Rutgers Automated Mass-mailing System

Class List Creator Manual

     The class list creator is a tool for creating automated mailing lists based on roster information. It will allow you to create mailing list for any combination of all the sections of all the classes you have roster privileges for. These lists will be dynamically generated at the time a message is posted to the list. The data used to generate them is updated daily. The data it is updated from, however, is itself updated at different intervals during the year. During critical periods like add drop, the lag between registrar changes and RAMS being updated with the change may be between 15 hours and 24 hours. During finals, lag time may be as much as a business week as the source data is only updated twice per week at that point. The class list creation tool is only for list creation. Class lists are managed and maintained through the Class List Creator just like every other RAMS list.

Login

     When you first log into the application, you will be presented with a login pop-up for radius. You should enter your username as <username>@rci. Replace <username> with your rci username. The password is your rci password. At some point this will be moved to a radius login that supports more than just the RCI kerberos realm. At this point, your username will eb used to look up your roster privileges. If you do not have any roster privileges set, the application will be of no use to you. To get roster privileges, contact your dean/director/department chair or their assistant. It is also important to note that unlike the rest of rams, this application communicates with a remote ACS database, and thus it's availability is dependent on said database.

Create Class Mailing List Screen

     This is the first screen you will be presented with after a successful login. Select the year and term for the class or classes you wish to create a list for from the pull-down lists. For practical reasons, lists are not permitted to span classes across semesters. Once you have picked the correct year and term, click on the select sections button.

Select Sections Screen

    This screen lists all the sections of all the classes that you have roster privileges for. The format for listing the classes is:

YEAR:TERM:OFFERING UNIT:SUBJECT:COURSE NUMBER:SECTION NUMBER

Although not exactly the same, it is similar to the format from the printed schedule of classes. At this point check all the sections you wish to add to the list you are creating. When you choose the membership of the list, you should consider how you plan to use and manage the list. If it is for discussion purposes, you may wish to make one list for an entire class. If it is for announcements, you may do the same, or you may wish to break it up by recitation so that your TA's may manage a list for the sections they handle. Once you have selected the sections you wish to include in the list, Click on the pick list name button at the bottom of the screen.

Pick List Name Screen

     On this screen, you will provide both a name and description for the mailing list. The name will be part of the actual e-mail address of the list, and should not include characters inappropriate for such. The name should attempt to be descriptive, but not too verbose. It should also be pointed out that these lists will persist for a set duration after the last day of classes and that as long as a list exists with a given name, no other list may have that name. If you attempt to complete this screen using a list name already allocated, you will come back to this screen to chose another rather than progress. When filling in the list description, Please be terse but sufficient in describing the nature of the list. If the purpose of the list is to announce quiz scores for CS:314's thursday recitation, then something like "CS:314 Moderated list for quiz scores thursday recitation, sections 22-25," would be good. When you have filled both pieces of information in, click on the set options button at the bottom of the page.

Set Options Screen

     It should be noted that at this point a skeleton of the list has been entered into the database, but has not been activated. If you encounter any catastrophic errors from this point on in the application, you should contact helpdesk@nbcs.rutgers.edu for support. The options you will be setting on this page are the archive type and the posting privileges. The choices for archive type are archive, no archive, and private. If you pick archive a public archive will be available via the archive and statistics page. If you choose no archive, it will not be available. If you choose private, it will have the same result as choosing no archive until security issues regarding private archives are worked out. It is important to note that regardless of settings, archives will be maintained for all lists on the system. This setting simply controls the display of these archives. This setting may be changed later via the list editor. The choices for posting privileges are open, closed, and moderated. A open list allows anyone to post to the membership of the list from any address. Use of this type of list is strongly discouraged. A closed list allows messages to be posted to the membership of the list from any address that is part of the membership of the list as well as owners and moderators. This is the type of list you want if you intend to provide the list as a forum for class discussion outside of the actual class. A moderated list allows submission of a message from any e-mail address, but no submission will actually be posted to the membership of a list until it is approved by a moderator. This is the type of list you want if the purpose of the list is to make announcements to a class. This option may also be changed later via the list editor. When you have set the options top your desired values, click on the set more options button.

Set More Options Screen

      This screen allows you to set an owner and a moderator for the list. You should provide a valid e-mail address and a valid rci username. If you fail to provide a valid username for the owner, none of the web tools will be available for the use of the owner. Essentially the list will be broken. If you fail to provide a valid address for the owner, they will not be able to receive critical notices regarding RAMS or support issues. If the list is not a moderated list, you need not fill in information for the moderator. However, with a moderated list, failure to provide a valid rci username will prevent them from having access to the list editor to approve or kill postings for the list. If you fail to provide a valid address for the moderator, they will be unable to approve postings via e-mail. Failure to provide correct owner information will result in a broken list that you will have to contact support to have corrected. Moderator information can be provided or fixed at a later date via the list editor provided your owner information is correct. If you wish to have more than one owner or moderator for a list, you can add additional ones using the list editor. When you are done with this page, clisk on the button marked Finish setup.

Finish Setup Screen

     At this point, barring any errors with the data you have provided, the list has all the information it needs to be usable. Click the activate list button in order to turn the list on. Once you click the button, you will receive a confirmation message that it was successful. This message will give you the address for the list. If you receive an error, contact support.

Additional considerations

     Since the target audience for this tool is faculty looking to create lists for their own classes, it is recommended that you provide your information for both owner and moderator and add any additional editors and moderators through the list editor after the list is activated. It should also be noted that the acceptable use policy applies to faculty and staff as well as the student body. Additionally, faculty and staff are bound by university policy regarding disclosure of student information. Although e-mail may seem more private than a photocopy posted in a hallway, it really is not. Keep this in mind with regard to the content of the list. Posting social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, and passwords really should not be done.

     It should also be noted that the person who originally created the list may alter the membership of the list through the list editor. This means that you can add or drop sections that you have roster privileges for at any point. If you so choose, you can drop all of a semester's sections and replace them with the next or current semester's sections so you do not have to make a new list every year. However, if you do this, you should be wary of keeping public archives. If you keep public archives, avoid posting quizzes, tests, or the answers to them.

     Please use the lists responsibly. We currently permit attachments on list messages. However, e-mail is not an efficient way to transport large files. If you attach a 2 megabyte file to a message going out to 1000 students, you have used up over 2 gigabytes of storage space to distribute that file. If you need to share files, put them on a web or ftp server, and post the URL for them. If you do not have these resources available to you you should look into WebCT which is also available as a service from RUCS. 

TIPS & HINTS

     You can reuse your list semester to semester and year to year by using the change list definition feature of the list editor tool. This lets you redefine the composition of the list. Currently our aging policy for class lists is that we allow them to exist for 1 year past the last day of classes for the classes the list is made up for. As long as you update the list composition using this feature, the list will not expire as long as you are adding current classes/sections to your list. Please note that by using the change list definition feature the previous membership of the list will be overwritten. All list settings besides the demographic membership definition will remain the same. This means owners, moderators, archives, manually added or removed addresses, etc.

At this point, you should read the list editor document.