Mailing Lists

Mailing Lists (aka "listserv") are a form of computer mediated communication that could be described as an interactive mailing list.

A mailing list system allows people to send e-mail to one address, whereupon their message is copied and sent to all of the other subscribers to the mail list. In most cases, individuals must subscribe to a mailing list in order to participate, and must unsubscribe if they wish to stop receiving e-mail from the list.

Sonoma State University supports the following types of mailing list use.

General Use Mailing Lists at SSU

A mailing list may be created to support subjects of interest to the University or to University groups. Faculty, staff, or students may request that such lists be established. Persons interested in establishing such a mailing list should first consult the SSU Mailing List Guidelines.

To request the creation of a general use mailing list, email a request with the following information to IT Help Desk:

  • a proposed title for the list,
  • a welcome message describing the purpose of the list and the intended audience.

Academic Department Announce Lists

These lists are designed for departments to send important information that students need, and so are not opt-in/opt-out. Thus students are not individually subscribed. Instead the list will have a single subscription for all majors, e.g At delivery time this is expanded to all students listed in CMS-HRSA (via LDAP) as having the major. The list administrator can subscribe faculty and other department staff if desired.

To request the creation of an Academic Department Announce List, the department chair or AC should contact the IT Help Desk. The standard name given to the list will be: Dept-Announce, e.g. COMS-Announce.

Class Mailing Lists

A class mailing list is exactly like a general mailing list except that it is reserved for use by the instructor and students enrolled in a class at SSU.

Faculty can create a mailing list for each class that they currently teach. This can be done with the class mailing list tool, and requires no intervention by IT staff. Normally you will receive notice that the list has been created within 30 minutes.

New: Class mailing lists are now created as "Mailman" lists. Mailman has a web interface for (un)subscribing addresses, and a host of options for customizing a list.The previous e-mail interface to class mailing lists (i.e. sending SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE commands to will no longer work.

The class mailing list tool automatically subscribes all currently-enrolled students. Subsequently, a program that runs every night subscribes students who added the class on the previous day, and unsubscribes those who dropped.

Once the listserv is created, instructors (or someone they delegate) may use Mailman's web interface to subscribe TAs or other interested parties, customize the welcome message that will be sent to students who add the class, set the list so that only certain people can post to it, etc. For information about how to make certain changes to your list see Mailman Administrator How-To.

Class Email in Moodle

Moodle has several tools that facilitate email communication with your students.

Moodle forums allow teachers and student to participate in asynchonous online discussions. Messages posted to the Forum can be viewed by all members of the Moodle course, or limited to specific groups of students. Teachers can also allow or require members be subscribed to a forum. Subscribers will get a copy of the message sent to their official SSU email account.

Teachers can select from 4 subscription options when creating a forum:

  • No - members can subscibe themselves to a forum if they want to.
  • Yes, forever - teachers can require member subscriptions.
  • Yes, initially - members are initially subscribed to the forum, but can unsubscribe themselves if they don't wish to get emailed copies of messages.
  • No subsciptions - members have to go to Moodle to see the messages.

See's Forums page for more information.

The News Forum is a special kind of Moodle forum. This is a one-way communication tool. When you post a message in the News Forum, it is visible in the forum's "Latest News" block on the course homepage. By default, each Moodle course includes a News Forum. As with other forums, the Teacher can choose a subscription option.

Forum Preferences

All Moodle users can adjust their forum tracking and subscription preferences in their Moodle Profile, in order to manage the amount and type of email they receive from Moodle forums.

See's Edit Profile page for details:

The Moodle's Mail tool allows Teachers and Student to send messages to eachother via a webmail-like interface. Teachers can send to groups or individuals. Messages are tied to courses, so users can only contact other participants in courses the user is enrolled in. Reading/sending of messages is accessed by clicking My Mail in the navigation block.

All Moodle users can adjust their forum tracking and subscription preferences in their Moodle Profile, in order to manage the amount and type of email they receive from Moodle forums.


See's Edit Profile page for details, specifically:

Moodle includes a built-in messaging system that allows Teachers and Students to send IM-like messages. Online users will get a pop-up window when there are incoming messages available. Teachers and Students can opt to receive a copy of messages sent to their official email address if they are offline.

Moodle Messages can be sent from a variety of blocks and tools in Moodle.

  • Participants
  • Online Users
  • Profile pages
  • Participation Reports
  • and others

See - Messaging for more information.

Moodle Questions?

Contact the IT Web Office if you'd like a demonstration of how to use Moodle with your course.

Other Mailing List Resources

For additional information about mailing list at SSU, contact IT Help Desk by e-mail or at x4-4357.