Monthly Archives: September 2015

Automated Email Notifications

emailnotifyWhats New

Email notifications of posting activity and responses are now being emailed to users, on a schedule they set, to let them know about activity while they were away.

Why Didn’t It Always Do That

One of our main tenets is that if you are going to do something, do it right.

Having taught courses using BlackBoard, Canvas, and Sakai, one of my biggest annoyances was the volume of notifications that destroy your inbox.  Every time someone posts something, boom, email.  Turn off your computer for 2 hours and you’ve got 100 emails letting you know about every little thing.

This firehose of information is worse than no email at all, and is more annoying than useful.  In addition, this single data point gives me no insight into overall activity.

How Does it Work

We’ve tried to keep the concept simple and flexible.  There are two types of notifications that get raised, “Responses” and “Posts.”  Both options can have different notification schedules which can be set from your account page (seen below).  If we are sending you an email (like for responses), we’ll include the latest Visible Posts report as well, no need for more emails.

email_schedule

Set Your Notification Schedule From Account Page

 

Visible Posts
Every time someone in your course makes a post that is visible to you (remember, teachers can set prompts so students can’t see their peers’ ideas), we log it.  The report shows the number of new posts, grouped by each prompt and activity.  So for students in multiple courses, or teachers with many classes, they can get a quick sense of where the activity is happening in each one of those courses in the same email.

email_table

Table Summarizing Activity

 

Posts Responded To

When a thread you have participated in gets added to, this is likely something you would like to know about relatively soon, which is why it is a separate option.  For the following thread, only Antonio and Ben would get emails (in table form like the one above) with the following totals:

  • Antonio B – 2 Responses
  • Ben R – 1 Response
  • Mr. Coopey wouldn’t receive any notifications, since he was the last one to respond.
thread_email

Comment Thread

 

Final Thoughts

We are excited to add this functionality but I’m sure there will be some growing pains.  Please let us know at support@visualclassrooms.com if you have any problems or are getting too many emails.

Slow Email

snail-mail-vs-emailWe’ve been seeing some slow email delivery through our third party email service.  We are working with them to figure out what the problems is.

If you are trying to reset your password, please be patient and don’t reset it 10 times.  The email will get there, it might just take a while (up to 20 minutes).

20 minutes to deliver email?  In 2015?  Ridiculous, right?

*** UPDATE ***

After digging into the wonderful world of email digital signing, things have mostly been resolved.  Most emails are arriving within seconds, although occasionally still take a few minutes.  Please email support@visualclassrooms.com if you continue to have issues.