systematic deviation

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Emailing your instructors

A few tips for those of you who are new to this whole university thing:

When emailing an instructor, it is helpful to put the course # in the subject line. Include an informative statement about the topic of your email. For example: "ENGL 2101: Question about second assignment" (drop the quotes). Emails without subject lines often get confused for spam and deleted. If you are not using a university email account, it is all the more important to have a clear subject line.

On that latter point, many professors require email to be from a university account. I am relaxed on this issue. Be aware, though, that an address like does not create a professional impression.

When addressing your instructor, "Dr. X" or "Professor Y" are preferable to "Hiya" or "Yo!"

Email is generally more relaxed than traditional business or professional correspondence. But, business or professional email still needs to be a lot more formal (i.e. polite; well-written) than text messages to your homies. K?

Make your message clear and explanatory. Your instructor talks to a lot of students in a given day, so "I'm writing about what we were talking about" is not always that helpful.

Please include your full name and student # in the body of your email.

Be aware that some email may trigger spam filters and therefore not get delivered. Check with the instructor if you do not receive a reply.

Addendum (31/10/06):
Here is a more detailed discussion (via Terminal Degree).


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