1 Federal University of Agriculture, Institute of Communication and General Studies (NIGERIA)
2 Department of Agricultural Extension and Farm Management (NIGERIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 4969-4976
ISBN: 978-84-695-3491-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The frequent use of electronic mail (e-mail) in education is evidenced in the quick reach of exchanging information among students as well as between students and lecturers. This study was carried out to examine the discourse organization in electronic mails collected from postgraduate students of the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Ogun State. E-mail messages were received from one hundred and fifty-nine (159) postgraduate students. Thirty-four (34) of these, covering different subjects in both formal and informal writing styles, were found suitable for the study. The data were analyzed using three (3) stages of discourse analysis; macro-structure, micro-structure and rhetorical structure. The results show the presence of features associated with e-mail regular template, formal and informal writing as well as features associated with traditional letter writing. The students made use of a wide range of cohesive devices in both formal and informal messages. However, there were features associated with informal writing in the students’ formal messages and features associated with formal writing in their informal messages. This indicated that the students might not have complete mastery of sociolinguistics in effective communication.  Based on the results, it was recommended that in using e-mail, specific writing standards should be adopted by lecturers in order to serve as models to their students. Also, postgraduate students need to acquire more knowledge of cohesive items that are suitable for various writings.