Tuesday, May 16, 2006

virtual office hours, 24/7

I read this article on Inside Higher Ed from a link from kairosnews that discusses how students are expected immediate response on email from professors and instructors. I'd suggest everyone reads it, because it raises a few interesting questions (at least in my head) and also is a little humorous. An excerpt:
But read a batch of evaluations by current students, and you will find complaints about Professor Luddite never answering e-mail. Who cares anymore about seldom-kept office hours? Faculty are now expected to be on-call electronically — if not quite 24/7, like transplant surgeons, then certainly far more than under an old paradigm that assumed availability to students only during class and office hours, scheduled or by appointment. It is e-mail, finally, that is the main engine behind ever-burgeoning demands.

Not so long ago you could display your techno-awareness just by printing an e-mail address on a syllabus. Want to impress your students today? You’d better send immediate answer to e-mails arriving sometime during Jay Leno’s monologue. (They’re probably watching Jon Stewart or playing online poker, but that’s a topic for another essay.) Outside readers of Professor Luddite’s course evaluations, though, should interpret student gripes skeptically. Or do I alone receive late-night messages from students posting second messages sent at 2:32 a.m. anxiously asking whether I had received the first, sent at 11:45 p.m.?

Also, some of the comments left by readers raise interesting questions and propose various solutions.

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