The best way to contact students in your class is to use AsULearn’s Announcements Forum or QuickMail block. AsULearn is synchronized with Banner so you can be sure that you are contacting ALL your registered students during the volatile drop/add period when your participants may be changing frequently. With each of these options, a record of your communication (forum post or email) is retained in the course, but only Announcements leave a student-accessible copy posted in the course. Quickmail only leaves a copy visible to the Teacher.
Announcements is a Forum within every course in AsULearn. When instructors compose a message and click Post to forum, the content of the post will then be automatically emailed to all enrolled participants (at their @appstate email address) with a 15-minute delay to give you time to edit.
Alternatively, you can click the Advanced option to access the advanced editor, then check the Send forum post notifications with no editing-time delay option. You can also "pin" the post to the top of the forum if you wish.
If time critical, QuickMail is considered to be speedier than Announcements. That said, what many faculty love about using the Announcements is that a student-viewable copy of your communication is posted in the forum, where it remains. So, if a student loses an email, or has a question afterward, you can simply refer them to the Announcements forum in the course to review any and every post you have made. No more searching for a sent mail, since all your posts will remain visible to all students unless you decide to delete them.
In order for the email message to be sent from Announcements, the AsULearn course in which you posted it must be visible to students. To put it another way: Email is not sent from the Announcements Forum in hidden courses. This is something to be considered when communicating with students before classes begin, if you elect to leave your course hidden. Quickmail will send email from a course that is hidden from students. To put it another way: Email is sent via Quickmail in hidden courses.
- The Quickmail block is added to each AsULearn course by default. It is not visible to students. The instructor can use it to send email to the entire class, groups, or individual students. Quickmail is sent to each participant as a blind copy (bcc:), so other recipients are not notified of classmates who also received the email. Unlike Announcements posts, Quickmail will send from a course that is hidden from students. Also unlike Announcements posts, no record of the sent message is posted in the course for students to access afterward if they lose the email. Only the teacher will have a copy available to them in the View Sent Messages (and you can elect to be emailed a copy when you send it), but none are posted in the course for the students to access.
Quickmail Use Case: 5 students struggled on the first exam. Instructor sends one Quickmail to the 5 students with a generic subject of "Concerned about your progress" and a generic body expressing concern, reiterating office hours, available labs, study resources, etc. Each student will receive the message in the blind, and it will appear as if it was sent only to them.
Note: The AsULearn course does not need to be visible to students in order to send via Quickmail.
The "Bottom Line"
A lot of faculty who don't make their course visible before the first day of class use Quickmail during that period (since it emails from hidden courses). If the course is visible, either made visible early, or after 7am on the first day of the term, Announcements are almost universally preferred.
To Send Quickmail
- Locate the Quickmail block on the main course page.
- Click Compose Course Message (see below for other Quickmail options). At the top, you'll be able to select and add those who receive the message. Most common is All in course. But, you can send the email to those with a certain role, in a certain group, or to an individual student or students. In the latter case, remember it is sent bcc. Click the item(s) on the left, then Add. To remove an item click it in the right column, then Remove.
- In the message area, enter a Subject for your message and compose the email you want to send. NOTE: You can specify in Configuration settings to automatically Prepend Course Name to the subject of email messages. Apply options below.
- You can use data fields in the Body of your message to be replaced by the users' or course's corresponding data, e.g., [:firstname;] will be replaced in the email with each user's first name.
- You can select one or more files to be Attached to the message.
- You can use a message Signature (your name and additional information formatted like you want) that you have set up, or Create new to make one.
- Send message as an Email to be delivered to each user's email account is strongly recommended. Selecting Moodle message will create an 'instant message' sent to the user's AsULearn Messaging drawer* (not recommended). NOTE: Users can disable the email forwarding of messages that they receive when they are offline. So, selecting Moodle message may result in a student never receiving an email, or never seeing the message at all.
- Send at a later date and time; click Enable, then set date and time for message to be sent. Works great!
- Select Yes to Receive a send report. You can View Sent Messages from the Quickmail block. Click View by a message to view the message and its delivery report.*
* Your preference for default selection can be set under Configuration for the Quickmail block (see below).
- Click the Send Message button to send or schedule sending your message. Click Save Draft to save what you have composed and return to it later. Or click Cancel to abandon the message entirely.
Other Quickmail options
View Drafts that you have saved to Edit or Duplicate the message to modify and Send, or Delete.
View Scheduled messages to View the message, Send Now instead of waiting until the scheduled time, or Unqueue to move the message to your Drafts. View a message to see the option to Duplicate it.
View Sent Messages then View a specific message and its Send Report, as well as the option to Duplicate it.
Click My Signature to create one or more message closings with your name and any other information formatted like you want to include at the bottom of messages. From the Compose Course Message page you can specify which Signature to use (or None). NOTE: Signatures are associated with your AsULearn account and not specific to a course, so if you want course information in your signature you should have separate ones for each course and name them so you can identify them by course.
Configuration provides settings and defaults for using Quickmail specific to your course, that is, your Configuration settings will be different for each course. Click the onscreen blue question marks for help with the settings. Click the Save preferences button to save any changes: Back will cancel your changes.