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A clear policy about how to communicate helps students know how best to interact with instructors. You policy should let students know when you are available, what platform to reach you on and what questions are most appropriate so that students can make best use of email and other electronic ways of communication.

Sample Language

James Pikul, MEAM 1110: "Introduction to Mechanics"

To contact us: We will use Ed Discussions, an on-line discussion forum, for all on-line communication outside of class. Questions about the material and logistics should be posted to Ed Discussions, so all students and instructors can reply and benefit from the discussion. You can also send a private message on Ed Discussions to Prof. Pikul or any other individual in our class. Do not send email to the instructors—please use Ed Discussions.

Luca Bossi ECON 0200: "Introduction to Macroeconomics"

Please make sure to include your full name in your email messages. I check my email regularly during working hours. However, if your email implies a very long answer, please come and see me during office hours. I am typically also available in the classroom right before/after the lectures.

Sharon Thompson-Schill PSYC 2288: "Neuroscience & Society"

If you have a question about the course, your first resource should be the course site on Canvas. We will strive to pre-emptively address questions that will come up in relevant places on the site. Your second course of action should be to come to talk to the instructor or the teaching assistant. We are often available in (or just outside) the classroom right before or right after class for quick questions. You might be tempted to email one of us, thinking that will be the fastest way to get your question answered, but this is not likely to be true. And, many issues are much better dealt with in person. If you are having any problems with the course, it is important to see one of us as soon as possible so we can work together to address the situation. If you do decide to email one of us, please make sure to put the course number (2288) in the subject line of your message. You can expect a reply between 24 - 72 hours after you send your message. But, if your email implies a long reply, please come to office hours (or, if the issue is not personal, come to our Community Hour).

Robyn Sanderson, ASTR 0001: "A Survey of the Universe"

  • From me to you: check for announcements on Canvas, email, and Slack at least once between sessions. I will also make announcements at the start of class.
  • From you to me: use the Canvas Inbox to contact me. Don’t count on my replying quickly to messages: expect a response within 2 business days (i.e. not on weekends). You will have better luck on the Slack workspace for homework help and lecture questions, which the TA or I will check at least once a day (more frequently near quiz times). 


From you to you: you will also be able to answer each other’s questions using Slack. I expect you to follow the guidelines provided in the syllabus to keep our online discourse inclusive of and useful for everyone.