SIP 5.4 Email Etiquette

Thirsty for a Strong Instructional Practice?

Have you ever gotten an email that made you feel like this:

Graphic: This is an image of an email written like a text to an instructor for a course. It has many typos and acronyms in it. There are also word bubble responses showing frustration with emails written like this.

Take a SIP of This: Email Etiquette

Our students are usually people who live in the digital age, and they operate within the parameters of a world dominated by the kind of language and communication used on apps like Snapchat, Instagram, etc. Email etiquette is another language

that they need to learn to use in order to complement the strong technology skills that they already have.

Writing a professional email is not an innate skill—students must receive instruction on the conventions and parameters of professional emailing. It is important to respond in a way that is direct, educational, and yet still acknowledges that the student might not know the appropriate social conventions of email.

Before sending any correction email to students, it is important to begin with the least dangerous assumption about the student. Imagine that the student is not trying to be rude; they are just uninformed about email etiquette. Teaching students these email skills really allows students access into a place of privilege, and this is part of UDL and equity-minded pedagogy. This change in perspective helps you send a strategic email in response, rather than a reactive email in response.

Remember, it is our responsibility to educate students academically and it is also our responsibility to educate students to university norms.

You can send an email something like the following:

Dear insert student’s name,

I want to let you know that it is important to send the right message to someone you do not know on campus or that you have a professional relationship with. This means that, when you email me or anyone else in a similar role, please make sure to use Professor and my last name in the greeting.

Make sure you use language that is professional in nature when emailing. It is easy to be too informal in email, but if you do not know someone, err on the side of being professional.

Emails need academic spelling and punctuation and do not include any abbreviations like LOL or OMG that may not be understood or appreciated. Emails do not use text speak (“can u meet tomorrow”) and they use punctuation. People sign their names in emails. All of these rules apply to emailing from a computer and emailing from a phone as well.t of UDL and equity-minded pedagogy

I look forward to working with you this semester.

Dr. insert your name

If you notice this is a repeated pattern in your class you can address email etiquette at the beginning of the semester and/or post guidelines on Blackboard for students to access.

Still Thirsty? Take another SIP of Email Etiquette

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