SEBS Overview, Policy and Goals

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) has implemented the Student Electronic Broadcast System (SEBS), with the support of the UCI Registrar and campus departments. This document provides an overview of student broadcast goals, policy, and options.

Goals

  1. Provide schools and departments facilities for distributing information to students electronically, utilizing current registrar data to identify students so that departments do not have to manually maintain and update their own lists.
  2. Improve the timeliness and effectiveness of student communications.
  3. Avoid overusing electronic distribution to the extent students stop paying attention to it.
  4. Provide easy-to-use Web-based alternatives to electronic mail for electronic information dissemination.
  5. Provide an authorization mechanism that facilitates the above goals but is understandable to the UCI community.
  6. Use a delivery device that reduces impact to users by preventing overloading of key campus resources such as campus subnets, the student e-mail servers, and other campus mail servers.

Mechanisms

The three mechanisms for electronic student broadcasts are:

  1. Weekly Digest of UCI news items, prepared under the auspices of the Vice Chancellor, Student Services. This digest was begun in early 1998, and is now know as the Anteater Weekly.
    • The digest is delivered over each weekend that school is in session.
    • It consists of brief “bullet” style announcement items, with a fixed maximum character size (about 3,000 characters).
    • If needed, additional information concerning each item can be provided via a reference to an e-mail address, telephone number, or Web address (URL).
    • Items are submitted to the Anteater Weekly Editor via e-mail to antweek@uci.edu. The editor sends the digest using a mechanism provided by OIT.
    • Students will be automatically added to the mailing list for the Weekly Digest when they come to UCI, but can request to be dropped from the list at anytime.
    • This is the “preferred” method of distribution information to all students at UCI.
  2. Electronic Mail (The Student Electronic Broadcast System, SEBS)
    • OIT maintains mailing lists which allow authorized individuals to send announcements by e-mail to all students or to subsets of all students (see below).
    • Electronic student broadcasts are sent in a manner to prevent disruption of campus e-mail services.
    • Because it is duplicated thousands of times during the delivery process, broadcast electronic mail should be small in size, with 5,000 characters a typical maximum size, (5MB). It is recommended that additional information beyond that provided in a broadcast be made available via a reference to a Web address (URL) or other method.
    • See SEBS Information
  3. NewsLinks
    • A proposed ,Web-based information dissemination mechanism personalized for each student at UCI, to be implemented in the future.
    • Items posted via NewsLinks will be almost immediately available to students.

Student Audiences

A variety of audiences have been identified for electronic distributions (please note that the EEE Course-based Mailing Lists are in place and already handle electronic mailings to students enrolled in each UCI course):

  • Campuswide Audiences:
    1. All Students
    2. All Graduate Students
    3. All Undergraduate Students
    4. All Undergraduate students at each level (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior)
  • Academic Subset Audiences:
    1. All Undergraduate students in each academic school
    2. All Graduate students in each academic school
    3. All Undergraduate students in each academic school at each level (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior)
    4. All Undergraduate students in each academic major

Approvals

To maintain effectiveness, it is important to prevent electronic distribution mechanisms from being overused, which would greatly reduce their benefit as communication tool for important academic information. A system of approvals is described below:

  • Weekly Digest:
    • Approval: Anteater Weekly Digest Editor
    • Timeframe: once-per-week delivery
    • This is the preferred method of electronic broadcast to all students
  • E-mail to Campuswide Audience via SEBS:
    • Approval: VC for Student Services, VC for Undergraduate Education, VC for Research, Associate EVC, EVC or Chancellor
    • Timeframe: delivery will begin as soon as the message is submitted, and should be completed overnight. Note also that students do not check their e-mail every day.
  • (Future) NewsLinks to Campuswide Audience:
    • Approval: as above, plus additional campuswide approval points as requested by the UCI administration.
    • Timeframe: Once implemented, posted announcements will be almost immediately available to students
  • E-mail to Academic Subset Audiences via SEBS:
    • Approval: appropriate school’s Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education (Undergraduate lists) or Associate Dean for Graduate Education (Graduate Lists), or the Dean of the school. One to two alternate approval points may be added by schools.
    • Timeframe: delivery will begin as soon as the message is submitted, but could take an additional day to complete delivery under conditions of heavy load. Note also that students do not check their e-mail every day.
  • (Future) NewsLinks to Academic Subset Audiences:
    • Approval: as above, plus additional approval points as requested by the school.
    • Timeframe: Once implemented, posted announcements will be almost immediately available to students

Implementation

SEBS provides automatically maintained mailing lists of students, utilizing data from the Registrar. OIT is in the process of reviewing the set of people allowed to post to each list with the schools and UCI administration. The authorized individuals will be supplied instructions for using the mailing lists, which will basically entail sending an e-mail message to a particular address corresponding to the subset of students being addressed. This process will be automatic, OIT will not be reviewing mailings before they go out to the students. Authorized senders should take precautions to ensure they are sending what they want to send.

The NewsLinks Web-based announcement system is planned for future development.

Lists Outside the Student Electronic Broadcast System

The system and procedures described in this document cover a subset of student mailing needs. For special purpose lists not covered, it is appropriate to create other mailing lists (user-maintained mailing lists, special lists created by academic units, etc.). It also should be noted that it is not difficult for campus entities to put together their own mailing lists to reach the same groups of students outlined above, or other large groups of students. Units are encouraged to take advantage of the Student Electronic Broadcast System’s (SEBS’) feature of automatically maintaining lists based on Registrar data.

All large mailings, whether they go through SEBS or not, should still be approved by the appropriate school or campus authorization point. In addition, large mailings should be done in such a way as to minimize impact to the responsiveness of network services and student e-mail systems. (A large mailing is defined as one that is intended to reach more than 200 recipients).

Comments

Comments on this document may be directed to Dana Roode, Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer, DRoode@UCI.EDU.

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