Other Crazy Emails

In my classes, first-year composition and business writing, we talk about appropriate emails. Here are some additional examples I can use to perhaps catch their attention.

Email example 1:
Just got an email from a student at another university asking about graduate school in our department. The email has a range of questions such as:

-Do you like it?
-What’s the department budget?
-What is tuition?
-How do I get funding?

This was sent as a mass email to about half of the department graduate students.

Question: Name two (or five) problems with this email.

Email example 2:
After spending the beginning of two classes teaching and answering questions about citing research sources and providing students with extensive reading suggestions and handouts to help them, I received this message tonight about a major paper due on Tuesday:

[E-mail is prefaced with a note saying student knows the importance of citing information properly. Then…] “I was wondering what format are you looking for? Can I write it like this?

Name of the organization
Name of the person to contact
location
telephone number

Is that enough? or we need more information?”

Question: What was the student thinking? What is her/his background? Why did he/she write this?

Email example 3:
Situation
First day of class, I mention to them that the publisher neglected to include in the new edition of the textbook Chapter 17, on Important Topic, but they should have all noticed that a separate magazine-like thing was shrink-wrapped with their text. This is Chapter 17. Don’t lose it. If you do lose it, it’s available free as a PDF from the textbook’s website. Which has a direct link to it on the course website.

The remainder of the first two weeks, as they get their books, I remind them again.

When we finally get to Important Topic, I remind them yet again.

Tomorrow is the test that covers Important Topic. Guess what I got a voice mail at 8:45 this evening about?

“Uh, hi, Professor Hedgehog, this is Student from your class. Listen, uh, the review sheet said to study from chapters 8, 10, and 17, but in the book there is no 17, so I don’t know how you expect any of us to study something that’s not even there. If you can, give me a call back at 555-555-5555. Thank you.”

At least with voice mail, I can imagine the capitalization and punctuation to be correct.

Other professor’s similar experience
I got a similar email last year, asking how I expect them to do the assignment if the anthology doesn’t even have the full text blah blah blah. The student sent me two or three increasingly frustrated emails, and I still couldn’t understand what her problem was. In the end, I told her to bring her copy of the anthology to class the next day, so she could show me exactly what the problem was. Her last email read:

no. i read the text because i went on line to do so. but i don’t understand how you could possably assign readings that we do not have. the text lines stop at 190. the lines start up again at 703. there is nothing in between to read. so obviously it is not requiered by the school to read or it would b printed in the book. thanks for pointing out my gramor problems though. thats nice to see that when some one trys to tell you somthing you come back with a remark like that

Fast forward to the next class. Before class began, I asked her to show me the problem with her anthology. Since everyone else had the full text, I thought maybe she’d gotten the wrong edition or something. Nope. She didn’t even own a copy of the textbook. Hadn’t bothered to buy it. I guess that would explain why she didn’t have the full text, wouldn’t it?

From the CHE Fora

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