Best Practices for Internal Electronic Communications
UAB has developed several options for internal electronic communications. Please review the following instructions to determine the appropriate method of communication to best serve your purposes in compliance with UAB guidelines.
The eReporter, an electronic newsletter, is a companion to the UAB Reporter site and the recommended alternative to sending mass e-mails. It is distributed twice weekly to all UAB faculty and staff and subscribers. To submit news and/or information for publication, use the publicity request form online at www.uab.edu/reporter. Deadlines are Monday and Thursday at 10 a.m. for publication on Tuesdays/Fridays.
GreenMail is an electronic newsletter distributed once a week during the fall and spring semesters and every other week during the summer to all UAB students and subscribers. It is the recommended alternative to sending mass emails. To submit news and/or information for publication, use the publicity request form online at www.uab.edu/greenmail. The deadline is 10 a.m. Tuesday for publication on Wednesdays.
UAB Campus Calendar
The UAB Campus Calendar is the central location for promoting all UAB campus events. Deadlines vary by sub-calendar; submit items for inclusion at least two business days in advance of event at www.uab.edu/calendar.
The BlazerNET welcome screen offers the option for displaying short messages for specifically targeted groups of students and/or faculty.
To submit an announcement for the BlazerNET welcome screen, please provide:
- A one- or two-sentence teaser for the message.
- A description of your specific target audience (This can be something like "all faculty teaching in fall 2015 semester, except those in the schools of Medicine, Dentistry and Optometry" or "currently enrolled undergraduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences.")
- The start and end date for the message to display.
- Any necessary web links pointing to additional information.
For ongoing communications with specific groups within the UAB community, the following options are available based on the purpose of the communications.
Listservs are used for a defined, static audience of information recipients and are necessary for lists that include recipients outside of UAB. The audience can be determined through self-subscription, or a list owner can add and remove recipients. Listservs may be set up as a one-way distribution outlet or as a virtual discussion community to which all members can post information. To request a Listserv, contact the AskIT Help Desk at 996-5555. Once the ticket is generated, you will need to attach an email from your supervisor stating approval (to speed the process, please ask your supervisor to send their approval email prior to opening the ticket). These requests are handled by Infrastructure Services. Please allow seven business days for the request to be processed.
Dynamic Email Lists
Dynamic email services are most often used for one-way information delivery to audiences whose composition may change from day or day, or even more often. Rather than relying upon statically defined memberships, each use of these services constructs its list of recipients in real-time. Distribution lists are typically developed for specific instances of communication such as sending to a specific department, a school or all occupants of a building. To request a distribution list, contact the AskIT Help Desk at 996-5555. These requests are handled by Infrastructure Services. Please allow seven business days for the request to be processed.
Any one-time message addressed to multiple recipients that needs to be sent from a “special” address rather than a user’s personal address is considered a mass email. Mass emails sent to all faculty, staff and students are reserved for special circumstances and require special permissions based upon organizational hierarchy. Ultimately, these requests will require approval from UAB Internal Communications. Please go to uab.edu/memf and choose the "Submit a fully completed mass email request" option to initiate your request. A ticket will be opened automatically in the ticketing system, and you will be contacted directly. Once the permissions are granted, Central IT will construct the lists and send the email. When submitting your request, please indicate the required send date and allow seven business days for completion of the request. These requests are handled by Infrastructure Services.
Personal Distribution Lists
You may want to manage your own personal distribution list for groups that you will need to email more than once. When sending your message, please keep in mind that the size limit for attachments is 30MB. Click on the link below for instructions on how to construct a personal distribution list in Microsoft Outlook. Alternatively, you can create a list of emails separated by semicolons in a Notepad document and save it. When you are ready to use the list, simply copy and pasted the email addresses into the “Bcc” field (this provides privacy for your recipients, especially if some of them are non-UAB).
UAB Global Address Book
Lists maintained in the UAB Global Address Book are for UAB personnel only. They are reserved for a defined, static audience of ongoing information recipients. To set up a group email distribution list in the Address Book, please contact the AskIT Help Desk at 996-5555. Once the ticket is generated and approved, lists are set up by Infrastructure Services and managed by the Departmental OU Administrator. Please allow 24-36 hours for the request to be processed.
This service is intended for real-time distribution of e-mail and attachments to related dynamic populations of employees and students. Users must be specifically authorized to distribute to these populations.
In its most direct form, authorized persons can utilize PEBBLES by sending e-mail to specially formatted e-mail addresses, where the username of the address indicates a criteria for distribution. The criteria can include Oracle orgunits, school and academic department codes, class levels, and so on.
Because remembering all of the possible criteria can be confusing, the PEBBLES Wizard is available for determining and managing its distribution addresses.
A few examples of direct PEBBLES addresses include:
- firstname.lastname@example.org - distribute to all employees under Oracle unit 19 (Vice President of Information Technology)
- 19-status01@pebbles... - distribute to all full-time employees under VPIT
- PA-STU@pebbles... - distribute to all students in the Public Administration program
- EE-GRAD-STU@pebbles... - distribute to all graduate students in Electrical Engineering
Any one-time message addressed to multiple recipients that needs to be sent from a "special" address rather than a user’s personal address is considered a mass email. Mass emails sent to all faculty, staff and students are reserved for special circumstances and require special permissions based upon organizational hierarchy. Ultimately, these requests will require approval from UAB Internal Communications. To initiate the process, please complete the AskIT Mass Email Request form. Once the permissions are granted, Central IT will construct the lists and send the email. When submitting your request, please indicate the required send date and allow seven business days for completion of the request. These requests are handled by Infrastructure Services.
- Emails to large numbers must be approved based upon the organizational hierarchy. If the message is addressed to all faculty, staff and students, then approval is required from UAB Internal Communications. Deans can approve for their school, VP for Student Affairs can send to all students, etc.
- Sending to recipient addresses that are not in the phonebook is problematic, and may cause complaints and/or outside mail services to block email from UAB. If this is required, special approval will be needed.
- Date and Time: Date and time to send the message (off hours if possible), at least seven days before the mailing is to be sent.
- From: A valid From: address must be provided (usually a Resources or other non-personal departmental account); if none is provided, the requestor’s address will be used.
- Subject: Requestor must provide a Subject: line for the message.
- Format: The preferred format is text-only; any additional formatting may be lost or altered.
- Links: If the message has clickable links embedded in it, the visible URL must match the "real" URL, or the message will most likely be flagged as a phishing attempt and rejected by some mail systems.
A report will be sent to the requestor containing the number of emails sent, and the number and addresses not sent with reason. If time permits, this info will be provided before the email is sent.
If a major discrepancy is found, the email will not be sent until the requestor is consulted. If necessary approvals are not submitted within this timeframe, the email will be delayed. A copy of the approval must be attached to the Footprints ticket before sending the email.