Email Literacy in Higher Education Institutions: A Case Study on Student-Instructor Email Communication at Dhofar University in Oman

Ali Algryani, Khalid Salim Al Jardani


Email is one of the means via which students in higher education institutions (HEIs) liaise with instructors to enquire about course materials, assignments, upcoming assessments and seek advice on personal or academic matters. The current study is an attempt to investigate student-instructor email communication focusing on the problematic aspects in students’ emails that affect the process of communication. The study is based on the analysis of one-hundred email messages composed and sent by undergraduate students to their instructors at Dhofar University in Oman. It is concluded that student email messages are often characterized by lack email etiquette rules, linguistic inaccuracies and traits of texting and instant messaging mediums. Several student messages, for instance, lack proper email layout and contain grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes, indicating that reviewing emails before sending them to teachers does not take place. In addition, informal features such as use of informal vocabulary, excessive use of punctuation marks, non-standard spelling, emojis and emoticons, which reflect unawareness of formality, professionalism and university setting etiquette, are noticeable in students’ email messages. Therefore, pedagogical intervention with respect to acquisition of skills required for writing and perceiving emails is recommended. Education and guidance on the conventions governing email communication can help students communicate more effectively and professionally via email in HEIs, which will promote not only decent practices but also future employability opportunities.

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World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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