SEBS Usage Instructions

The Student Electronic Broadcast System (SEBS) provides electronic mailing lists for getting information to all UCI students, or to large subsets of students. This document explains how authorized people in each school or unit utilize the mailing lists.

Setting Up Accounts and Access

SEBS is implemented using mailing lists, with a specific mailing list available for each subset of students supported. Each mailing list has one or more addresses that are authorized to post to it. To distribute an announcement, an e-mail message is sent using normal e-mail software from an authorized account/e-mail address using on campus email servers, (SMTP). There is no review of posted broadcasts, once a message is sent it is queued for delivery directly to students.

Note: messages sent through off-campus servers (Google and Office 365) will not be accepted.  Configure your email client to use smtp.uci.edu for sending.

Each authorization point (typically the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, and/or Associate Dean for Graduate Programs in each school) supplies OIT with the e-mail addresses that should be able to post to the list. These accounts may be personal e-mail accounts, but it is recommended that special “function accounts” be setup for the purpose of sending broadcasts. The function accounts are configured to set sender information (what the students see on the “From:” line) as the school desires, and are a place to process student replies to mailings.

Schools may create their own function accounts on local servers, or OIT will create UCInetIDs and accounts for this purpose at a service fee of $5 per month.

Posting an Announcement

Announcements are posted to a student broadcast list by sending an e-mail message to the appropriate list address for the desired group of students. For example, there is one list for all undergraduate students in your school, and lists for each major in your school. Specific list addresses will be supplied by OIT to the broadcast contact in each school. Broadcasts may be sent from the account you have specified to OIT as authorized to post to your school’s mailing lists. Broadcasts may also be sent from any account, but will be subject to approval for distribution by the authorized account using builtin links sent to the authorized email account(s).

Address your message to LISTNAME@sebs.oit.uci.edu (i.e. all-grad@sebs.oit.uci.edu)

Your message will be processed by the SEBs Sympa Service system. Mail delivery will start immediately; complete delivery will depend on the number of students in a particular list and how busy the overall e-mail system is. Most deliveries will complete within a few minutes.

Replies

When a student replies to a broadcast message it will be sent to the account that posted the announcement. The use of “function accounts” as described above will allow replies to be kept separate from personal e-mail. It is important that function accounts be monitored for replies after a broadcast is posted.

Errors

E-mail is an imperfect mechanism, and there will often be errors in delivering to specific student addresses. Each error will cause an e-mail message to be generated in response. OIT has setup the broadcast system to direct the majority of errors to an OIT error processing account. Because of the way some mail software works, some errors will be returned to the e-mail address that originated the broadcast message. These may be forwarded to OIT@uci.edu.


 

Reading Broadcasts: Student E-mail Accounts

All announcements are sent to the address OIT has on file as the students’ “e-mail delivery point”. Student delivery points are set to their GoogleApps account or ES (Enterprise Services) account when they come to UCI. When students use a different account to process e-mail without updating their delivery point, broadcasts and other UCI mail will go to an e-mail inbox that the student doesn’t read. Therefore it is important to encourage everyone to keep their delivery points up to date. Students can verify and modify the e-mail delivery point set for their UCInetID using OIT PhUpdate Web Form.

Mailing Lists are Mandatory

There is no mechanism provided for students to remove themselves from the student broadcast mailing lists. The lists are intended for official university business, and the students must be included to read important campus and school announcements.

Confidentiality of Student Records

Student electronic mail addresses are considered part of student records, and students can opt to restrict their release. As a result, the Student Electronic Broadcast System does not share any student e-mail addresses. Please see the UCI Registrar’s official statement on student records for more information.


 

Broadcast Guidelines and Suggestions

There is a strong desire on-campus (and off) to utilize e-mail to reach groups of students to inform them for a wide variety of purposes. Instructors need to share class information, schools need to share curricular and academic information pertinent to their majors, and people selling things want to advertise, and so on. As a result of broadcasts and personal messages, the amount of e-mail coming into student accounts is growing, and there is a danger that important messages will go unnoticed.

OIT has collected guidelines and suggestions about using the broadcast lists, to maximize the benefit to the students, and minimize the impact on users of systems delivering mail:

Use Anteater Weekly: If you need to send a message out to all students, or most students, the preferred route is to use Anteater Weekly. This is an electronic digest edited by Student Services that goes out to all students on a weekly basis. Items may be submitted to the Anteater Weekly Editor via e-mail to antweek@uci.edu.

Subjects and introductions: Use explanatory subjects and introductory sentences that help the student decide how carefully he or she must read and react to the message. In some cases, students will look at the from and subject fields displayed in their e-mail software message summary and decide whether or not to read the message based solely on these fields. Put the important information first.

Keep the message concise: Because each message sent is duplicated thousands of times during the delivery process, it should be kept as short as practical. A reasonable goal is to keep messages about 5,000 characters, (5MB), or less in size. Information beyond that can be provided via a reference to a Web address (URL), telephone number, or e-mail address.

Official University business: The mailing lists are for official university business only. Please remember that students do not have an option to get off of the broadcast mailing lists.

Avoid overuse: Students will adjust their reading habits according to the value they find in the mail received from each sender. If your school’s authorized address sends a few messages a quarter, signed by the Associate Dean or other official, of critical/useful information, the students will watch their e-mail closely for your next announcement. If instead messages are sent many times a week, and are of value to only a few students, it will have the opposite effect.

Use plain text: Students use a variety of e-mail software to access their mail, please use plain-text without formatting or attachments to ensure everyone can easily read your message.

 

Questions/Feedback

If you have questions about the Student Electronic Broadcast System, input about its features, or further usage guidelines or suggestions, please email OIT@uci.edu.

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