Stories of Remote Teaching is a limited series of blog posts designed to help teachers and students sort out the most effective teaching and learning strategies in the situation with which we are currently faced. The strategies in this series are created for teachers and recommended by teachers. If you have questions or recommendations, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
📥 Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night
Email—Love or hate it. When teachers and students are unable to meet in person, email quickly becomes our default communication method. For better or worse, every post, assignment, update, reminder, confirmation, grade, and comment in Google Classroom is sent via email to our students. So what happens when we need to get in contact with a student, but his or her inbox is completely flooded with emails? This post offers a few suggestions to help slow the flow of emails for students and teachers.
My students are flooded with emails from Google Classroom. They struggle to tell which ones come directly from me.
Tip #1: Group materials and assessments into one daily assignment on the Classwork page.
Instead of creating a separate post for each component of a daily lesson, try grouping all resources into one assignment. By grouping multiple tasks into one assignment, teachers can greatly reduce the number of posts (and emails) for each class down to one. The example below shows a single daily assignment with four components: a Google Slides presentation, a YouTube video, a supplementary website, and a Google Forms assessment.
If each component in the above example is assigned separately, students in this class would receive 4 emails instead of 1. If a student has 7 classes, this means students would receive 28 emails per day, if not more! At the end of a week, this amounts to nearly 200 assignments to complete (and the same number of emails to overwhelm student inboxes).
Tip #2: Post standing items, such as daily office hours and Google Meet links, as material on the Classwork page and edit as needed.
Many teachers post daily office hours for students to receive help and support. Instead of posting hours on the stream (and adding another email to a student's inbox), try posting the Google Meet link as a material and keeping it updated as links change. This can be done by clicking Create > Material from the Classwork page. If a link ever needs to be updated, simply click the three-dots menu to the right of the material. An email will not be sent.
For more information, check out this brief video created by Collingswood educator, David Walsh: