We spend an increasing amount of time plugged in to our various e-devices, doing research, monitoring the “interwebs”, interacting with friends, colleagues, and acquaintances in social media settings, blogging and reading other’s writings, texting, and answering emails. For faculty the influx of email particularly during the semester is often overwhelming. Students seem to expect an immediate response and may become frustrated if they don’t receive a prompt reply. They may not understand that you teach several courses and have hundreds of students and don’t know from their email which course they are in. What to do?
A recent article (March 26, 2013) in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Managing Your Online Time by Paul Beaudoin, has some timely suggestions. While the article was written with faculty who are teaching fully online courses in mind, the suggestions offered will be equally useful to those instructors in more traditional, face to face environments. For example: it helps to start by managing student expectations on email responses at the outset, preferably in a well designed syllabus. You should let students know how quickly you will respond and during what hours. Frequent reminders that students should identify their class and section in all correspondence are helpful in gaining compliance. Look for tools in Blackboard (course management application) that will offer additional discussion outlets so that students can help others with the same questions. Create an FAQ, post it, and point to it when students ask the same questions repeatedly.
Check the article for more details and ideas.
Macie Hall, Senior Instructional Designer
Center for Educational Resources
Image Source: © Macie Hall, 2013