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10 Reasons Why Not to eMail Students

(or anyone else for that matter)

Teachers email students and students email teachers. This is not the prefered method of communication with students (or anyone). And here is why. It is best to have conversations with students (read: people) so that meaningful dialogue can occur. This can be done in your LMS using threaded discussions (Discussion Forum with Discussion topics) or in Google Apps within a group or a document using Comments (see Sample). Note: discussion topics can be set to allow for private conversation between teacher and student using the groups tool.

  1. New students can see the whole conversation and get caught up quickly. They don’t have to be sent previous email(s).

  2. Demitted students are automatically removed from the conversation since they are not cc’d in further conversation.

  3. Replies are seen in chronological order and therefore the conversation is easily read by anyone even if you join the conversation late (see 1 above).

  4. Members of a conversation can be instantly notified of new posts to the conversation (RSS,  email or SMS).

  5. If a student has a question they can ask the whole class–not just the teacher. This way other students can reply–which is way better for learning. For students who don’t want to ask a stupid question you can make the discussion anonymous. Don’t worry, the teacher can still see who posted. Note: students don’t have to be anonymous; this is optional.

  6. Your conversations are organized! It is very easy to go back to a conversation with individuals or groups of students. Finding an email thread and trying to follow it can be onerous.

  7. It is easy to jump into a conversation and post at any point along the timeline. People now read the post in context.

  8. Many students ask the same question. You can make FYI discussion areas for general questions, assignment questions, field trip questions etc. Oh! and you can pin these posts and copy them into the next copy of your course.

  9. Your email inbox is less cluttered. (e.g., 30 students x 30 email x 6 courses = 5,400 email)

  10. eMail is so last century. 😉

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