Tuesday, February 21, 2006

NYT on professors, students, and e-mail

Stefan Hagemann pointed me to an article by Jonathan Glater in today's New York Times, "To: Professor@University.edu Subject: Why It's All About Me." An excerpt:

One student skipped class and then sent the professor an e-mail message asking for copies of her teaching notes. Another did not like her grade, and wrote a petulant message to the professor. Another explained that she was late for a Monday class because she was recovering from drinking too much at a wild weekend party.

Jennifer Schultens, an associate professor of mathematics at the University of California, Davis, received this e-mail message last September from a student in her calculus course: "Should I buy a binder or a subject notebook? Since I'm a freshman, I'm not sure how to shop for school supplies. Would you let me know your recommendations? Thank you!"

At colleges and universities nationwide, e-mail has made professors much more approachable. But many say it has made them too accessible, erasing boundaries that traditionally kept students at a healthy distance.

These days, they say, students seem to view them as available around the clock, sending a steady stream of e-mail messages -- from 10 a week to 10 after every class -- that are too informal or downright inappropriate.
You can read my guidelines for e-mailing a professor by clicking on the link below. This post is, as the sidebar jokes, my #1 hit, with thousands of visits.

» How to e-mail a professor

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