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Student mass e-mail project plan


Note that the project proposal has been split off into a separate document.

We assume that all students and staff will continue to have access to University equipment (such as Alcor, the dial-in lines, the terminal rooms, and the Internet Lab) to use e-mail.

Preliminary investigations

Policy, procedure, and documentation

Maintenance of student e-mail addresses (forwarding service)

A "virtual host" called "students.concordia.ca" will be implemented (on Clyde).

Students will update or provide their "real" (forwarding) e-mail address using the existing web interface on "websis", to which an appropriate item will of course be added. It should be clear that requesting an "@students" address will result in their receiving informational messages from the University.

Additionally, when potential students apply to Concordia and provide their contact e-mail address, their permission will be sought to use that address should they eventually be registered at Concordia. It must be made clear that giving consent will result in their receiving informational messages from the University.

The address data will be maintained and stored in the SIS.

Tables of username to real e-mail address correspondences will be shipped from the SIS to Clyde daily (or more often if judged appropriate) for incorporation into the forwarding tables. The process will of course be automated.

To increase the proportion of students providing contact addresses, it is likely that the new forwarding service will be publicized in various ways, including an item on the WEBSIS main page.

Per-class lists

The per class lists will not be implemented as Majordomo mailing lists, but rather, the existing WebCT facility will be used.

This means that, for all classes given in the Faculty of Arts and Science, a WebCT class will be created. WebCT courses will be populated and updated automatically by IITS on a periodic basis.

The departments will be responsible for communicating instructor information to the WebCT administrator, and, where necessary, for providing the WebCT course passwords to the instructors.

Currently, the process for an instructor to send an announcement to the class via WebCT requires a cut-and-paste operation. IITS will add a button to make this a one-step operation for the instructor.

Currently, students may consult their WebCT e-mail by logging in to the relevant class on WebCT. They also have the option of forwarding their e-mail (on a per-class basis) to a regular mailbox on some other system.

However, at this time, it is not possible to send e-mail in to the WebCT system from the outside, so students cannot reply to an instructor's message which has been forwarded to another system. IITS will look into adding a facility by which e-mail can be sent from the "outside" to WebCT mailboxes.

Standing lists

The other standing lists, such as per-department, per-major, all students in Faculty, and so on, will be implemented as Majordomo mailing lists, owned and moderated by faculty members or other staff assigned by the Dean. These lists are expected to be relatively static, so their creation and deletion, and changes in list ownership, will be handled manually by IITS.

Standing lists will be configured by IITS in accordance with appropriate header and fronter standards.

IITS will also set up automated jobs to periodically update the list membership according to the criteria specified.

"Ad hoc" lists

"Ad hoc" lists should be requested of IITS by the Dean of a Faculty or by the Dean of Students or by a Vice-Rector. These will be negotiated on an individual basis. Add more detail here?

When a temporary list is needed, the request will be submitted by the Dean to IITS, similarly to the procedure for standing lists. IITS will create, configure, and populate the Majordomo mailing list, and inform the moderator.

IITS will remove the list after a specified time period.

General mailing list implementation (Majordomo)

Software upgrades

Support software

Performance checks

Deployment and production

Alcor account creation

This subproject was added on 2000/06/15 in a meeting with Bill Miller and John Woodrow. It will be possible for a student to request the creation of an Alcor account, at the time they fill out the for to update their mail forwarding.

Detailed analysis for this subproject is not yet done.

Related but non-critical software

Facilitating Majordomo use

Other e-mail related tasks

Online directory for students

Extension of service to faculty and staff

While the first phase of this project involves e-mail to students only, it is understood that a more general facility is desirable to provide for announcements to faculty and staff.


Copyright, © 2004, Concordia University,
Instructional and Information Technology Services (IITS).


Author: Anne Bennett
Credits: (none)
Maintained by: postmaster@concordia.ca
Last update: 2000/08/24 -- Anne Bennett

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