Students these days seem to have no problem dashing out informal e-mail messages to their professors with gripes—er, feedback—or excuses. In The Chronicle’s forums, professors have been posting some of the rudest, most obnoxious, and least grammatical messages from students.
The messages reveal much about how deep a role technology plays in today’s relationships between professors and students.
Students Expect Course Materials to Be Posted Online
One student complained that a professor was not posting lecture slides to the course’s Web site:
Is this a technical glitch, or are you being a jerk about it? I don’t think you know what your doing in this class. I have gone to the deprtment chair about it and she doesn’t know either. How can I study and take the exams without the notes? Its bad enough your lectures don’t have sound and video.
Students Still Say ‘The Computer Ate My Homework’
Like many of the student e-mail messages posted on our forums, this one explains, in rambling detail, how technology is to blame for a missing assignment:
Dr. [spelled wrong],
I’ve had a few problems the last couple of days. You know how my computer broke down earlier this block, well I sent it in to get it fixed, and I got it back monday, supposedly fixed. So I’m like yay, I can write my paper at home on my laptop. So I wrote my paper, and I took it to my desk to go print it off yesterday afternoon, and my computer went black, it died, nothing, just like before, I called up there and they told me that they couldn’t do anything for me and that I had to send it back in! But I thought that I had learned my lesson and saved hibitually on a CD. However, my computer died before I actually ejected the CD, and when it is ejected is when the information formats so it can be read on other computers. So if I put the disc into a different computer, my paper comes up as a serious of lines and symbols. So therefore, paper gone! … I hope you understand, and will still accept my paper. I will write it as quickly as possible. And will talk to you later.
Thank you, M***.
Web Tools Let Professors Verify Some Student Excuses
Here’s one of the many e-mail excuses sent by students, with a savvy response from the professor:
I tried submitting my paper into turnitin.com today becasue I was unable to get back to school last night becasue of the snow storm. It would not allow me and I know the paper was due at 7 on Sunday nite. I was at home on Sunday and becasue of the storm my Mother would not allow me to drive back and we dont have internet at my Mother’s house. My Mother said if there is any issues of discrepancy you can call her at 555-555-5555. I am sending it via email instead.
I’m a bit confused. Are you saying that you were unable to submit the exam from home because you do not have Internet access at home? If so, please explain the following.
The Blackboard system shows that you logged onto the class page for the first time in over a week after 7:00 o’clock on Sunday evening. (Perhaps you were not aware that Blackboard tracks usage.) This means that you could not even have looked at or downloaded the exam until after it was due. Also, because you could log into BB Sunday night you were obviously able to access the Internet, which means you would have been able to submit your exam to TurnItIn.com from home. So you see, there are two major problems with your “excuse.”…
What are some of the funniest e-mails you’ve gotten from a student? —Jeffrey R. Young