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Dr. Mark Jordan ~ ENGL 1301: Composition & Rhetoric

Things to Know about Email and File Attachment

General Comments
  • In this course, our email communication is the main way we will communicate on a personal basis. With this in mind, you should activate your OC email account and you should check it preferably every day, or at least every other day. Beware of the danger of failing to check your email or the website for days or weeks at a time because there is no set time for "class."   Also, be aware that even though you may well have your own personal email account, you need to use your OC account for this course, including checking it daily.  This is because your OC account is what I will use to alert you if there is a problem with any assignment submission requiring you to resubmit.  I am talking about files sent in a format I cannot open; files inadvertently submitted either incomplete or totally empty; files which have become corrupted and cannot be read.
  • Please do not type in all caps, either in your email or your papers (especially not in your papers!). Typing in all caps is the print equivalent of shouting in my face, and I don't care for it. It also makes lines harder to read because all the letters are the same height and tend to run together to the eye.
  • There are also matters of wording to keep in mind. In general, your email in this course can be less formal than a typed letter, but should be quite a bit more formal than what you may be accustomed to in Internet chat or texting, tweeting, etc.. For example, avoid lower-case use of "i" and avoid using "u" rather than "you," avoid using "2" and "4" rather than "to" and "for" and so forth. Yes, I know how this stuff works, but this course is not the place for it. A good rule of thumb is to make your emails as formal as you would make a memo to your supervisor at work.
  • Your email account should be able to handle attachments.  You will be required to submit your major writing assignments within Blackboard as file attachments, but a situation may occur which calls for you to submit something directly to me, via email, as an email file attachment. Some email software obtainable free from the Internet cannot do this. Also, because different systems require different steps to attach a file, I cannot tell you exactly how to do this, but below you will find some general steps.
  • It is the student's responsibility to attach a file successfully so that due dates are met, so it is a good idea to submit a "dummy" attachment well ahead of the first major due date just to see if you can attach files successfully.
  • It is also the student's responsibility to get in touch with me by phone or whatever means necessary if your email "bounces back," as occasionally happens. Here are notes on various aspects of using email in this course:
    Email Etiquette

Communicating through email is different than speaking to another person, or even writing a letter or note to another person. Because you are not actually facing your "listener" and because of the lack of clues to intended meaning which are provided by facial expression, tone of voice, and body language, electronic dialogue can easily lead to impoliteness and insensitivity. Yet unlike traditional written communication, email often happens at a fast pace and uses a less formal tone--features which are more like oral speech than writing. The partial anonymity, the lack of clues to meaning, the informal tone, and the fast pace all combine to create a context which sometimes invites discourtesy and anger.

So be mindful. Since email lacks facial expressions and tones of voice, a reader may take your words seriously when you are actually teasing or joking.   An informal tone is what I expect and often use myself in email, but please know where the line is between humor and insult. Express yourself with courtesy and politeness, even if that is not the custom in Internet chat rooms that you may have experienced. If anyone is being bothered by rude or insensitive email from anyone in class let me know.

Email Addressing Protocols
  1. Always put something brief but descriptive in the subject line. If it's an assignment, put something like "Essay3" (without the quotation marks).
  2. Something other than your real name may appear on the automatic return address which email messages carry. If that is so, please include your real name at the end of the message, at least until I get to know everyone. 

As noted above, the normal method of submission will be to submit your assignments as file attachments, within Blackboard.  You will not send me assignments via emailed file attachment unless I ask you to or give permission.  Please note in regards to attaching files, whether in Blackboard or to an email,  that an attachment is not the same as copying and pasting your paper into the assignment text box or email message itself. Most people nowadays know how to attach a file, but some do not. Here are some general steps in attaching a file. Even if you know how to attach a file, please read below for requirements regarding the filename format and save format!

  1. Type your paper into a word processing program. Before sending it to me, you should spend as much time as needed to revise and proofread the document. (Read my Grading Criteria on my Assignments link if you have not already.)
  2. Be sure and include a heading at the beginning of your essay file, within the document itself. Your heading should contain your name and which essay (Essay One, etc.).
  3. Also include a Title for your essay. It should be a condensed version of whatever your main point is. Your heading is not your title.
  4. There are two requirements in saving your file. The first is what to use as a filename. (Please note that the filename is not the same thing as the heading or the title.) To do this, on most systems, choose the "Save As" function from the File menu. Save your essay file with a filename that allows me to tell one assignment from another, and your file from another student's file on the same assignment. DON'T just name your file "essay one," for instance, or worse, don't just let your system automatically name your file. Use this filename pattern: E1yourinitials. For example, if your name is Joe Don Black, your filename for the first essay would be E1jdb. For the second essay attachment, it would be E2jdb. And so forth. I usually remind everyone of what assignment abbreviation to use in a given filename.
  5. While you are still in the "Save As" window, locate the sub-window in it which will let you choose what format to save in. On most systems, this sub-window will be towards the bottom of the Save As window and will be called "Save As Type" or something similar. Look at the choices and choose Rich Text Format (RTF). This save format will help prevent viruses from infesting my computer because RTF files make it more difficult for such viruses to accompany an attached file. Lastly, you will probably want to create a special folder in your harddrive for documents pertaining to this course, so you can easily locate those files.
  6. Please pay particular attention to these instructions for including an identifying heading, title, an appropriate filename, and the requested save format. Past experience suggests to me that many students will tend to ignore these requirements. I have no idea why, but such inattentiveness creates logistical problems for me, or worse. Consequently, if a student does not follow these instructions, there may be a five point penalty on the first assignment, and ten points thereafter. Additionally, I may refuse to accept your assignment until you make the necessary changes. So please save us both a headache, and do it right the first time!
  7. After you have appropriately headed, titled, named, and saved your file, exit your word processor program and enter Blackboard. Enter the correct assignment, and follow the further instructions you will find there.  Remember, you are not copying and pasting; you are attaching a file.  Basically, you will use the "browse" window in the Blackboard assignment to navigate to where you have saved the file in your own computer, and click on it to attach it.  Note that you do this with the file itself closed, not open.  If you are working with a file that is open, you are doing it wrongly.
  8. If you are trying to attach a file to an email message,  you may need to refer to your system's instruction manual or online help to discover how to attach your paper as a file, unless you already know how to do so. In general, however, most systems will show the word Attach or Attachment or a paper clip image in a particular box above your message. Click on that box, image, or word. You will then need to navigate to the file you want to attach. (This is why it is important to know where you have saved it.) Usually you do this by clicking on My Documents in the C drive, then on the correct folder, then on the file, but this too may vary from system to system. Once at the correct file, usually all you need to do is click on it, and it will attach to your email message. Double-check this by inspecting your message and locating the filename of the file you meant to attach. If you can't see the filename somewhere in the message header, then probably you failed to attach the file successfully. Better try again.
  9. Once you have attached the file, send the email to me at mjordan@odessa.edu .

If you have trouble with this, let me know.

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