Saturday, June 25, 2005

Great Conversation over at New Kid on the Hallway

New Kid on the Hallway: "To tackle the second paragraph first: yes, some students treat e-mail this way and expect faculty to be on-call 24-7. That's certainly true. However, it's easy enough to tell students in your syllabus that you are only online between the hours of (fill in whatever you prefer). Or to specify that you don't guarantee immediate turnaround; that you'll answer e-mails within 48 hours but not necessarily earlier. Or whatever. To say that because students don't always know how to use this technology appropriately, we should get rid of it, is patently absurd.

The question of 'discouraging personal contact with students'.... I also disagree with this, intensely. First, the majority of e-mails I receive are from students who want to set up a time to meet with me, face-to-face. Therefore, e-mail helps facilitate personal contact, not discourage it. Second, I am quite sure that there are students out there who are too shy or intimidated to come see me, one-on-one. E-mail gives them the chance to ask me individual questions without having to deal with me face-to-face if they don't want to. In the absence of e-mail, I don't think they'd come see me in my office; I don't think they'd ask their questions at all."

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