Practical Ways of Using E-mail for Teacher Study Groups
Once a teacher study group is formed, telecommunications, or e-mail, can support interactions between members. There are a variety of ways to connect members of your group electronically, including setting up a list server for them, having everyone send their messages to you so you can forward them onto everyone else, or setting up distribution lists or nickname files and having people send their messages to these files. Depending on the sophistication of group members, and the availability of resources, you may choose to use any of these approaches.
- Learn how e-mail can be used to support a moderated list.
- Learn how e-mail distribution lists or nickname files can be used for teacher groups.
- Learn how to set up a list server on a Macintosh or Windows computer for your teacher group.
Materials and Resources
In developing our lessons and activities, we made some assumptions about the hardware and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or activities have a computer (PC or Macintosh) with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and monitor) as well as software (operating system, TCP/IP software, networking or dial-up software, e-mail and a World Wide Web client program, preferably Netscape, but perhaps Mosaic or Lynx). In the section below, we specify any "special" hardware or software requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above) and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.
- Special hardware requirements: none.
- Special software requirements: none.
- Internet access: Medium-speed (28,800 BPS via phone) or higher.
To set up your own discussion group, you can a) have everyone in the group send messages to one person who will forward them to everyone else in the group, b) use your e-mail program to build a distribution list or nickname file for all the e-mail addresses of everyone in the group, or c) set up your very own list server for the group. Each of these tasks is described below, along with hands-on help for managing your group using these approaches.
- Setting up a list server for your teacher study group
- Begin by designating a computer that has a direct connection to the Internet as the list server for the group. Download one of the shareware list server programs, using the Internet Resource below, for your hardware and software platform. For example, you can download the Apple Internet Mail Server (AIMS) along with the AutoShare program and operate a list server on any Macintosh computer that has a direct Internet connection. You can do the same for a Windows/95 system using CMail or similar products.
- Hands-on Example: If you are using a Macintosh computer for your list server, download the AIMS software from Apple (see the Internet Resources below) and AutoShare. If you are using a Windows/95 computer, download CMail. Follow the directions included with these software products to setup your mail list server, or visit Chapter 5, Mail-Based Services - Mailing Lists and Other Mail Services, of the book Providing Internet Services via the Mac OS by Carl Steadman and Jason Snell, for instructions on how to setup a Macintosh-based list server (see Internet Resources below).
- Use your e-mail software to manage your teacher study group
- Set up a distribution list or a nickname file for everyone in your group. If you are using Eudora, you can define a nickname for the group, specify everyone's e-mail address, and then send messages to the nickname file. If you are using Pegasus for Windows systems, you can define a distribution file in a similar way and send messages to everyone in the group.
- Designate someone in the group to act as a moderator of the group. This person will receive all group messages and forward them manually on to everyone else in the group. While this method requires someone in the group to act as the "human list server," it is the simplest approach and requires the least amount of technical knowledge.
- CMail List Server [http://www.computalynx.co.uk/software/cmail.html]
A shareware list server that runs on Unix and Windows/NT or Windows/95 platforms. Download the software here as well as the manual.
- Internet Servers for the MacOS [http://www.pism.com/]
An on-line book on using Internet servers, including e-mail or list, for Mac computers. See especially Chapter 5 for information on setting up AIMS and Autoshare.
- LISTSERV for Windows/95
A shareware version of the Unix LISTSERV for Windows/95.
- MacJorDomo [http://leuca.med.cornell.edu/Macjordomo]
A Macintosh-based list server program.
Back to Forming a Teacher Study Group Module