The biggest difference is that when a student comes to your office, you will ask for picture identification, and you are unable to do that through the mail or email. It is always appropriate to communicate with a student by mail, provided that you use the student's address of record with ASU, which you may find in the student information system. Email is another situation entirely. So much of our work has been improved by the use of technology, and both the ease and the speed of email make it a very appealing communication choice. However, users should exercise extreme caution in using email to communicate confidential or sensitive matters and should not assume that email is private and confidential. It is especially important that users are careful to send messages only to the intended recipient(s). If a student prefers to use email, you may want to obtain his/her advance, signed, written authorization to exchange information by email. The document should include their understanding that they assume all risk assumed with any possible inappropriate interception of an email transmission. If you do follow this approach, be certain to retain the signed authorization document. Also, you should correspond only to the student's official @asu.edu email address.