College professors are anything but LOL at their students' recent writing habits.
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 sternly telling students to stop using the new language even in less formal writing.
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.
Tech-speak has been moving through the educational pipeline toward colleges for a few years. A 2008 survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that two-thirds of middle- and high-school students had accidentally used instant-messaging-style words in their work, while a quarter admitted using emoticons in assignments.
(Matt Krupnik. Texting slang invading academic work. The Seattle Times. April 14, 2010.)