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The Course Evaluation Email Mob

If you attend Columbia Law School, one perpetual annoyance is that rather than having online bulletin boards or subscription-only email lists, your account will be set up to get every half-important email from any random association conceivable. You'll read these simply because every so often, there's a single email sent out about something you need to know: journals, or EIP, or clinics next year. But they'll be hidden in a forest of things you don't have any desire to know about. Nowhere is this worse than with course evaluation emails.

The University puts great stock in their course evaluations, despite the fact that first year evaluations are pretty pointless. After all, you can't choose your professors, so the best you can hope for is that someone says something nice about the challenge that faces you. Or you can develop ulcers reading some of them.

But whatever, the University wants you to fill them out. In an attempt to aid future first years, I've put together a taxonomy of course evaluation reminder emails.

The Santa Claus Emails: So-called because the powers that be seem to think you're waiting for evaluation season like Christmas. "Please note that in three weeks, you will be able to access the course evaluation websites." You'll receive about three of these.

The On Your Marks Emails: These I got today. They remind you of the surprising fact that you're taking a course, and that the course can be evaluated. One email per course, incidentally, telling you to go to the same website. Actually, that's not true--they sent me two reminders for Perspectives.

The In Loco Parentis Emails: These emails are sent automatically by the course evaluation system, or so they claim. Since you're obviously missing your mother, they decide to nag you in a maternal fashion about the fact that you've not filled out your evaluations. [1] If the system knew that you'd not finished your outlines, sublet your apartment, signed up for next years courses, or gone to the gym in two weeks, it would probably happily nag you about that too.

These can also be named the Perfidy Emails, because they promise that if you fill out the evaluations, the emails will stop. More than likely, they lie.

The Course Evaluation Mob Emails: These come only towards the end of the evaluation period, just before the website closes. Like an enforcer asking for protection money, they're not directly threatening, but they're more firm than the In Loco Parentis kind. You almost expect them to mumble, "You've got a very nice outline there, kid. Nice formatting, pretty nice size. It'd be a shame if anything... happened... to it. Know what I mean?"

There's only one nice thing about any of these emails. The evaluation period closes before exams. While this means that you can't leave behind wisdom for future students on the only thing they (or you) are likely to care that much about--how tough is the exam?--so long as you're still receiving reminders, exams aren't upon you yet.

[1]: NOTE TO ANY MATERNAL READERS (particularly my own mother): This is not to say my own mom nagged me when I was a child--she was actually very good about that. I'm merely employing stereotype here.


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Dude, you need to close the bold tag at the end of your footnote (see rest of blog)
Nick, Cool, I learned something today. (Besides always close bold tags.) That problem shows up in Mozilla, but not in IE. (I think this is because IE doesn't nest text formatting tags, but it'll require experimentation.)
FWIW, the do actually stop once you've done the evaluation. I've finished two, and didn't get reminders for those. Not sure what to make of the double Perspectives one, however. One for each section, perhaps?

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