NEWSFLASH! There’s no hard and fast rule that says you must respond to every ding, buzz, or chirp the second after you hear it. Reducing the amount of email you receive is about educating students to read the syllabus and to utilize the discussion boards. Managing your email can be achieved by using tools like filters, rules, and auto replies.
A good first step is to train your students to include the course subject and number in the subject line. Use your email filter to send this email to a separate, course specific folder that you can check on your own schedule. Additionally, create and write in your syllabus an email checking policy – this will prevent multiple emails from the same student, on the same topic. Also, consider an auto-reply for the “course folder”; for example, your reply could say: “Your email has been received. As a reminder, I check my email …” and then restate the policy from your syllabus.
Another good idea is to require students to include a signature line that matches their name as it appears in UTC Learn. This will take the guesswork out of responding. Don’t waste time trying to figure out who that generic GMAIL account belongs to!
Additionally, get students to actually read the course syllabus. It sounds crazy, but students will just skim it unless they are held accountable for what they read. Consider giving a quiz on the syllabus information. It will force students to read the document and it will give you an opportunity to troubleshoot any issues at the beginning of the semester.
Create a Frequently Asked Questions item or Discussion Board in your UTC Learn course. Don’t forget to create a link to that item for the students. Answer any student questions that are relevant to everyone in that public area within your course. Also, you can ask students to post questions there so other students can see the question and answer, to avoid answering the same question over and over again. Teach students to look for answers there before contacting you. If students are asking questions that you have already answered, and you know that you have posted the information in the public area of your course, refer them back to that area.