Thursday, October 3, 2013

Email and the College Generation

Most of us use our email accounts to communicate with our students outside of class. But they may not be getting the message. Why? Because it turns out they barely use their email accounts. Recent studies suggest that college students may be using their email as little as six minutes per day while spending at least 30 minutes per day on social media sites and texting. Why are our students so reluctant to use email? The answers may surprise you. The following student’s response to the question seems like something concocted by the staff at The Onion:

“I never know what to say in the subject line and how to address the person,” Ms. Carver said. “Is it mister or professor and comma and return, and do I have to capitalize and use full sentences? By the time I do all that I could have an answer by text if I could text them.”

But we shouldn’t let ourselves off the hook so easily. As Eric Stoller, a consultant who works with universities on social media use points out, “Faculty and staff love to blame students for not checking e-mail instead of owning up to the fact that no one ever got that good at using e-mail in the first place.” Stoller suggests that there may be a mismatch between our way of communicating via email and students’ expectations for engaging with electronic communication. 

Read New York Time's article.

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