This is Professor Brown from Rumie University.
Professor Brown loves hearing from students when they have questions or problems. When they really need help, the professor is wanting genuinely to help.
But the professor teaches 4 different classes with about 50 students in each class. They need a few things from you, the student, when you want to get in touch by email.
Most Importantly: Think Before You Send
The professor will tell you: "Any good writing is a process."
Follow these steps before you send:
Step 1: Check For Answers Already Provided
Professors spend a lot of time preparing for their courses by creating:
👀 Syllabi — documents that show info about the flow of the course, its objectives, grading details, a weekly outline of topics, textbook info, and lots more
👀 Rubrics—show youhow the professor will mark the assignments
👀 Course Outlines — a breakdown of each week's study topics & assignment due dates
👀 Assignment Briefs — prompts that tell you how to do an assignment
Can one of these answer your question before you start writing?
Remember: 200 students can make for a lot of emails. Do you need to send yours?
Step 2: Planning
Once sure of your needs, you'll need include some essentials so your professor can best help you.
🤔 Before you write, think about:
The Subject: This is what Prof. Brown will see to decide whether to open the mail or not. Summarize what you need in 5 words or less (ex. Extension on PSY140 Assignment)
The Writer: Professor Brown has nearly 200 students in 4 classes and at least needs to know your name and which class you're in. If you have a student number, that's helpful too.
The Purpose: Why are you writing or what's the problem?
The Request/Next Steps: What do you want the professor to do about it?
Step 3: Writing/Drafting
Make sure your email has the following:
Correct email address for your professor
A polite and appropriate greeting with proper title (Dear Prof. Brown or Dr. Brown)
✔ Type the correct email address
✔ Have a concise subject (5 words)
✔ Have a polite greeting
✔ State who you are clearly (include name, class, student number)
✔ State your purpose for writing concisely
✔ Politely include your request/next steps for the professor
✔ Close politely
❌ Misspell the address
❌ Leave a blank subject
❌ Spell their name wrong
❌ Assume your email address and name is enough
❌ Be too wordy or vague about why you're writing
❌ Assume the teacher knows what you want them to do
❌ Send it before you go to the next step
Step 4: Editing/Revising
⚠️ Warning!!! Leaving out this step can result in an ineffective email.
Read your email and check your spelling and grammar.
Think: Is there a way I could say this better or more clearly?
Think: Will my professor know who I am and what I want?
Not sure? Then, go back to step 2 and make changes.
Quiz: What Is It Missing?
Read the following email and choose the correct answer to the quiz
Subject: Assignment Extension
I'm Bobby from your Psyc class on Tuesday.
can i have until friday at 5pm to finnish my assigmnet?
I really need more time cuz i was 🤢🤮
How can Bob improve his email?
Properly identify himself
Make the greeting more polite
Be more clear with his purpose
Check his spelling
The Final Step: Sending
WAIT! Not yet!
Before you hit send:
Have you read it at least twice?
Have you made edits for more clarity/conciseness?
Go back to Step 2 or 3 and check your masterpiece of communication
Hit "Send" and relax, then wait for a reply (and trust that your prof will get to it).
Before you start writing your email, ask yourself:
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This Byte has been authored by
ESL Instructor/Learning Designer/EdTechie