The good news is that more students came to her office as a result and her evals went up, so I guess if it works for you, you ought to keep doing it.
But are professors really "assaulted" by email? That's a pretty strong verb.
Duvall’s frustration is shared by many in academe -- or anyone with an email account -- from faculty members beset by questions they have answered both in class and in writing to students inundated by university email blasts. This spring, when Duvall taught at the University of South Carolina at Aiken, she adopted a new email policy to cut down on emails from students telling her they would be late, or would miss class, or would have leave early, or any of the countless others that could be handled face-to-face.
Instead of wasting class time on walking her students through an increasingly complicated flowchart diagram of when they could and could not email her, Duvall stopped the problem at its core: No emails -- unless you’re scheduling an in-person meetingA flowchart for email, really?
I know that professors complain (in blogs, at CHE) about massive numbers of emails from students, but since we're dealing with a "my experience is data" topic anyway, I haven't experienced this. Students have usually been respectful and not asked pointless questions, unless my memory has erased those emails.
Wouldn't you rather have an email than have the student show up at your office, sneezing and coughing and shedding used Kleenex into your wastebasket, to tell you she's not going to be in class? Or am I the only recipient of these "see, I am really, really sick and not lying" visits?
Don't you think if a student emails you to say she'll be late or absent that it shows some attempt to be engaged with the class or respectful of your expectations that she'd be there? Yes, it's better if they stop after class to tell you that they'll be absent, and most of them do that anyway.
If there's some special circumstance or absence, like a sports team event, wouldn't you rather have it in an email where you can document it instead of relying on your memory?
I'm all for more in-person interaction with students, but this would, for me, be a sealing wax policy too far. What do you all think?