Yes, it is understandably true for present generation of young folks to have their pot of freedom with email communication!
Email is a modern day comfort of information and communication for students across all ages in the digital world. An inbox makes up for a day's work flow from friends, peers, instructors, family and even spammers.
Most of the universities and institutions have moved to email system as their official means of communication. The management of the institution expects that both their students and instructors check their respective email accounts regularly and timely respond to messages.
Given to learn how a student writes an email beyond the confines of mere academic assignments, it has been observed that some instructors treat it with suspicion or react in ways of terming the template 'inappropriate', 'ill-mannered', 'impolite' or even 'unprofessional'.
Judging the content based on the student's character or competence may not serve the purpose, while keeping futuristic communication modes in mind. It is rather important for teachers to periodically provide constructive feedback on the type of responses(regarding tone, content etc) they receive from students via email, and not to take it personally.
There could be reasonable expectations from both ends. In a few cases like reading through a document or assignment or responding to a big question, may generally take more time. So some portion of understanding and providing space to the other person would be required. Students may not be able to respond to their emails immediately. But they do have the freedom to respond respectfully and in time. However, acknowledging receipt would help student know that the teacher is on the case, and thereby cultivating balanced expectations either ways.
On the other hand, teachers have to prevent students from expecting responses at all hours. Instructors may have to maintain specific schedule to follow for all academic related email exchanges and avoid being flexible from having students expect your responses out of the specified time.
Although students feel extremely comfortable in expressing their freedom of words or freedom of desired communication pattern, certain expectations for email etiquette are necessary to be practiced. Most of the students may be aware of the level of professionalism and formality involved in online communication, but not all. Unlike the mobile phone text messages or sms, email communication cannot be treated the same way with short-cuts or slang. If approached with rudeness in an email response, it could be counted as disrespectful, exacerbating the situation.
As compared with bigger and sensitive issues needing more research, analysis, compulsory responses, direct intervention, and management strategies to deal with the problem, answering routine emails acts as a part of an academic career that is much easier to handle. A wise approach would be to set guidelines at the beginning of the semester or an academic year that helps avoid a possible email quagmire with a student. This makes their interactive performance with studies and other activities much simpler and better.
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