Saturday, February 09, 2013

Adding Codes Randomly

The wonders of modern communications have only grown since the last time La Professora addressed the issue of contacting professors, back in 2007, but student etiquette hasn't improved with them. 

The Spring semester began at the end of January and the economic situation being what it is, courses in public colleges and universities are hard to come by; so students are scrambling to find courses to full out their schedule.  Thus the email have come flying, plentiful and fast.  In the last week alone, I've received enough requests for add codes to fill a whole new course section.

The emails fall into a number of categories.

The first category is of emails sent by students who have spammed all the professors in hopes that one or two will respond with a, "Yeah, there's room in the course, here's an add code", at which point the student decides whether or not the course is interesting enough to be worth enrolling.  To those, I say come to class, see if it's a good fit, and then ask for an add code afterward.  Amazing how many students who "must have" the course never show up.

The second category involves the students who think lying to the instructor will get them what they want.  "I'm graduating this semester, and this is the only class I can take that will complete the ______ requirement."  What the students don't get is all that is verifiable. Yes, when the course is full I will give an add code to a student who's in that situation, but only if the student truly is in that situation.

The third category is made up of emails begging for an add code within 24 hours of the deadline to add.  I sometimes wonder about those students.  In all probability, if they're waiting until the last minute to add the course, they probably will be asking for last minute extensions on their term papers. I'm not saying that in college I did all my essays weeks in advance, but I did know that waiting to the last few hours does nothing for the quality of the work and asking for an extension at the point better come with a darn good reason why.

The fourth category irritates simply because the students assume they are the only one searching for open courses.  This involves variations on "The computer system shows that there's a spot open in your course and I want to take it."  I'm sorry but that slot was taken by the student who came by my office to ask in person for the add code and that student hasn't had a chance to use it yet.  Again, see my rant on why asking in person is better than on the phone or via email.

The fifth category is one that deserves its own hall of shame: the email that just asks for an add code without giving any pertinent information.  The following is the worst example I've seen in ages, in that it falls into the third, fourth and fifth categories:
"Hello, this is (name removed to protect the foolish), it shows that u have open space but was not able to register. can i please get add code? Thank You"
As I teach at both the college and the university in town, and multiple courses at one of them, I have no idea what course add code I should give this person.  Perhaps one for the Counseling office's Time Management course.

Don't even get me started on the text 'speak'.  Last week I had a student ask if she could drop off her homework at "UR" office.  No, I emailed back, as I don't know where the "UR" office is, I'd rather she turn it in to my office.  Of course, I'd really prefer that she show up to class and turn it in then, but I can't have everything.

The point of all this is quite simple:  before you email your professors, make sure that your email (a) does not fall into one of the above categories and (b) is actually intelligible in the proper, grammatically correct English sense.  Consider this a vicarious learning experience; after all, that is what college is supposed to offer.
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