Alternatives to Emailing Students through Course Announcements

The recommended process for communicating with the students in your eClass course is to use the Announcements forum, which is automatically created in every eClass course. If you do not see the Announcements forum in your course, consult the article Missing the Course Announcements Forum.

The Announcements forum force subscribes all students so that they receive email notifications (as long as they don't turn these off). Only instructors and TAs can post topics or reply in this forum so it acts as a record of all important communications in a convenient place for students to check.

To ensure that all students receive any important course messages, the recommended best practice is to also instruct your students to login to eClass and check the Announcements forum on a regular basis.

If you run into issues using the forum and need an alternate method of contacting your students via email, two other external services are available:

  1. Email from Bear Tracks Class Roster
    • Log into Bear Tracks
    • Enter your course
    • Click on the student roster
    • Select all, some, or a single student
    • Select 'Send email' and compose a message to these students


  2. Send an email to the Google group for your course
    • Note: For assistance specifically with creating Google course groups, please contact the IST Service desk directly by phone at 780-492-9400 or by email at ist@ualberta.ca.
    • Google Course Groups can be used as an alternative to eClass to email all students of a selected course and section(s).
    • They are created by an instructor of a course as required. They are no longer automatically created for all courses.
    • View online instructions for creating course groups which includes additional information on the system and roles.
    • All the students and registered instructors of the selected course and section(s) will be automatically added to the group overnight. Please note that you may not see any additional members in the group until the day after it was created.
    • All course groups are created using the same naming conventions: GRP-TERMCODE-COURSECODE-COURSENUMBER-SECTIONTYPE-SECTIONNUMBER
      • For example: ‘grp-winter20-math101-lec-a1@ualberta.ca’
    • You can now create a single course group for multiple sections. When doing so, you can replace the “SECTIONNUMBER” portion of a group name with a custom suffix
      • For example: ‘grp-winter20-math101-lec-all@ualberta.ca’ or ‘grp-winter20-math101-lec-a1-b1@ualberta.ca’
    • You can email a course group by typing the course group name into the To: address field
      • Tip: typing 'grp-winter20-math101' into the To: field will show all the available Google Course Groups for the Winter 2020 MATH 101 course in the dropdown list below the box and you can select the specific sub-section
    • You can also access the list of all google groups you are enrolled in (which should include groups for any Bear Tracks sections where you are enrolled as an instructor) through the following area within your ualberta gmail or google drive:

Additionally, there is a person-to-person messaging system built into eClass - see option 2 under Sending Messages to Students for more information. Please note that this person-to-person messaging system is not usually recommended because it can be difficult to track message history when using it.

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