Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Who are you again?

So, my newest thing is to correct student emails before responding to them. Therefore, if you email me a piece of drivel containing no heading, no salutation, no capital letters (my current biggest pet peeve), no punctuation (except the fourteen exclamation points after "I really need this"), and no name at the bottom, I am going to email you back with the following:

"I'm sorry, but I had some trouble understanding your email. If you can make the corrections below and get back to me, I would be able to help you more effectively"

Then I make corrections. It's much more fun to correct bad emails then respond to them. It's only been 1.5 weeks of classes and I've done this 3 times. I know most of my students are mailing me with their smartphones. I don't care. I can use proper capitalization and punctuation on my phone, so can they.

We'll see how long it lasts.

I may have to drag out this Mr. Period comic instead. I wish I could use this one.

17 comments:

  1. What responses did you get from the three?

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    1. So far, 1 ignored me, 1 corrected and got a response back from me and her quiz answer corrected, and 1 is still in progress.

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  2. I've written similar types of emails to students. Several times the response was something like "I am shocked at your response. As my professor you shouldn't say such things. Your job is to help us, not criticize us."
    Yeah, and hey, kiss my ass.

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    1. Typical Gen iY response. Tell this child that in the real world, you're going to have to learn how to learn from criticism, as well as refrain from writing like an illiterate. And employers are getting increasingly angry and vocal that we profs are allowing our students to get into the habit of thinking it's OK to do this: it is a very bad habit.

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  3. You're not yanking hard enough. When I get a desperate message from some student with no salutation and no signature, I immediately respond "I'm sorry, but I don't know who you are." When they immediately respond "I'm Joe Schmoe," I wait 24 hours, then write back, "I'm sorry, Joe Schmoe, but I have four classes and four preps (true enough) and this early in the semester I can't remember which class you're in." They write back and then I wait another 24 hours.

    Lather, rinse, repeat. Actively trying to piss them off isn't nearly as satisfying as pretending to help them, and watching them writhe in impotent despair, despair that could be assuaged if they only read the syllabus.

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  4. I get the same response as Prof Poopiehead does. And I usually respond with: "You're a college student. You should use better grammar." And then the students sulk or complain to my chair. And I still get crap emails from them.

    I like the idea of letting them writhe in uncertainty... and yes, definitely could be assuaged by reading the syllabus (at least 99% of the time).

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  5. Example please!

    How do you correct them without giving them the answers straight up? (I'm not in English or Humanities so I'm not entirely sure)

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    1. AM, I'll sometimes write: "Please fix capitalization and use standard English and send this to me again because I cannot understand text speak." or sometimes: "I cannot understand what you are asking so cannot respond. If you send me your request again explained more clearly, I might be able to at least respond." Sometimes I highlight all the SMS-formatted acronyms I don't understand (LOL, I get!). :o)

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    2. When I reply it copies the email over and I'll actually go down and use ** and [inserts] to specify areas that need to be fixed. I do it just like I would edit someone's lab report!

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  6. I do something similar, but don't bother correcting the e-mails. I simply respond that I won't answer their question until they can ask it properly. Most students actually know how to write a formal communication, they just don't bother to do it.

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  7. I respond in a way similarly to the way they wrote.
    So if they send me a draft and the body of the message says:
    DRAFT!
    I write back, comment on their draft, and the body of the message says:
    COMMENTS!
    If there's no message, I don't write one either.
    Surprisingly, the next message I receive from these students usually is formatted correctly and has a brief message. It's lovely.

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    Replies
    1. Haha! I love this; I'm going to try it out this semester. I also thoroughly enjoy seeing all the horrific email accounts that students write from, such as HotMess69@yahoo or kittens&snuggles@gmail. My department started a shared document that collects all the ridiculous email account names -- it's great for a quick laugh.

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  8. Wasamatta? U don like gettin e-mails wid bad grammer and speling? Whats ur prob? I'm gonna report U.

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    1. It's delicious to be able to reply:

      Go right ahead. I'm the department Chair!

      (Being Chair is a major pain in the ass, but this is an excellent perk. Better still is having a dean whose attitude is, "You take care of it.")

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    2. As faculty, we're obligated to try to use reasoning. I like to point out to students that employers are becoming increasingly angry and vocal at professors for tolerating this. It is therefore time to stop.

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