home.

If I send an e-mail, then it can be simply responded to upon arriving at the University in the morning, or if they are awake that late at night then they can reply then instead.
If you don’t offer the e-mail address, it might be wise of you to tell students not to look it up on the University Web site either.

But if you offer the address, be prepared to field and respond to e-mails that are sent to you. I understand that even though it’s the easiest way for me to communicate, it might not be the easiest for you, but I should be told in advance that you’d rather I make a phone call instead.

Welcome to the 21st century, everyone. It’s time to embrace the latest technology and jump on the e-mail bandwagon. Next time I send an e-mail to a professor’s address that’s offered to me, I expect a response. If students aren’t allowed to hand in papers or assignments past deadline, then those responses should probably be in a timely fashion as well.

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