If you haven’t figured out how to cut down on the time you spend answering student emails, I may have the answer for you!
When I tell other teachers that I have a number of stock email responses ready to go in the Notes app of my iPhone, some of them are relieved to have finally found an answer to repeating themselves constantly, while others have already figured out this secret.
It you fall into the former category, below are a few email responses I guarantee you’ll use for your college students at some point.
Now, as a college instructor you can pretty much respond to emails in your sleep, so you may not see the need for stock responses, but hear me out:
The reason I try to copy and paste the same ones over and over is because I originally wrote them very intentionally, they’re clear, but also come across as respectful and kind toward my students. When you’re in a rush, it’s easy to mistype, leave out important information, or come across as rude (I’ve accidentally done all 3 at one point or another), only creating more work for yourself later when you need to clarify things.
This is why I believe stock responses are the way to go (when it applies).
Having said that, feel free to borrow and change whatever you’d like from the list below- depending on the school you’re at, what course you teach, your syllabus policies, the LMS you use, etc., you’ll certainly have some editing to do, but I hope this help get you started!
(*Note: Many of these Q & A’s come in especially handy when teaching online. Students tend to email much more complex questions when they don’t get to see you face-to-face.)
Common Student Questions and Answers
Q: I just added this class. What have I missed?
Welcome to our course! Be sure to review the syllabus and schedule to see what’s due this week, and be sure to check out the course announcements I’ve sent via Blackboard for additional clarification and details about assignments. Let me know if you need anything else!
Q: I’m really enjoying our class, and I think I might switch my major to Communication Studies. Where/how can I learn more about the field in general?
I’m glad you’re enjoying the class! If you go to DaleCarnegie.com, there are some communication workshops to choose from, and quite a few of them are free online. I might enroll in some myself :). There are also free courses at edX.org,openculture.com, and udemy.com, just to name a few! They have topics in any area you could possibly imagine.
There’s also a list of communication and teaching books on the website happyprofessor.com in the ‘Great Reads’ section. Those have been most helpful and interesting for me as someone in the communication field, and might peak your interest!
If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask.
Q: Do we need a live audience while we film our speech? (For an online speech class)
I actually just sent an announcement about that, so be sure to take a look at that for additional details. The university does not allow us instructors to give grades to students who don’t have proof of 5 people watching their speech (you’re required to show the audience before and after your speech, without any edits in your speech video).
I know it can be inconvenient, but I have to abide by their policy. You might want to reach out to some of your classmates via BB Message to meet up and record speeches; I’m sure you’re not the only one having a hard time finding audience members. I hope you’re able to work something out!
Q: I’ve never taken an online class before. How do I find the first week’s assignments?
Once you’re in the course, scroll down to ‘Modules & Assignments’ in the left-side menu of our course’s home page. Once you click into that, you’ll see ‘Module 1’ come up on the screen with directions below it. The title ‘Module 1’ is actually a link, so click that, and all the Module 1 assignment will come up. Those are also links. Click into whichever assignment you need. You can submit the assignment there. If you need more help with Blackboard, go to YouTube to see some helpful tutorials!
Q: I’m sick and wasn’t able to complete my assignments on time. Can I submit them late?
I’m sorry to hear that. If you have medical documentation/a doctor’s note showing that you were unable to complete the work by the deadline (the dates must match up), you can make it up for full credit. If you don’t have any medical documentation, you can still submit your work for half credit up until a week after the deadline. I hope you’re feeling better!
Q: I’m so nervous to present my speech. How can I get over this?
The best thing to do is practice out loud and record yourself (voice and appearance). By doing that you can judge if you’re ready and prepared enough to practice in front of people.
As a next step, I would call a good friend or family member to listen to your speech over speaker phone (still move around and make eye contact as if there’s a real audience, while you’re on the phone).
Next, practice in front of different people- I’d say 5 different people on 5 different occasions. I would also suggest going to the campus library and asking one or two people to watch your speech in a study room there; the awkwardness of having to ask and perform in front of strangers will help you adjust to that natural nervous feeling!
I know none of that sounds like fun, but not only will it calm your nerves to know you’re taking steps to prepare, but you’ll also be much more confident when you present your speech the final time. I did this all through my college speech class (bribed people in my dorm hallway with candy to watch me present- different people every time to really get a hold of my nerves), and not only did it help me gain confidence speaking, but with a lot of other areas as well (musical performances and teaching experience).
I promise these are the best steps you can take to conquer public speaking. Let me know if you need anything else!