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May 05, 2021

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I altered my communications set up with the families I work with over the past couple of years and it has made a HUGE difference for me. For the type of meetings I do it's worked to use Doodle polls so people can sign up for times. I also posted information emails I sent out on our class webpage that they are forced to sign into once a week so that when they inevitably lose the email with all the information I can simply refer them to it. Google forms has also saved my life for other types of information gathering. It been MUCH smoother...and yet there's always someone who misses the most important piece of information. I wish you well on your email reduction quest, it is a worthy one.

Different institution, different department, different discipline here, but these things have worked (a little bit) for me in reducing the number of student emails.

1. A line on the syllabus that says nicely, "If I do not respond to your email, it means the answer to it is contained in the syllabus." When is the assignment due? THE ANSWER IS RIGHT THERE.

2. Reviewing all assignments extensively in class, so that potential email questions can be avoided. Sometimes I even spread this over two days, so they have time to think about the assignment and then ask questions.

3. A line on the syllabus informing students of the university policy that all grade appeals require a personal meeting. Your version sounds like a great idea!

4. Online scheduling of office hours (not that many students come to mine; it's a commuter school), but that helps a little.

Good luck! Your department culture sounds a bit nuts--who congratulates people on having more work to do?! But when the chair sets the tone, it's hard to change. You might be able to point out nicely at a department function that "Reply all" is not really even appropriate for wishing someone a happy birthday, but that could be tricky. I don't know the birthdays of anyone in my department besides close friends, so I'm in a different place on that one.

I also wonder if it'd be worth pitching the creation of a "[Your Institution] Weekly" e-newsletter to your department - basically, one centralized place for those kinds of things to go, with a strict weekly deadline for item submission. My college did something sort of like that on an institution-wide level as part of a response to the overuse of our @Everybody college-wide distribution list, and I think that change was for the better overall.

Dear perfessor, i think i did better than a 75 on that assignment, is there anything u can do, love, your student

Dear Student,

At your request I have re-graded your assignment. I have discovered a grading error on my part. Your new grade is 73. You are invited to my office hour to discuss this change.

Dear perfessor, i think i did better than a 75 on that assignment, is there anything u can do, love, your student

Dear Student,

At your request I have re-graded your assignment. I have discovered a grading error on my part. Your new grade is 73. You are invited to my office hour to discuss this change.

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