Workflow – Emailing Groups

WORKFLOW – Emailing Groups

by Richard White


Okay, we’ve been going on for a few weeks now… I’ve been waving my hands about, talking about “technology this” and “productivity that,” and so far, all I’ve really done is waste your time reading this silly blog.

Perhaps it’s about time that we get serious and start looking at some specific Hybrid Classroom techniques that you can use. Let’s start with an easy one.

Email is the backbone of electronic communication, and is the single most important way that I communicate with students (when I’m not in the classroom) and parents. One of the best uses for email that I’ve found is simply using it to keep in touch with my students (and occasionally their parents) on a semi-regular basis.

For most teachers, it’s not practical to email an individual message to every single student. But you CAN easily email a single message to everyone, if you have their email addresses in a group. The brief video demonstration showing how to do this was created using a Gmail account, but the same principle applies to any other email program that allows you to create groups of contacts.


  1. Get a list of student email addresses.
    The easiest way is to have them send you an email with a Subject Line like “Conceptual Physics”.
  2. Include those email addresses into a custom group…
    perhaps called “Conceptual Physics”.
  3. When you want to send out an email to those students…
    enter the group name into the To: field of your email program. You should see the addresses of all the students on that list appear.
  4. Compose email…
    being sure to include a good subject line.

It’s up to you what you’ll actually do with your new email prowess. Teachers who see their students more-or-less everyday might choose to reserve the group email for special occasions: giving them a hint on a hard homework problem, last-minute cancellation of a test, etc. Other teachers like to make it a more regular thing, with course schedules for the week, information that didn’t get mentioned in class, etc.

Next time:
The easy way to Email Parents

3 thoughts on “Workflow – Emailing Groups

  1. One thing I really like about using a CMS(Course Management System) is that much of this is handled automatically. When my students join the course they must give a valid email and are automatically added to the course email list. Anything I post to the “News discussion” is emailed to all students. Once you’ve got a CMS running it takes care of a lot of the details.

  2. A CMS is definitely the way to go. Our website attempts to do this on some level, but the lack of auto notification is what stops me from calling a full blown CMS. They are developing it to this end, but in a market where this has been around for some years now, it seems a little behind the times. Social networking takes a cue from this as well (or was it the other way around) with auto notifications of content updates, chat and email messaging all built-in.

  3. That’s absolutely true: an integrated Course Management System has many advantages. Moodle is an relatively easy CMS to begin with, and Joomla is popular also. And if you want to see a true, high-powered CMS-based website, check out, whose new website is running on the CMS Drupal. If you’re running your own server on which you can install one of these packages–or if your domain host provides support for one of these packages–you can have a great looking website up and running in a semi-reasonable amount of time.

    Installing, configuring, and managing a CMS is not a weekend project for most people, however. Entire books have been written on these CMSes, so… unless you’re looking to launch a full website and are willing to devote the time required to get it up and running, installing a CMS just to be able to email your students is probably overkill.

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