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"What, Why, and What If...?": Joining and Using the Black Studies Listserv


What?

Being on a listserv is like having a subscription to a hyperactive newspaper or magazine that is distributed by email rather than paper; once subscribed, you automatically receive any messages that someone has sent to the listserv, and any message you send to the listserv will be distributed automatically to everyone who is subscribed to it.

For more information on listservs, including useful commands, check out the AIT Help Desk's Listserv Page and the Welcome to Listserv! maintained by L-Soft International.

How?

To send a message to your section's list, just compose a normal email message, but rather than sending it to an individual, send it instead to "engl24001@listserv.fredonia.edu." (That's ENGL24001, btw!)

However, before you can send or receive messages, you first must be subscribed to the listserv. To subscribe to your section's listserv, choose the email account you want to receive messages in and send messages from (for many of you, it will be your Fredonia account; for some, it will be an off-campus account from netsync or hotmail or aol or whatever), get into it, and send an email message to "listserv@listserv.fredonia.edu" with the subject line blank and the command "subscribe engl24001 Your Name" in the body. (That's ENGL24001, btw!)

Less than a minute after you send this message to the listserv-subscription-handling-machine, you will receive a preliminary confirmation message in your in-box that has important instructions on it. READ THIS. You are not officially subscribed to your section's listserv until you follow the instructions on it. After following those instructions, you will then receive a real confirmation message which describes the listserv and how to use it. SAVE THIS. You should now be able to post messages to the list (see above).

When you've successfully posted a message to the listserv for your section, you should receive a note back from the listserv-email-distribution-machine that says how many people the message was sent to--I would save this message, too, so you have a record of submitting a reading response for that week. Even better is to look in your "sentmail" folder (or the non-bluedevil equivalent) for an actual copy of the message--and save that in a folder of its own. It's not impossible for me to misplace or lose a reading response, given that I'm going to be dealing with 50/week this semester--protect yourself by keeping records and copies of the messages you send to the class listserv!

Finally, you should be reading and thinking about your classmates' discussion questions and reflective essays--see the Reading Responses page for advice on your listserv assignments.

See the "What If...?" section below if you don't know how to use email or if you run into problems during any one of the steps described above.

Why?

Although it involves some considerable thought, time, and effort on your part, the listserv is a crucial component of this course: 1) it will allow me to determine who is doing the reading--and how carefully you are thinking about it--as well as alert me to 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 medium; 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) the process of making observations, asking questions, and reading others' observations and questions will prepare you for and provide raw material for your more formal critical essay, mid-term examination and final project; 8) it will save paper.

What If...?

Now, communications technology is notoriously unstable under perfect conditions--and with the explosion of interest and use of the internet among Fredonia students and faculty, we are literally scrambling here to keep our technology infrastructure up to date. So be prepared for snafus, glitches, bugs, and other sorts of computer gremlins to crop up over the course of the semester. Perhaps the most important part of technological literacy is learning to deal with the unexpected with a minimum of panic, so I recommend taking every problem as an opportunity to learn something about computers. Here are some common problems and their solutions. If your problem is not listed here, please email me and I'll try to help you come to a solution. Also available for help is the Media Center (on the second floor of Thompson Hall) and their Help Desk (673-3150). But look here first!

Well, these are the most common problems my students have encountered. Hopefully, you won't have to deal with any of them. And again, please contact me if anything here is hard to understand or you're having a problem not covered here. Good luck!


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ENGL 200: Introduction to African American Literature and Culture, Fall 2003
Created: 8/26/03 8:32 am
Last modified: 9/3/03 11:14 am