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Technology Tip Number 23
Shiny Happy Emails

For many educators computers in the classroom means an increase in communication thanks to email.  Communication with colleagues, parents, and others has been made simpler through the effective use of email.  In this Technology Tip we want to review some basic guidelines for good email communication.  Many of these suggested guidelines are from the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District in Minnesota.  You can check out their website for additional information:  http://www.remc7.k12.mi.us/oaisd/standards/standards.email.etiquette.html

1)      The need to know basis for email:  Avoid sending a message to a group unless every member of that group actually needs the information you are presenting.  Also, when replying to a large group email only use the "Reply to All" button if everyone on the group list needs to know your reply (HINT:  they usually donít).

2)      No surprises please:  Use the Subject line to let people know what your email is about.  Using a good subject line also helps people organize and find your email later.

3)      DONíT SHOUT AT ME:  Using all capital letters in an email is understood to be the same as shouting.

4)      There are no secrets:  Please keep in mind that you are a representative of an organization when you answer email at work.  Every email you send using your work account could be classified as a ďpublic record.Ē  If you donít want your slightly off-color happy birthday email to your cousin in Alaska to be published in the local newspaper donít send it using your work email account.

5)      Never email when angry or emotional:   Once you send an email message you canít take it back.  Before you send a fiery response to that parent who just insulted your mother, take a breath, relax and think it through.  Here's a rule of thumb:  Never email anything to someone that you wouldnít be willing to tell them in person, in a public place, while being scrutinized by 50 newspaper reporters who routinely criticize people in your profession.

6)      Check your email regularly:  Once you get used to it youíll find email to be a very effective communication tool.  But it only works when we all participate.  Please check your email regularly.

For a more in depth list of topics in email etiquette I recommend the following websites:

http://www.remc7.k12.mi.us/oaisd/standards/standards.email.etiquette.html  -  Ottawa Area Intermediate School District in Minnesota

http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/showstory.cfm?ArticleID=1675  -  A private school that is requiring parents to practice better email etiquette

http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech/tech185.shtml  -  Email ABCís from Education World.  Looks at student and teacher email issues

http://www.emailreplies.com/ - 32 specific rules for professional communication using email

And here's and article about "netiquette" by L.J. Allen:

Social Networking -
Do You Practice Netiquette?

 

PRACTICE ACTIVITY  Just think about your own email usage for a few seconds.  Are there any emails you wish you had never sent? 

TO KEEP ON LEARNING:  To find out more about the best practices to use when writing email try searching the internet for:

Effective email
Email netiquette
History of email
 

Have a Nice Day!

 

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