Being on a listserv is like having a subscription to a hyperactive newspaper or magazine; you automatically receive any messages that someone has sent to the listserv. By the same token, any message you send to the listserv will be distributed automatically to everyone who is subscribed to it (including to you!).
To send a message to the list, just compose a normal email message, but rather than sending it to an individual, send it instead to "firstname.lastname@example.org" (this is the listserv address).
To receive messages, you must be subscribed to the ghostlist. Here, you have two options: you can either tell the listserv to send you a message the moment someone posts one, or you can tell it to send you one long message per day that consists of all the postings in the previous 24 hours. The first option means you'll get anywhere from 50-100 shortish messages per week at various times during the day; the second means you'll get 2-4 longish ones at the end of days when messages get posted to the list. It's your call.
To choose the first subscription option, send an email message to "email@example.com" with the subject line blank and the command "join ghostlist" in the body; to choose the second, send an email message to "firstname.lastname@example.org" with the subject line blank and the commands "join ghostlist" and "digest ghostlist" in the body.
The "digest" subscription option has clear advantages over the regular subscription, particularly in terms of avoiding clutter in your inbox. The only complication I can think of is that it might be more difficult to find a particular message you want to save or reply to under this option. Again, it's up to you--and remember, you can always change your mind.
When you subscribe to the ghostlist, you will receive a confirmation message that describes other useful commands. Save this message for future reference.
Although it involves some considerable thought, time, and effort on your part, the ghostlist listserv is a crucial component of this course: 1) it will allow me to determine who is doing the reading and what questions you all have about the texts and the course; 2) it will require you to have read the texts and thought about them well before we meet to discuss them in class, thereby enabling us to use class time more efficiently; 3) it will set up a working rhythm for the semester and encourage steady engagement with the texts and with each other; 4) it will provide an avenue for participation for students who may be uncomfortable speaking in class; 5) it will provide the opportunity to practice communicating your ideas in writing in a relatively low-pressure, fairly informal setting; 6) it will provide a forum for responding to each other's ideas and interpretations directly and conveniently, with minimal intervention or mediation from me; 7) it will prepare you for the mid-term exam and will provide raw material for your more formal critical response papers and final essay; 8) it will save paper.
EN 209: Novels and Tales, Fall 1998
Last modified: 9/23/98, 9:16 am