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Am I obliged to answer student queries that can readily be answered by reading the syllabus? [closed]

Course Queries Syllabus Queries
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Ekta Singhania


( 5 months ago )

I maintain an email group for my class where the reading list and other course materials are made available to the students. Despite sharing all relevant information with them, I still have students asking me exact page numbers and sections from the book, and whether 'Topic X or Y will be on the exam'. I am fed up! Am I obliged to entertain these queries? They usually ask these queries on email or typically on sms.

This is a second-year undergraduate class (about 50 students) majoring in economics. I teach them a statistics course. I've included a link to the syllabus (page 2 of linked document).

Raman Tripathi


( 5 months ago )


Whether or not you're obliged is debatable, but here is what you can do to reduce the time that's consumed by answering redundant emails:

Have your students write all questions into an online forum that's accessible for every participant of your course.* Post your answers there as well.

You can "pin" answers that are of a general nature. Your first pinned message should be a FAQ, entitled "Frequently asked questions. Read first before posting" and with the first line reading something like:

Before posting a question, please make sure that it has not already been answered. In particular, check the pinned messages first. Chances are, your question has been answered and you can save yourself and me some work.

If you get a duplicate question, just refer the student to the relevant message. This should work as a gentle nudge that deters other students form asking redundant questions in the future (remember that the answer can be read by the whole course).

and only them.

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