Constructing an Effective Email Message
Directions: One of the objectives of this course is to prepare you for the communicating you will do further along in your college careers and later in the workplace. And as this message itself demonstrates, email is a common method for sharing routine information. An example of a routine communication in college would be to inform one of your instructors that you will miss a class meeting. The purpose of this assignment is to have you practice that routine task.
Assignment: We are scheduled to have a special class on Saturday (September ____) at 6:30 in the morning, at Memorial Park in Boone, IA. If you cannot attend class at that time and location, please send me an email.
Note: If you don't want the entire class to read your email, do not press the "reply all" button.
–adapted from an assignment prepared by Dave Roberts, Tad Patterson, and Viviane Vasconcelos
Supplemental Teaching Strategies
- Send this email assignment to the class’s listserve. Consider assigning this type of task twice—once in the beginning of the semester and then again at the end of the semester—to see what learning has occurred.
- To encourage students to think of the rhetorical situation, have students send three emails on a similar subject to three different audiences (such as a friend, parent, and teacher).
- Have students examine some examples of poor or unethical email in small groups. To promote impromptu speaking skills, select one student from each group to share the group’s reactions to the examples.
- In small groups, have student develop guidelines for email to instructors and classmates. This small group interaction will encourage students to practice oral communication skills of critical listening and negotiation.