Chicken Soup for the Burned-Out Instructor’s Soul: Help Underprepared Students to Meet Your College-Level Expectations.

Monica Lemoine from Highline Community College presented a great workshop at this year’s ATL conference in Spokane. Monica encouraged us to “steal” her stuff and use it wherever we can so I thought I would share one of her “easy to implement policies that yield large returns.”
The workshop focused on policies that an instructor can implement in class to “help underprepared students meet your college-level expectations.” She implemented the following ideas after experiencing frustration with students not using appropriate e-mail etiquette.
Students must e-mail her in PEF (Professional E-mail Format) to receive assistance.
This format requires students to
1. Start with a greeting (like Dear ____ or Hello ____)
2. Be clear about your purpose (what are you writing about and why?)
3. Use your best grammar. (This means: use complete sentences with proper punctuation (periods), correct capitalization (remember to capitalize first-person “I”), and near-perfect spelling. Don’t skimp here!)
4. Sign with your first and last name, class name, and e-mail address. (Always assume that your instructor does not know who you are, even if you’re certain they do.)
To enforce this policy she replies to all e-mails not in compliance with PEF with a “canned” statement that says “I am sorry but the e-mail you sent was not in PEF format. In order to better assist you please resend your request using PEF format. Please refer to the syllabus for PEF requirements.”
She shared other good ideas during the workshop. If you are interested in seeing Monica’s other ideas please email csmejkal@centralia.edu and I will share the handouts provided at the workshop.

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