I’ve written before about the utility of PhraseExpress. PhraseExpress (Windows; Mac users try TextExpander) allows you to create text shortcuts. For example, when I type #IV it automatically expands to independent variable; #slo will expand to student learning outcome; #entry generates a paragraph of text explaining why I won’t give an entry code to a student who doesn’t meet the prerequisite for my course. These programs work anywhere you can type, such as your email, your word processing program, your browser.
LifeHacker has a nice use for it. Create a shortcut, say #rude, that generates a canned response to rude or hostile email messages. The author of the article suggests this:
“I’m open to hearing what you have to say and having a discussion about it, but I have a policy of ignoring people who take a malicious approach to conversation. I felt something that you said fell under this heading, and if you’d like to try again with a kinder approach, I’d be happy to have a conversation with you.”
When you get that nasty email, hit reply, type #rude, and watch this paragraph appear. Hit send. And file the originating email safely out of your sight.