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)]

Text (Research article (English))
c7310en.pdf - Published version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.

Download (19MB) | Preview
Text (Research article (Español))
c7310es.pdf - Published version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.

Download (17MB) | Preview

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


Abdullahi, T. (2021, March 15). What do emojis mean? How millennials and gen-y use them very differently. National. https://bit.ly/3PhQSEH

Algharabali, N.A., & Taqi, H.A. (2018). Taming the sting: The use of evaluative emojis by college students in Kuwait. International journal of linguistics and communication, 6(1), 46-60. https://doi.org/10.15640/ijlc.v6n1a4

Anuar, H.S., Saat, R.M., & Talib, Z.A. (2009). A study on gender perception of emoticon in computer-mediated commu-nication (CMC). Cmc, 1-10. https://bit.ly/3G2qcno

Avery, T. (2017). At face value: Why do individual student use emoticons within text-based online academic dis-course? EDULEARN17 Proceedings, 1, 4312-4318. https://doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2017.1929

Baggia, A. (2022). Emoticons 2021 (Version 2) [Data set]. https://doi.org/10.17632/c7ddxc4y6y.2

Barach, E., Srinivasan, V., Fernandes, R., Feldman, L.B., & Shaikh, S. (2020). It’s not just what you tweet, it’s how you tweet it. In C. Karpasitis, & C. Varda (Eds.), Proceedings of the 7th European conference on social media (pp. 52–59). Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited. https://doi.org/10.34190/ESM.20.033

Bartl, R. (2017). Impact of netiquette on email communication. Journal of Applied Leadership and Management, 5, 35-61. https://bit.ly/3AOs3cO

Biesenbach-Lucas, S. (2007). Students writing emails to faculty: An examination of e-politeness among native and non-native speakers of English. Language Learning and Technology, 11(2), 59-81. https://doi.org/10125/44104

Bjørge, A.K. (2007). Power distance in English lingua franca email communication. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 17(1), 60-80. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1473-4192.2007.00133.x

Bogdanovi?, V.Z., & Bulatovi?, V. (2020). 'I fully agree with you': Graphic and lexical boosters and attitude markers on discussion forums. In A. Pisanski-Peterlin, & T. Mikolic-Juznic (Eds.), Academic writing from cross’cultural perspec-tives: Exploring the synergies and interactions (pp. 218-243). Ljubljana University Press. https://bit.ly/34rgf3V

Bolkan, S., & Holmgren, J.L. (2012). 'You are such a great teacher and I hate to bother you but...': Instructors’ percep-tions of students and their use of email messages with varying politeness strategies. Communication Education, 61(3), 253-270. https://doi.org/10.1080/03634523.2012.667135

Butterworth, S.E., Giuliano, T.A., White, J., Cantu, L., & Fraser, K.C. (2019). Sender gender influences emoji interpreta-tion in text messages. Frontiers in Psychology, 10(784). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00784

Chejnová, P. (2014). Expressing politeness in the institutional e-mail communications of university students in the Czech Republic. Journal of Pragmatics, 60, 175-192. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2013.10.003

Chen, C.F.E. (2006). The development of E-mail literacy: From writing to peers to writing to authority figures. Lan-guage Learning and Technology, 10(2), 35-55. https://doi.org/10125/44060

Corrigan, P.T., & Hunt-McNabb, C. (2015, April 15). Re: Your recent email to your professor. Inside Higher Ed. https://bit.ly/3odOUcw

Crombie, P. (2020). Faces, hearts and thumbs: Exploring the use of emoji in online teacher-student communications in higher education. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 14(1), 30-41. https://bit.ly/3umgOY1

Danielewicz-Betz, A. (2013). (Mis)use of e-mail in student-faculty interaction: Implications for university instruction in Germany, Saudi Arabia and Japan. The JALT CALL Journal, 9(1), 23-57. https://doi.org/10.29140/jaltcall.v9n1.147

Derks, D., Bos, A.E.R., & von-Grumbkow, J. (2008a). Emoticons and online message interpretation. Social Science Computer Review, 26(3), 379-388. https://doi.org/10.1177/0894439307311611

Derks, D., Bos, A.E.R., & von-Grumbkow, J. (2008b). Emoticons in computer-mediated communication: Social motives and social context. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 11(1), 99-101. https://doi.org/10.1089/cpb.2007.9926

Dresner, E., & Herring, S.C. (2010). Functions of the nonverbal in CMC: Emoticons and illocutionary force. Communi-cation Theory, 20(3), 249-268. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2885.2010.01362.x

Dunlap, J.C., Bose, D., Lowenthal, P.R., York, C.S., Atkinson, M., & Murtagh, J. (2016). Chapter 8 - What sunshine is to flowers: A literature review on the use of emoticons to support online learning. In S.Y. Tettegah, & M. Gartmeier (Eds.), Emotions, technology, design, and learning (pp. 163-182). Academic Press. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-801856-9.00008-6

Economidou-Kogetsidis, M. (2018). 'Mr Paul, please inform me accordingly': Address forms, directness and degree of imposition in L2 emails. Pragmatics, 28(4), 489-515. https://doi.org/10.1075/prag.17025.eco

Escobar-Mamani, F., & Gómez-Arteta, I. (2020). WhatsApp for the development of oral and written communication skills in Peruvian adolescents. [WhatsApp para el desarrollo de habilidades comunicativas orales y escritas en adolescentes peruanos]. Comunicar, 65, 111-120. https://doi.org/10.3916/C65-2020-10

Filippone, M., & Survinski, M. (2016). The Importance of etiquette in school email. American Secondary Education, 45(1), 22-28. https://doi.org/10.4028/www.scientific.net/AMM.333-335.2206

Haji, H., & Bakir, S. (2019). The use of emoticons among university students: A pragmatic study. Zanco Journal of Hu-manity Sciences, 23(1), 278-290. https://doi.org/10.21271/zjhs.23.1.19

Hallajian, A., & Khemlani, M. (2014). 'Hello and a good day to you dear Dr. ...' Greetings and closings in supervisors-supervisees email exchanges. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 118, 85-93. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.02.012

Hamid, A. (2018). Justification of emoticons as verbal Vs nonverbal communication tool. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 23(4), 54-58. https://doi.org/10.9790/0837-2304035458

Huang, H.C. (2016). Openings and closings in intercultural email communication: A case study of Taiwanese, Japa-nese, and Italian students. In Ys, Chen., DH, Rau., & G. Rau (Eds), Email discourse among nglish using english as a lingua Franca. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-287-888-5_9

Jibril, T.A., & Abdullah, M.H. (2013). Relevance of emoticons in computer-mediated communication contexts: An over-view. Asian Social Science, 9(4), 201-207. https://doi.org/10.5539/ass.v9n4p201

Jones, L.L., Wurm, L.H., Norville, G.A., & Mullins, K.L. (2020). Sex differences in emoji use, familiarity, and valence. Computers in Human Behavior, 108, 106305. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2020.106305

Kaye, L.K., Wall, H.J., & Malone, S.A. (2016). 'Turn that frown upside-down': A contextual account of emoticon usage on different virtual platforms. Computers in Human Behavior, 60, 463-467. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.02.088

Kim, D.H, Yoon, H.B., Yoo, D.M, Lee, S.M, Jung, H., Kim, S.J., Shin, J.S, Lee, S., & Yim, J.J. (2016). Etiquette for medi-cal students’ email communication with faculty members: a single-institution study. BMC Medical Education, 16(129). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-016-0628-y

Koufteros, X.A. (1999). Testing a model of pull production: A paradigm for manufacturing research using structural equation modeling. Journal of Operations Management, 17(4), 467-488. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0272-6963(99)00002-9

Lam, P.W.Y. (2014). Professional e-mail communication in higher education in Hong Kong: a case study. Text & Talk, 34(2), 143-164. https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2013-0041

Lo, S.K. (2008). The nonverbal communication functions of emoticons in computer-mediated communication. Cy-berPsychology & Behavior, 11(5), 595-597. https://doi.org/10.1089/cpb.2007.0132

Logi, L., & Zappavigna, M. (2021). A social semiotic perspective on emoji: How emoji and language interact to make meaning in digital messages. New Media and Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/14614448211032965

Lu, X., Ai, W., Liu, X., Li, Q., Wang, N., Huang, G., & Mei, Q. (2016). Learning from the ubiquitous language. In P. Lu-kowicz., & A. Krüger (Eds.), UbiComp ’16: Proceedings of the 2016 ACM international joint conference on pervasive and ubiquitous computing (pp. 770-780). ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/2971648.2971724

Manganari, E.E. (2021). Emoji use in computer-mediated communication. The International Technology Management Review, 10(1), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.2991/itmr.k.210105.001

Meier, A., & Reinecke, L. (2020). Computer-mediated communication, social media, and mental health: A conceptual and empirical meta-review. Communication Research, 48(8), 1182-1209. https://doi.org/10.1177/0093650220958224

Ng, W. (2012). Can we teach digital natives digital literacy? Computers and Education, 59(3), 1065-1078. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2012.04.016

Oleszkiewicz, A., Karwowski, M., Pisanski, K., Sorokowski, P., Sobrado, B., & Sorokowska, A. (2017). Who uses emoti-cons? Data from 86 702 Facebook users. Personality and Individual Differences, 119, 289-295. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2017.07.034

Prior, D.D., Mazanov, J., Meacheam, D., Heaslip, G., & Hanson, J. (2016). Attitude, digital literacy and self efficacy: Flow-on effects for online learning behavior. Internet and Higher Education, 29, 91-97. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iheduc.2016.01.001

Raslie, H., & Ting, S.H. (2021). Gen Y and gen Z communication style. Estudios de Economía Aplicada, 39(1), 1-18. https://doi.org/10.25115/eea.v39i1.4268

Rodrigues, D., Prada, M., Gaspar, R., Garrido, M.V., & Lopes, D. (2018). Lisbon emoji and emoticon database (LEED): Norms for emoji and emoticons in seven evaluative dimensions. Behavior Research Methods, 50(1), 392-405. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-017-0878-6

Rosseel Y. (2021). The lavaan tutorial. https://bit.ly/3MDypRu

Rust, R.T., & Huang, M.H. (2021). The age of emoji BT. In R.T. Rust, & M.H. Huang (Eds), The feeling economy: How Artificial intelligence is creating the era of empathy (pp 63-68). Palgrave Macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-52977-2_5

Shah, R., & Tewari, R. (2021). Mapping emoji usage among youth. Journal of Creative Communications, 16(1), 113-125. https://doi.org/10.1177/0973258620982541

Shao, X., & Purpur, G. (2016). Effects of information literacy skills on student writing and course performance. Journal of Academic Librarianship, 42(6), 670-678. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2016.08.006

Skovholt, K., Grønning, A., & Kankaanranta, A. (2014). The communicative functions of emoticons in workplace e-mails:?:-)*. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 19(4), 780-797. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcc4.12063

Sorgo, A., Bartol, T., Dolnicar, D., & Boh-Podgornik, B. (2017). Attributes of digital natives as predictors of information literacy in higher education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 48(3), 749-767. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.12451

Stanton, A.L. (2014). Islamic emoticons: Pious sociability and community building in online Muslim communities. In T. Benski, & E. Fisher (Eds.), Internet and emotions (pp. 80-98). Routledge. https://bit.ly/3sP1FNd

Sugiyama, S. (2015). Kawaii meiru and Maroyaka neko: Mobile emoji for relationship maintenance and aesthetic expressions among Japanese teens. First Monday, 20(10). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v20i10.5826

Tang, Y., & Hew, K. (2018). Emoticon, emoji, and sticker use in computer-mediated communications: Understanding its communicative function, impact, user behavior, and motive. In L. Dneg, W.W.K. Ma, & C.W.R. Fong (Eds.), New media for educational change. Educational communications and technology yearbook (pp. 191-201). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-8896-4_16

Thompson, D., & Filik, R. (2016). Sarcasm in written communication: Emoticons are efficient markers of intention. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 21(2), 105-120. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcc4.12156

Tratnik, A., Znidarsic, A., Jerebic, J., Rajkovic, U., Baggia, A., Gak, D., Grbic, T., Durakovic, N., & Medic, S. (2021). Pre-dictors of email communication skills among Slovenian and Serbian students. In S. Drobne, L. Zadnik-Stirn, M. Kljajic-Borstnar, J. Povh, & J. Zerovnik (Eds.), SOR'21 Proceedings (pp. 241-246). Slovenian society INFORMATIKA – Section for operational research. https://bit.ly/3NgifNH

Waldvogel, J. (2007). Greetings and closings in workplace email. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(2), 456-477. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00333.x

Walther, J.B., & D’Addario, K.P. (2001). The impacts of emoticons on message interpretation in computer-mediated communication. Social Science Computer Review, 19(3), 324-347. https://doi.org/10.1177/089443930101900307

Wilson, J.H., Ryan, R.G., & Pugh, J.L. (2010). Professor-student rapport scale predicts student outcomes. Teaching of Psychology, 37(4), 246-251. https://doi.org/10.1080/00986283.2010.510976

Wolf, A. (2000). Emotional expression online: gender differences in emoticon use. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 3(5), 827-833. https://doi.org/10.1089/10949310050191809


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item