M A I N * N E W S * T O P I C S * L I N K S * R E S E R V E S
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.
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 "email@example.com" if you are in Section 3, or "firstname.lastname@example.org" if you are in Section 7 (these are the listserv addresses).
However, before you can send or receive messages, you first must be subscribed to the listserv. 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 30 or so shortish messages per week at various times during the day; the second means you'll get 2-4 longish ones per week 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 en20903" or "join en20907" (depending on your section number) 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 en20903" and "digest en20903" (or "join en20907" and "digest en20907") in the body.
When you subscribe to the listserv, you will receive a confirmation message that describes other useful commands. Save this message for future reference. When you've successfully posted a message to the listserv for your section, you should receive a copy of that message that says how many people the message was sent to--I would save this message, too, so you have a record of readng responses you've written.
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.
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 the mid-term exam and will provide raw material for your more formal critical response papers and final essay; 8) it will save paper.
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 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 (in Thompson Hall) and their Help Desk (673-3150). But look here first!
- ...I don't have a computer? No problem. There are plenty of computer clusters on campus open at virtually all hours of the day which you can use to check email and surf the web. Go to the Media Center for a list of such clusters, or ask your friends or classmates.
- ...I don't know how to check email or surf the web? Let's skip the latter problem--if you can't, any answer here won't help you, and if you can, you don't need a reminder. If you need a primer on checking email, read on. By registering as a student at Fredonia, you automatically are given an email account. To access it, you need to find the "bluedevil" icon on an on-campus computer (or find telnet and open a connection to "bluedevil.cc.fredonia.edu"). When you've opened up this program, you will be asked to type in a "login" ID. For undergraduates at Fredonia, this ID consists of the first four letters of your last name and the last four digits of your social security number. So NBA star Joe Smith's ID would look like "smit1234" (I'm making up his social security number, of course) After typing in your login ID, you'll be asked to type in a password; this is automatically set as your birthday (in month-date-year format, six characters in all). So Joe Smith would then type in "010874," while talk show host Jenny Jones after logging in as "jone4567" would type in "102778" (these numbers are of course fictional; the idea is to give you examples of the proper format). If all goes well, you'll get a screen with "bluedevil" along with a colon and a percentage sign after it--this is a sign that you're now connected to the "bluedevil" machine. Type in "pine" (an email program) to check your mail; use the commands listed on the screen to read mail, compose messages, set up folders to save messages, set up an address book so you can use nicknames instead of always typing in long email addresses, and so on. Two precautions about using email: 1) always quit or exit or logout when you're done if you're using a computer that others might use, so that they can't read your mail or send messages in your name or worse; 2) you should change your password for your Fredonia account ASAP, since if someone knows your birthday and your social security number, they can get into your account (contact the media center for the command to change your password).
- ...I use a computer at home? First, check to see if you have a modem and the proper internet software. The Media Center can help you here; they have a blue booklet called "Getting Connected" or something like that which takes you through the process. But let's say you're all set up, and that you'd rather email from home than use a cluster computer. You can dial in directly to Fredonia and use the program "telnet" to open up a connection to "bluedevil.cc.fredonia.edu," or you can connect to bluedevil through the email programs that Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer offer you (this involves setting the "preferences" under the "edit" menu in these programs). In either case, you follow the instructions in the previous paragraph. Now, you may already have internet service through a provider like hotmail or netsync or yahoo! or whatever. If you regularly use that email account and don't mind receiving dozens of messages per week on it, go ahead and subscribe to the listserv using that email account. You may choose to dial in to their modems rather than to the Fredonia modems (it could mean a local vs. a long distance call and thus save you money), but then connect to the Fredonia machines over the internet after you've connected to the commercial internet service provider. Generally this involves using telnet or Navigator or Explorer as described earlier in this paragraph.
- ...I try to log in to my email account but I keep getting a "login incorrect. Try again." response? Contact the Media Center--there could be a problem with your account.
- ...I try to modem in or log in to my email account, and nothing shows up? Odds are the modems aren't working or a Fredonia server (one of the computers that handles internet matters) is down. Try again later. You may call the Help Desk at x3150 to notify them of connection problems; see the blue book or campus directory for other useful numbers.
- ...I try to join the listserv but it's not happening? Until you've gotten a "Welcome to en2090x..." message or received reading responses from classmates, you can't be sure you're subscribed. If neither of these things has happened by now, check to see that you're sending your "join en2090x" (with a 3 or 7 in place of the x, depending on your section) message to the correct machine--to the one that handles subscriptions (email@example.com) rather than the machine that distributes messages (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- ...I try to send a message to the listserv but it gets bounced back to me with a weird error message? Odds are you either 1) are sending the message to the wrong address (see above); 2) have let a typo slip into the "to:" line of your original message; or 3) haven't yet subscribed to the listserv. Read that error message carefully; it should indicate what the specific problem is (even if it's in technicalese, you can figure it out!). Now, if it's a typo, that's easily fixable. Once you've fixed it for that message, you can then create a nickname using the address book, so that whenever you type in the nickname in the "to:" line (say, "en209"), the full listserv address appears after you hit enter. (This is a neat shortcut for all kinds of e-correspondence, BTW, particularly with addresses to which you send a lot of messages.) Similarly, failing to subscribe to the listserv is an easily fixable problem. You should know that for security reasons and to prevent "spamming" (the sending of ads or other electronic junk mail to a large number of people at once), the machine that handles messages will only accept messages from email accounts that are listed as subscribed to the listserv. So be sure to first send the message to the machine that handles subscriptions (email@example.com) before trying to send a message to the machine that distributes messages (firstname.lastname@example.org). By the same token, if you've subscribed under your Fredonia account but not your netsync one (for instance), and are trying to use the latter to send a message to the listserv, it won't work. You may decide you want to subscribe on all your accounts, or you may want to reserve your Fredonia account for course-related emailing. In any case, you must subscribe before you can send or receive listserv-related messages.
- ...I sent a message with no problem, but I haven't received a confirmation from the machine? Odds are the server is down or its response time is slower than usual because of heavy volume. Wait. To avoid this problem, send messages as early as possible.
Well, these are the most common problems my students have encountered. Hoepfully, 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!
M A I N * N E W S * T O P I C S * L I N K S * R E S E R V E S
EN 209: Novels and Tales, Fall 1999
Created: 8/21/99, 3:40 pm
Last modified: 8/31/99, 6:34 pm