What is it?
The vast majority of academic staff at the University of Southampton regularly encourage their students to contact them via email if they are experiencing any problems regarding their studies. This is an excellent opportunity for students to receive individual feedback on a one-to-one basis without having to visit their tutor or lecturer during their office hours.
Since students only receive a limited amount of contact hours per week, giving group feedback during lectures can be time-consuming and often not as detailed as the lecturer would have liked. Therefore, many members of academic staff regularly email their students with group feedback so that they don’t have to dedicate a significant amount of time in the lecture to it and also so that students have a written record of feedback.
In addition, some lecturers prefer using other tools to communication with students such as Blackboard, Twitter and Facebook. However, it is important that lecturers remember that some students prefer not using social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, for academic purposes. Therefore, lecturers should consider not limiting their communication with students to certain tools.
How can students make the most of it?
Students should be encouraged to email their tutor or lecturer if they are experiencing any difficulties and would like further guidance. Similarly, students should also email their tutor or lecturer if they require further feedback following an exam or a piece of assessed work.
If students find that their lecturer doesn’t use emails, or takes a significant amount of time to reply to emails, students should be encouraged to discuss it with them at the end of the lecture, during office hours or via social media. It is important that students are well aware of their lecturer’s preferred method of communication at the beginning of the semester rather that waiting until they have an urgent issue.