Emoticons in student-professor email communication

Baggia, Alenka and Žnidaršič, Anja and Tratnik, Alenka Emoticons in student-professor email communication. Comunicar, 2022, vol. 30, n. 73, pp. 119-133. [Journal article (Paginated)]

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English abstract

Emoticons have become a common phenomenon in email correspondence between students and professors. Even though the use of emoticons in formal writing is considered inappropriate and unprofessional, more and more students are using these nonverbal communication tools to add context or emphasis to their email messages to professors. This paper examines the association between the use of emoticons and professors’ perceptions of higher education students’ email messages with and without emoticons in two countries, Serbia and Slovenia. The students’ emails were collected and assessed on several levels. The students’ messages were examined with particular attention to the appropriateness of the students’ writing style. In addition, the students’ level of digital literacy, their attitude toward a professor, and gender differences in the use of emoticons were examined. Furthermore, an online questionnaire was used to identify characteristic differences between students who use emoticons and students who do not. The results show that messages with emoticons are rated lower on several dimensions than messages without emoticons. In addition, students who use emoticons show lower digital literacy and perceive their professors as more understanding and helpful. Emoticon use is not related to gender. The results suggest that students should avoid using emoticons even if they have a positive attitude toward their professor.

Spanish abstract

Los emoticonos se han convertido en un fenómeno común en la correspondencia por correo electrónico entre estudiantes y profesores. Para los estudiantes, estas herramientas de comunicación no verbal son una forma de agregar contexto o énfasis a sus mensajes. Sin embargo, para la mayoría de los profesores, el uso de emoticonos se considera inapropiado y poco profesional. A medida que más estudiantes incorporan emoticonos en sus mensajes de correo electrónico a los profesores, nos propusimos examinar la relación entre el uso de emoticonos y las percepciones de los profesores sobre los mensajes de correo electrónico de los estudiantes con y sin emoticonos. Examinamos los mensajes de los estudiantes con particular referencia a la adecuación del estilo de escritura de los estudiantes, evaluamos el nivel de alfabetización digital de los estudiantes, su actitud hacia un profesor y las diferencias de género en el uso de emoticonos. Recopilamos correos electrónicos de los estudiantes y los calificamos en varias dimensiones. Además, utilizamos un cuestionario en línea para identificar las diferencias características entre los estudiantes que usan emoticonos y los que no. Los resultados muestran que los mensajes con emoticonos tienen una calificación más baja que los mensajes sin emoticonos en varias dimensiones. Los estudiantes que usan emoticonos también muestran una menor alfabetización digital y perciben a sus profesores como más comprensivos y serviciales. Contrariamente a nuestras expectativas, el uso de emoticonos no está relacionado con el género. Los resultados sugieren que los estudiantes deben evitar el uso de emoticonos, puesto que el profesor espera un comportamiento apropiado a través de Internet.

Item type: Journal article (Paginated)
Keywords: Communication skills; communication; digital communication; emoticons; gender; email; Habilidades de comunicación; comunicación; comunicación digital; emoticonos; género; correo electrónico
Subjects: B. Information use and sociology of information > BJ. Communication
G. Industry, profession and education.
G. Industry, profession and education. > GH. Education.
Depositing user: Alex Ruiz
Date deposited: 23 Jul 2022 18:25
Last modified: 23 Jul 2022 18:25
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10760/43444

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