How to E-mail Your Professor

http://web.wellesley.edu/SocialComputing/Netiquette/netiquetteprofessor.html 

In the article link above “How to E-mail Your Professor” by Wini Wood, discusses the formalities students should use when writing e-mails to their professors. From the results in the Wellesley College Project on Social Computing, the article lists important to-dos and what to avoid when writing an e-mail. Many college students do not know how and where to begin when e-mailing to their professors.  Writing in a formal manner cannot go wrong. When addressing a professor by e-mail it should be approached like a business letter. So it is important to address their name as well as the content respectfully and appropriately.  Which means avoid using smileys, informal greetings such as hi/hey. Always proofread and address the topic in the subject bar. This author stands to point out that it is important to be serious with e-mails compared to the everyday instant or text message where basic formality and grammar is usually not used.

Reading the article above and having discussed it in class with peers, I realized that while I see starting in a formal “Dear, Prof. Such and such” e-mailing dialogue as common, others do not go as formal. Or do not know if it would be appropriate to do under certain circumstances. Circumstances like what if the Boss you are e-mailing is not e-mail literate? Is it proper to show your own level of literacy or write as they write?  I found the article to be very helpful to students whom have had no experience in the ways of e-mailing.

Now is the time when older generations are finding it hard to understand what of the newer generations are doing on the computer. Newer merchandise is always coming out allowing multiple functions on a single device. I found it interesting to have my mother about check-ins on Facebook, “Is Facebook following where people go and posts it?” I reassured her that checkins are done by choice from the person’s phone app. They just turn on their GPS/Wifi to look up the location and post it “people want you to know where they are, to show you what they like and enjoy” which was not so much the case in older generations after discussing with my peers. The world was more private which gave me more understanding to her concern.

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4 responses to “How to E-mail Your Professor

  • gazziholloway

    I have also noticed concern from older generations over the nature of privacy online and even the privacy of phone calls from home. My grandparents always seem concerned about things like Facebook for the same reason. I think it’s hard to tell sometimes whether such open information (current location, mapping favorite locations) is a good or bad thing because of that constant need to share or find things in common with others, but also the lingering concern of what is safe and what is questionable to share.

  • kellyrebecca2013

    I agree that you really do have to be careful when you email your professors. I always have to remind myself to proof read and check my spelling. Because sometimes I type too fast and I don’t realize how many mistakes I’ve made until I re-read my posts. I never thought about if someone is not e-mail literate. That if I should type on their level for them, to understand what Iam trying to say.
    I think we all still need to learn how to email correctly to not just our professors, but emailing others in general.

  • mccraryj

    I agree that it is best to always be respectful in email communication with your professors. Formal email communication can help a student to be taken seriously. But being too formal can create issues as well. Professors are often busy. A lengthy formal email may not always be what professors want to see. As long as the email is courteous, respectful, clear and more importantly — to the point, it should be just as effective. And the professor is likely to appreciate when students don’t send a long email that takes up a lot of time to read and understand.

  • Heidi May

    Excellent responses in the comments here, and well written too!

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