Communication Guidelines

Salutations, Virtual Students!

It's very important to use your communication tools wisely. The examples below show the proper policies and procedures for contacting me. This isn't just useful in your SCVS course, but is proper etiquette for written and verbal communication outside of the virtual world, as well.

Fondly, yours

Marino

P.S. Remember that SCVS teachers will respond to your communication within 24 business hours. Be sure to choose ONE method of communication; there is no need to email, call, and text your teacher. If it's been more than 24 business hours and your teacher hasn't responded, consider sending a follow-up via a different form of communication. For instance: if you left a voicemail for your teacher on Monday, send a text message on Tuesday asking them if they received the message and could they promptly assist you. Technology fails sometimes, so it's important to treat everyone with grace, patience, and - above all else - politeness!

PHONE CALLS

Did you know that your teacher won't know you called, unless you leave a voicemail?

Many teachers - including myself - don't store student data in their phones, because it can be a security risk. This means, if you call and I don't answer, but you don't leave a message, I don't. know. you. even. called. me.

Have you ever tried to contact your teacher, but you didn't leave a message, and your teacher never called back? Now you know why!

TIPS: Address the person you're trying to reach. Leave your name and the reason for your call. Also leave the number you'd like them to call you back at. Follow this template, if you need to.

Hi, [your teacher's name]. This is [your name]. I'm in [your course] and I need [what you need (a DBA, a password, help with an assignment)]. Can you call me back at [your phone number]? Thanks!

Practice leaving voicemails now. You'll likely be doing it a LOT as an adult!

TEXT MESSAGES

Are text messages more your speed? Mine too! They are the fastest way to communicate with your instructor, but we can make them even faster with a few tweaks, shown below. Remember: texting your instructor isn't like texting your friends. You need to use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Think of text messages as an abbreviated form of email (which I'll cover next).

Where do I even begin? There's no identifying information. Who is the student? Which course are they in? Which assignments are they struggling with? Plus, look at those timestamps! There's no need to text back-to-back like this. Your SCVS instructor will respond within 24 business hours.

This is better, because it at least includes the necessary information to identify the student, the course, the assignment, and the concern. Still, don't do this! Include all of the necessary detail in a SINGLE text message. 

Bravo! Bravissimo! This is a winner of a text message! It's got the student's name, the course they're in, the assignment they need help with, AND what sort of help they need. This will get a faster response than ANY of the examples on the left. #IJS

EMAILS

There are times when it might be more appropriate to send an email. Emails are a daily way of life for nearly every professional adult, so perfecting your email etiquette now will serve you well in the future. As the examples below will highlight, your email needs to have an appropriate subject line that shows what the email is about. You can even add things like FYI - if you're just providing information (like an upcoming vacation) - or Response Required - if you are giving information that you want to be sure they understand (like if you won't be able to submit assignments because there's been a death in your family). Emails also serve as formal proof of whatever's contained within them. If your teacher says you can turn in something AFTER a deadline, the email is the proof of that! 

Appropriate Subject Line

Your subject line should help your reader determine how urgent your email is, and whether they might need additional information to help you. In this case, I know I will need to provide a student with a password, which I may not have access to if I am checking email remotely.

Greeting & Closing

Be sure to greet your teacher, and include a proper closing. These can be as simple as the person's name and your name, in an email. This tells me who you are, as your email address may not reveal this information.

Pertinent Details

Always include any information I might need to assist you. If you need assistance with a certain assignment, or would like a DBA on a particular day, it's necessary to include this information in your email! This prevents a lot of emailing back and forth to clarify and address your concerns!

Now that you've learned about the different methods of communication available to you, there's just one more thing you need to keep in mind:

Student Monthly Contacts are not able to be done via text or email. They must be a phone call.

Parent Monthly Contacts are not able to be done via text or email IF the student is not in good standing.

Good standing means: 70% or higher in the course, submitting work on a weekly basis, not behind pace (according to the pace chart for the course).