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Students' lingo upsets professors

College professors are anything but LOL at their students’ recent shorthand text messaging skills, thats ruining the sense of professionalism in them.

india Updated: Apr 20, 2010 14:53 IST

Not only are instructors not laughing out loud — shortened to LOL in text messages and online chats — at the technology-oriented shorthand that has seeped into academic papers, many of them also telling students to stop using the new language even in less formal writing.

The shorthand often consists of shortened variations of common words — “u” instead of you, or “ur” for your. Text speak may be appropriate for a quick note to a friend, but professors are increasingly stymied by how casually students are using the terms.“Despite the fact that I happen to be perfectly capable of reading any incoherent drivel you may send to my (e-mail) inbox directly from your phone keypad, ‘wut up ya I cnt make it 2 clss lol’ is insanely unprofessional,” reads the syllabus of Alejo Enriquez, a Cal State East Bay instructor.

“Therefore, I am imposing a higher standard of grammar, spelling, and use of the enter key upon you and kindly request that all e-mails sent to me resemble any other letter to your teacher, supervisor, grandparents or parole officer.” Faculty members increasingly have expressed irritation about reading acronyms and abbreviations they often do not understand, said Sally Murphy, a Cal State East Bay professor and director of the university’s general-education program. One e-mail to a professor started with, “Yo, teach,” she said.

A case for credibility
“We tell them very specifically how this is going to affect them in life. It’s kind of like wearing their jeans below their butt. They’re going to lose all credibility,” said Murphy.The introduction of such casual language into term papers is a sea change from the days when nearly all students addressed their instructors as “professor” or “doctor.” More faculty members ask students to call them by their first names, but many are drawing the line at texting shorthand or even emoticons — smiley faces made out of punctuation marks.