By Mohit Phogat on Oct 10, 2013
"College is a boring thing. E-mail is a boring thing. It goes together"
Prof. Sharma came into the classroom and asked the students if they were ready! He could see all the students looking at each other and murmuring.
"Silence please", he ordered, "I told you that there would be an exam today. Did you not read your emails?" There were only a handful of yeses... and the rest were still curious to understand what mail is the Professor talking about.
Dead silence remained...
The Professor soon learnt that the students did not know he had changed the reading assignment because they did not check their e-mail regularly, if at all. To the students, email was an antiquated subject. Some of them did not even seem to know they had a college e-mail account.
That is when he added to this course syllabuses: "Students must check e-mail daily."
So, what do students look at... what is that the access more frequently. Its no news, they prefer 'Social Media'. Email for them is too slow - compared to texting.
It was 'cool', once upon a time when a professor would announce that the new assignment would be available on the 'email'. But as it stands today, e-mail has never really been a fun to use. It's always like, "This is something you have to do. School is a boring thing. E-mail is a boring thing. It goes together."
An academician we spoke with mentioned, “We have this perception that because students are fluent with things like smartphones and downloading music that they are born with chips embedded in them that make them technology wizards,” he said. “They are no better at managing e-mail than anyone else.”
The computer habits are going down. A recent research published states that the students only access e-mail for 6-minutes during a day. It further mentions that during a semester, they spent an average 123 minutes a day on a computer, by far the biggest portion of which goes on social networking - 31 minutes. Interestingly, the only thing they spent less time on than e-mail: hunting for content via search engines (four minutes).
One director of an esteemed institution stated, "Faculty and staff love to blame students for not checking e-mail instead of owning up to the fact that no one ever got that good at using e-mail in the first place,” he said, citing vague subject lines and (exaggerating to make his point) 36-paragraph e-mails from faculty in which the crucial information is in paragraph 27. “How are they going to learn to use e-mail when that’s the model, and why would they want to?”
“E-mail is a sinkhole where knowledge goes to die,” he said. He further mentioned that he gave up e-mail in 2011. It was a radical move, because he was the one who introduced email to the institution 15 years ago. “I’m trying to undo that sinful work,” he said, jokingly.
E-mails to him receive an automated reply: “Goodbye E-mail, I’m busy/travelling.” plus some 20 ways to reach him. About the only person frustrated by this, he said, was a department head who wanted to know “how will you possibly read our important departmental announcements?”
Isn't it a better option that the student receives an text message like, "The reading assignment has been changed to Chapter 2." The other options: e-mail, text, Facebook and Twitter...