Tutors and Emails – suggestions for an improved response

[Published April 30, 2003 v11 i18]

Tutors and Emails – suggestions for an improved response

Here are a few memorable letters sent to The Voice this past year. We’d love to hear from you. Send your letters to voice@ausu.org.

Dear Editor,

Re: Tutors – Emails

I sympathize with the students that feel ignored by their tutors! So I want to offer some unasked for advice!

A tutor once told me she received 100 emails in a single day and it was hard to go through them because many of them did not have coherent subject lines. With the fear of viruses and spams, she had to be careful about what she was opening, especially if she didn’t know who it was from. I could not find any official university policy on email communication, but maybe it would make work easier and faster for the tutors if concise subject lines were used, for example:

Subject: AU_COMP123_StudyGuide qs
or Subject: AU_PSYC231_TME 7_Attached

As well, the body of the message could be in bulleted or numbered form rather than paragraph form, so that the tutor could type a response directly below each question, for example:

1. What are Pavlovian dogs? (Ch.10, pg.88, Psych213 Textbook)
(Tutor’s Response) >> Pavlovian dogs are…

Also, use plain text instead of Rich Text as this uses up less memory on the tutor’s hard drive (and yours as well). I use this format and I usually get a response within 2 business days.


Nimra Ahmed – Athabasca University Student

Excellent advice! I’d add that coloured stationery, emoticons and signature files with poems won’t impress your tutor. Compose your email just as you would a handwritten letter and use an email address that includes your name, not a nickname.

For a good primer on basic email etiquette, see this link: http://www.iwillfollow.com/email.htm