Problems with Large Classes
The e-mail class feature within the Faculty Dashboard plugs all of a class's e-mail
addresses into the Bcc line of your e-mail. (It uses the Bcc field so that each student receives the e-mail without seeing the other students'
e-mail addresses.) For most classes, the e-mail feature works easily and without problems.
However, the programming involved assumes a maximum of 3000 characters in the Bcc field--3000 characters, not 3000 student addresses. If you exceed 3000 characters,
you will encounter problems.
So, how many student addresses can the Bcc line hold? The number varies because student e-mail addresses vary in length, but
it is possible to determine a "safe" upper limit. The maximum length that a U of M
e-mail address can be is 20 characters (8-character UUID plus "@memphis.edu"). Further,
when the class e-mail addresses are plugged into the Bcc line, each e-mail address is separated from the next with a semi-colon. This makes
21 characters for each address except the last, which would not require a semi-colon.
If we divide 3000 by 21, we get 142 (and change). So, you should be able to e-mail
a class of up to 142 students without a problem because you will not hit the 3000-character
limit. If you have more than 142 students, you might run into problems. If you do
run into problems, you have some options, outlined in Methods 2 and 3 below.
Method 1: E-mailing Most Classes through the Faculty Dashboard
Your semester's classes are listed in your Faculty Dashboard channel; click on the
envelope next to the class you wish to e-mail:
This brings up your e-mail screen. The e-mail addresses of all of this class' students
will appear in the Bcc field.
Type your own address in the To field to make sure that you will have a copy of the message; type your message and
click the Send button.
Method 2: E-mailing a Large Class through the Dashboard
Click the envelope icon by the class.
If your class is too large, you will see the Summary Class List page for the class,
not your e-mail screen.
Scroll down past the class roster on the Summary Class List. At the bottom of the
screen you should see a large block of e-mail addresses. The block is titled "Class
List Email Listing." You will notice that there is no E-Mail Class button, icon, or
link: your class is too large to e-mail conveniently and automatically through the
You have two options:
- You can cancel your e-mail attempt and proceed to Method 3 below (Recommended). OR,
- You can proceed with your attempt to e-mail the class here, but you will have to follow
some awkward steps.
Proceeding with Method 2
In the Class List E-mail block, select half of the addresses: click before the first
e-mail address in the box, scroll down halfway, hold your shift key down, click behind
the semi-colon of an address. (Make note of the last address selected.) The block
you selected will be highlighted. Copy the addresses by right-clicking on the highlighted
addresses and selecting "Copy."
Open your e-mail to send a message. Click in the Bcc field of your e-mail message and paste the copied e-mail addresses: right-click and
select "Paste." Return to the Class Listing box and select and copy the remaining
addresses. Return to the Bcc field of your e-mail and paste the remaining addresses. Now that the names are in
the Bcc field, type your address in the To field, complete the Subject line, type your message in the body, and send the e-mail.
This method is not automatic: it requires that you select, copy, and paste the e-mail
addresses. Although this isn't extremely difficult, it means that you have to be very
careful about your copying and pasting. If you forget where to begin with your second
"select/copy" effort, you may unintentionally omit some students from the Bcc field and these students will not receive the message.
Method 3: Recommended Method for Large Classes
This is the most reliable method for e-mailing large classes. Actually, you can e-mail any class, regardless of size, using this method.
- Open your e-mail and create a new message.
- In the To line, type in the class e-mail ID in the format shown in this example:
- Subject ID: The standard abbreviation for the subject area. Here, PSYC (for Psychology)
- Course #: Here, 1200
- Section #: Here, 001
- A period
- Year: Here, 2010
- Semester Code: Here, F for Fall (Use U for Summer, S for Spring)
The class e-mail ID should not contain any spaces.
Also, all letters must be in upper case.
- In the Cc or Bcc line, type your own e-mail address to make sure that you will have a copy of what you send.
- Type your Subject and your message, and then click Send.