A student’s poorly crafted and vague email can be frustrating and a big waste of time. In face-to-face classes, teachers set the norms for discussion and communication. Now that you are in an online college, do the same for your online communication.
Set a clear expectation for email etiquette. This ensures that everyone sends and addresses questions and clarifications in a timely and respectful manner. To set your students on the right track, consider the guidelines below.
Use proper salutation
It is always good to start an email with “Dear Professor.” The term “professor” is a safe bet, especially if you are unsure of their title or position. Since they often teach multiple classes, identify yourself clearly in the first paragraph. Provide your complete name, student number, and other pertinent details like course title and section number.
Watch your spelling and punctuation
Expectations in higher education are also higher. So, mind your spelling, capitalization, and grammar. Refrain from using slang, abbreviations, and other short forms. These can make your message unclear, which leads to unnecessary back and forth.
Review your email’s content to ensure that it is clear, concise, and error-free. Double-check your attachments like screenshots and ensure that no unwanted detail or personal information is included.
Be clear on your subject line
Professors get dozens of emails every day. So, when articulating your question or request, use a clear, brief, and specific subject line. That way, they will be able to differentiate your message from the rest, understand your need at-a-glance, and provide a quicker response.
Be mindful of tone
Your email’s tone, format, and phrasing impact how it is received. Refrain from sending or responding to an email if you are stressed or upset. Also, always show respect to the faculty. The teachers will be quite more willing to help you out if you treat them that way.
Review your syllabus first
If you have questions or clarifications, check your course syllabus. A lot of times, the answer is there. Otherwise, note in your email that you have already done so. It provides helpful context and shows that you have done your due diligence.
Provide enough context
Professors are not mind-readers and cannot remember every detail of the course. So, ensure to set the stage before you jump into specifics. Let them know which topic you are pertaining to, then provide concise details. For topics that need broader discussion, talk to your professor during faculty office hours.
How to end your email
It is poor email etiquette to use overly casual sign-off or have no sign-off at all. So, think about how you close your email like your opening salutation. Some suitable options to use are “regards,” “sincerely,” or “thank you.” Lastly, never forget to show gratitude.