Skip to main content

The Journal Gazette

Saturday, August 31, 2019 1:00 am

College freshmen quickly learning basics of Email 101

As a second back-to-school wave finds college students settling in on campuses across the nation, InsideHigherEd reports on the efforts some faculty members must take in instructing freshmen how to send a proper email request.

“To head off 3 a.m. need-your-help-now emails from Jake No Last Name, many professors explicitly teach students how to email them at the start of the academic year,” writes the education website's Colleen Flaherty.

Some universities direct students to reference documents or templates. Annemarie Perez at California State University at Dominguez Hills refers students to “netiquette” guidelines from the Wellesley College Project on Social Computing. Some students write emails in the form of a text message, Perez said, and some one-line emails have been sent from personal accounts with no indication of a student's full name or which class they were in. 

“Writing an effective email is good skill to have, and knowing what sort of style or tone to use saves them from worrying about how to do it,” she said. “I think it makes it more likely they'll write to me when they need to, which is what I want them to do.”

Faculty members offer both dos and don'ts: “Subject headers should be informative – no 'hey professor,' but rather, 'Question about research paper due Nov. 1 in History 101.' ”  And while professors may like being called 'Professor' or even 'Doctor,' they want their last names attached. Online resources don't always recommend against “Mr.” or “Ms.” But several female professors told Inside Higher Ed this week that they dread “Mrs.”