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At Inside Higher Ed, Rob Franciosi cites the problems of being always on via email. Not any big news here, although his piece and the subsequent comments do hit all the major issues and potential solutions. Good story about the student who submitted pictures of his burning car by email to provide evidence of why he would need to miss class:

Terry is a grad student at my university who drives 130 miles each week from Interlochen Arts Camp to Grand Rapids for a night class. One Monday he e-mailed that a car problem might result in his absence the next day. Attached to his text was a series of numbered digital photographs taken just hours before: No. 127, his car, smoking alongside the highway; No. 128, from 20 yards further back, the burning car, flames engulfing the left side; No. 142, a firefighter, gazing at the blackened shell; and No. 143, in a creative denouement, the burned-out car being hoisted by a wrecker.


4 weeks ago, a student emailed me a Quicktime file of himself trying to log on to the class site and having technical problems. Kind of hard to say "no" to that kind of evidence, although if the student was one of my better ones, he would not need to go through documenting his struggles.

As long as they don't use their camera to show their visit to the doctor, their temperature on the thermometer, and themselves throwing up from the flu, this can only be a good thing :)

Charlie | cyberdash

It seems that we have to deal every semester with at least a few students who routinely send emails that leave us bewildered; that shake us right out of our comfort zones. They tend to be horribly punctuated, completely informal, and, often bordering on arrogant.

To call these "inappropriate" would be like calling the Vandal's sack of Rome "irksome." I'll share a bite-sized sample of some of mine, but I'm sure you've all got your own favorites, printed and framed in the broom closet you share with 17 people and a broken microwave named Yippy. The general theme is, we're providing less than satisfactory service to a paying customer, and we should damn well know it...


Look famaliar? Or how about this one?

"i hate you want you to die give me A now or i not learn nothing in ur class, i blow you up with RPG you are stnky bacon octapuss"

What I especially love is receiving questions via "top priority" email that the author would know if he had only read the instructions or handouts I painstakingly prepare for each assignment. I figure; heck, I spend 10 hours working on the project instructions, they can spend 10 minutes reading them. I even put the important words in bold! Please read these instructions carefully and in their entirety (the whole thing!!) So, I generally just send them a link to the proper page, but this apparently doesn't represent the quality service they've come to expect from their McProfessors. I guess they must have pestered someone to learn how to send those nifty "return receipt requested" things. God knows they didn't read about it.

"Get me the ketchup." "It's over there in the bin with all the other condinments." "No, I didn't ask where it was. I asked YOU to get it. NOW."

I generally just respond to these emails with something like, "The email you sent me in which you used the term 'f*** b****** and which contained three viruses and an obscene JPEG was inappropriate. Please send another email, observing a more respectful tone. For instance, it is customary not to threaten a professor's family. Thanks, etc."

At any rate, we're dealing with students who have been told since day #1 that their opinion is priceless and that they should offer it whenever and wherever they feel like it. Did they find a reading or assignment boring or "irrelevant" to their career interests? By all means, tell the whole class right in front of the professor. We're all just dying to know what they think! Are they bored during a presentation? By all means, click on the IM and start chatting away or start working on their "important homework" right there--don't worry about it! After all, some poor sap is paying for this "big kid daycare," er, I mean, "university experience."

Some students don't really seem to give a hoot what the professor thinks about them; at least no more than they care what a waiter thinks of them. They have no sense of ethos; or, at least they don't care about it one way or the other. Want to shoot up during the PowerPoint? Heck, why not! Everyone else is doing it. Been huntin'? Bring that deer carcass and field dress it right on the teacher's desk. She won't mind!! Shove those monitors off the counters; get out those chains, put on those hairy chest wigs, it's disco nite!!

Naturally, after a semester of almost total apathy and flagrant disrespect towards us, they'll expect us to cry with them during their sob stories about someone stealing their mom's crystal meth and gladly accept their three late papers and excuse all their absences a few days before final grades are due. And of course we cave in, because we don't want to waste our Christmas or summer breaks in "We need to talk" meetings with the Man.

What if it is fictitous ? It may turn out that person was engaged else where. And, he may get trapped in an accident or so. Then this evidence will go against him.


Nobody gets to live life backward. Look ahead, that is where your future lies.