Monday, November 26, 2012

E-mail misery - Your guess is as good as mine.....


Hi professor my question how to put show on the research that u got the info from your article in parentence?
Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android

Post script:  this was sent at 11:51pm last night.  I am collecting the horrid thing this morning.

19 comments:

  1. I get communication like that every now and then. More frequent than complete incoherence, however, is simply lack of context: "When is the assignment?" Which class? Which university? (I'm an adjunct whore at more than one.) Which assignment? Who are you?

    Then I respond and still don't get complete information. Or I get some message and send back a follow-up question. Then instead of responding to the e-mail to keep the information chain available, the student responds a week later by starting a new e-mail message. Thus, all the previous context is gone from the screen and instead of just scrolling down to remember what it is about, I either have to fish through my e-mail for this student's name or send back another "Huh?" response.

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    1. When I get emails like this, I usually respond with, "Sorry, I don't speak whatever language this is."

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    2. What I really like are the voicemails from students who need to talk to you right away. They don't speak their names intelligibly, nor do they leave a phone number. Oh well.

      What's even better are the emails from colleagues that tell me something in our hamster fur-weaving lab isn't working. Um, provide specifics... and only after you have done basic troubleshooting. Why is it that I am expected to do their jobs for them?!

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  2. At 11:51 PM, the e-mail doesn't get a response until the following morning. End of story.

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    1. Wow, you're nice answering the next morning. I tell my students that, while the may get a quick response, they shouldn't expect a response for at least 2 business days and plan accordingly.

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  3. Yeah, he/she/it did not get a response last night. I responded this morning (just now) with : "Excuse me, but I cannot understand what you wrote."

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  4. Wowsers. My students' emails are far more coherent than this, and English is not their native language.

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  5. Reminds me of a student of mine who couldn't understand English. Of course, he blamed me for that!

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  6. Using Yahoo on Android? This student deserves whatever they get.

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  7. God help me, I actually understand the question. I guess it comes from too many years of teaching English. The student wants to know how to create parenthetical documentation for research from an article that you mentioned in class. I know that's probably not specific enough for you to provide a decent answer, but at least I think it's the gist of it.

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    1. Yep, I knew what the question was as well. That says a great deal about the students I deal with.

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  8. Ha! I copy-pasted the sentence into google translator and it asked automatically "Did you mean...?" and there followed a sentence that was not entirely grammatical, but that I could understand. The student wants to know how to cite it if s/he uses information from the article you wrote about parenting.

    BTW, in case anyone is interested, according to google, the sentence translates in Basque as:

    Hi irakaslea nire galdera show nola jarri ikerketa u got zure article info parentence?

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  9. LOL! I would not go to such trouble to decipher an e-mail, but that might just be one of the small bonuses of having tenure. Englishdoc and AdjunctSlave, I think both of you are on the right track....except I did not find their articles for them or give them articles in class. Maybe they are talking about an article we found together during office hours (a handful of them have come to me and we found articles together) or during the class in the library. Maybe. I want them to reword it into intelligible English rather than guess. It makes it less fun but, it's not really that fun anyway, right!!

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  10. Hah, I actually think I know what that meant as well. I'd be tempted to ignore that that one, or at least ask for clarification.

    This year I was looking at last year's syllabus for one of the courses I am teaching now and there was a paragraph about respectful Email communication. I thought it looked a little harsh and I took it out. I now understand why it's in there.

    On another rant, next semester I am banning all text messaging from the class and I am putting a note in the syllabus about it. I don't care if I look like a bitch because I'm sick of answering Emails regarding things I went over in class about six times.

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  11. Count me as another English proffie who understood the question better than I'd like, even though my students are usually a bit more articulate (but noticeably less so than usual when they communicate by smartphone).

    If I were feeling responsible, I'd email back saying I didn't understand the question, and asking the student to rephrase. If I were feeling reluctant to continue a correspondence with the student (because I feared the next email might be just as bad), I'd probably send a link to one of our writing center's handouts and/or the relevant section of Diana Hacker's site.

    Another strong likelihood: when the student realized the instructor wasn't going to answer in 5-10 minutes (or seconds), (s)he went and found the information hirself. My bet is that a request to rephrase might well be met with silence, and/or with "oh, never mind; I figured it out." Emailing the professor is a little more convenient than googling, but only if the professor answers pretty much instantaneously. Next stop is probably google (or mom).

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    1. Yes, Cassandra. I did e-mail the student back at 9am, asking for clarity, and did not receive a reply.

      In other news, a different student complained yesterday about my asking her to rephrase her e-mail to make it comprehensible. She said I was being difficult, and using her poor grammar as an excuse to avoid doing my job, which was to teach earnestly and with a positive and helpful attitude. My e-mail back to her was not exactly negative....it just asked her to rephrase so that I could understand her question.

      I just don't feel I should ignore extremely poor spelling and grammar and diction, even in an e-mail. I do have a section in my syllabus which states just that, informing students that they will be asked to rewrite poorly written e-mails prior to receiving a response. I directed my complainer to read the syllabus but she was plenty mad. I heard Dean bells ringing in my head and am wondering if I have heard the last of her.

      She can bring it.

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  12. "Hi professor my question how to put show on the research that u got the info from your article in parentence?"

    This isn't English....it looks like "Engrish", that pseudo-English you see on Japanese/Chinese products that were not meant to be sold in English-speaking markets. I'm going to guess this was written using a cellphone. At a club. With loud music in the background.

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    1. Engrish is Japanese English; Chinglish is Chinese English, and usually way more hilarious than this! :o)

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