Global Schoolhouse Home Home Base: Harnessing the Power of the WebIntro to NetPBL: Collaborative Project-Based LearningBuilding Collaborative Student Web ProjectsGuide to Conducting Research on the InternetLibrary of References, Readings and ResourcesTable of Contents
Introduction to Searching the Internet
Information Resources
Human Resources
Mailing Lists
Organizing Messages
Digital Resources
Topic-Oriented Research Directories
Search Engines
Primary Document Resources
1. Friends & Acquaintances
2. Academia
3. Government
4. Direct Approach
5. Soliciting Help Through E-mail
6. Search Tools for Finding People

5. Tips for Soliciting Help Through E-mail

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View a  Sample E-Mail Message Soliciting Information

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  1. Most people are eager to help you. There is a genuine concern for education and using the Internet to send valuable information to classrooms is an obvious benefit of technology that most people appreciate. So, do not hesitate to seek information through e-mail.
  1. At the same time that most people are eager to help education, they are also busy. They will not appreciate receiving numerous inquiries. So as you ask for information from experts via e-mail, consider that this will be your only chance. Carefully word your question(s) so that you will get the most and best information for your classroom. Ask your students to help.  Learning to ask effective questions is an important skill for the Information Age.
  2. The subject line of your e-mail message is critical to getting a response. Because most of the people from whom you will be requesting information are busy, they may not be in the practice of reading all of the e-mail messages they receive. They will, however, read all message subjects. It is the subject that will convince the expert to open and read your message. In a way, the subject is your advertisement. Make it short, descriptive, and inviting.
  3. If you can not find the expert, then find someone who can. Most government agencies will not post the e-mail addresses of consultants and other specialists on their Web sites. Instead, they will usually post a single address for the entire agency or department. This address is very much like a receptionist. The person who receives messages will forward them to the appropriate person. So do not hesitate to send your question to a general department or agency address.
  4. When writing your request for information, make it short. Once again, the person to whom you are sending the message is busy, and does not have time to read a lengthy letter. Also keep your paragraphs short (no more than three sentences) with a blank line between. People are more likely to read many short paragraphs than fewer long paragraphs
  5. Do not write a lengthy introduction. Explain very briefly what your class is doing so that you don't waste the time of a busy person.
  6. Include a signature at the bottom of your message. The reader can much more quickly learn about you and your personal and/or professional context if you clearly identify yourself and how to contact you.
  7. If you are soliciting information from other K-12 educators, then promise something in return. If you are developing a new unit on butterflies, then offer to send your teacher friends a copy of the unit. If you are asking teachers to survey their students for information that your class will be compiling and analyzing, then offer to send the results of your survey to all contributing classes.

Section: E-mail
Page 1: Friends & Acquaintances
Page 2: Academia
Page 3: Government
Page 4: Direct Approach
Page 5: Soliciting Help Through E-mail
Page 6: Search Tools for Finding People

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