The opportunity to stay after class or stop into office hours is no longer an option that students can take advantage of. All of those burning questions that students may have in class can no longer be answered with the raise of a hand. Only so much information can be relayed through a pre-recorded video lecture.
Professors are still hosting online office hours, but the level of comfortability or amount of resources that students have may not allow for this to be a solution.
Students, faculty and staff members are all facing this tough time together. Albion College is not an online-based institution, so when it was said that we must become one for the remainder of the semester, everyone knew that finding the switch was not going to be easy.
With that being said, it is even more important that we emphasize the importance of utilizing our communication skills.
This is where email comes in. Considering that professors are typically not in their offices to answer their office phones and it is highly unlikely that students and professors share personal phone numbers, email is the primary form of communication.
Right now, email responses are all that we have in terms of communication.
Most students are all understanding of the fact that we are not the only ones who need help, but it is important that we each get the responses we need. Students would rather hear back from a professor two days after sending an email than not hear back at all.
In order for online learning to be successful, professors are just as dependent on email. If work and assignments need to be done, checking email is important. It is the only secure way to make sure everyone stays on track.
Students are just as responsible for reading and replying. Checking an email does not take much more energy than checking Twitter or Instagram, and most students do that too many times a day already.
When sending an email to a professor, the most important part is making sure that the subject line is eye-catching or easily recognizable. If it is a question for a specific class, in the subject box, students should include the question they would like answered.
If a professor is available to email, it is important that students catch them at their earliest convenience. If students want responses, they have to do their parts as well. One student out of 200 may make one email fall to the bottom of the stack. If students want answers and have not yet received them, it may be a good idea to send follow-up emails.
On the Google Mail website students use to send emails, there is a tool that allows them to send emails at scheduled times. If students schedule an email to send the message at 8 a.m., odds are that the message will fall at the top of the recipients inbox the following morning.
All in all, it is important that everyone plays his or her part and stays on top of checking emails. This is the only way to make sure that the rest of the semester goes smoothly.