Listservs and Online Education

By: John Debt

In a class environment you may have many occasions when you want to send the same message to everyone or to a list of people. A listserv is a mail list of specific individuals who regularly participate in discussions. You become a member of that mail list by 'subscribing' to the list - just like subscribing to a free newsletter or magazine. To subscribe, you send an email to the listserv moderator asking to become a member of the list. Once you subscribe to the list, you automatically receive email messages from anyone who responds to the server until you 'unsubscribe'.

When using regular one-to-one email, it is best to keep in mind that most people don't want to read more than one screen of information.

Email has become so ubiquitous that people are inundated with mail and try to get through it as quickly as possible. If you have more than one screen of information to share, it is better to write it in a word processor and attach the file to your email message. In that way, you can present your written communication in an organized and formatted document that is easy to read, instead of many lines of unformatted email.
The email in Figure 3.2 is short and to the point. The writer needed to pass along a reply without going into a lot of detail. Note that she doesn't continue with an explanation of why she won't have her computer for two weeks, or how difficult it has been for her to be using a computer that is not at the same level as someone else. She simply states the facts, requests a solution, a hard copy of the document, and offers to participate in the sharing process when she has prepared her lessons.

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