Managing e-mail notifications from announcements

A common issue for staff  is balancing the need to be enrolled on multiple VLE sites with the accompanying e-mails that they receive from announcements that are made within the sites.  Understanding what you can, and cannot do about this requires a little bit of understanding of how the Announcements tool works.

The Announcement tool is a powerful and very visible way of keeping in touch with your students, by posting Announcements on the entry page of a VLE site and e-mailing a copy to all users (staff and students).  These e-mails are normally sent in batches though Instructors have the option of checking a box to Send announcement immediately which will do exactly what it says. There is no longer the option to not send an e-mail notification of an announcement.

There are two options for reducing the amount of e-mail traffic that you receive from the VLE, one of which can be done by individual users, the other would require a change to the way that the VLE was configured and that announcement notifications are delivered.

Changing your individual notification settings:  It is possible to opt out of receiving e-mail notifications from individual courses or all courses that you are teaching on or taking. Please be aware that even if you opt out of receiving e-mail notifications individually, this option will be overridden if an announcement maker selects to Send a copy of this announcement immediately and you would still get the e-mail. Please see this short guide for detail on how to edit your notification settings.

Changing the way that you are enrolled onto sites: In many cases, e-mail overload from the VLE is a result of individuals being enrolled onto multiple sites that they are not actually taking or teaching. While it can be very useful to be able to see what colleagues are doing in the VLE, the consequences are increased e-mail traffic and a very cluttered module list. One option would be to use the “self-enrol” tool which would allow staff to search for specific modules and manage their own enrolments. This tool can be provided to entire departments though this would normally need to be as a result of a departmental agreement that colleagues can enrol onto each other’s sites. This guide gives you an overview of the self enrol tool’s functionality once it has been released to staff within a given department.

Changing the way that the VLE delivers notifications across the system: One option to explore is the viability of changing the way that notifications are delivered from individual e-mails, to a daily digest of all activity across all sites. This could allow notifications to be expanded to include alerts on blog, journal and discussion board activity while still reducing the overall number of e-mails that staff and students receive. As you would expect, if an announcement maker selected Send a copy of this announcement immediately then the e-mail would be sent straight away. Clearly this would have implications for how staff use the Announcements tool and the way that recipients receive information from the VLE and we would be very keen on assessing how useful this would be and where the Pros and Cons of this move would be.

One response to “Managing e-mail notifications from announcements

  1. Pingback: Responding to the IT Survey 2014: taking your views on board | E-Learning Development Team·

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