Liked Online Teaching with the most basic of tools – email by admin admin (Explorations in the ed tech world)

A lot of online teaching is really about communicating clearly and well (even if it feels like you are stating the obvious) and establishing and managing expectations. The good news is that you can do most of that by email. Early online teaching was focussed on good organization and structure, because there simply weren’t a lot of tech options to distract us.

At its most basic, online teaching is about 3 things:

Student – content: How will you get content to students in the easiest and most accessible way? How will students engage with that content?

Instructor-student interaction: How will you as an instructor feasibly communicate with your students? And how will they communicate with you?

Student-student interaction: How will students communicate with each other and work together?

Bookmarked Why Your Favorite Email Newsletter is Always So Jumpy (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

Popular email clients, particularly Gmail, have a tendency to cut emails off after a 102-kilobyte limit. Why the heck is that?

Ernie Smith dives into some of the technical problems/limitations to email newsletters, in particular why one email gets cut off at 1,500 words and another doesn’t:

  1. You Write Too Much
  2. Your Email Has Too Many Design Elements
  3. Your Links Are Too Long
  4. Your Readers’ Email Addresses May Be Too Long
  5. You Waste Too Much Space

It is interesting to think about this in regards to Angela Lashbrook’s discussion of spam filtering. It is also another reminder of why email is broken.

Liked danah boyd | apophenia » I AM OFFLINE! On Email Sabbatical from December 9 – January 12 (

I am offline, taking a deeply needed break while traveling. During the duration of my break, no email will be received by my computer. All email sent to me during this period will be redirected to /dev/null (aka “the trash”). If you send me a message during this period, I will never receive it and never respond to it. If you need to contact me, please send your email after January 12. If it is urgent and you know how to reach my mother, I will be in touch with her every few days. But I am intentionally unreachable during this period. Please respect that a girl needs a break and this is mine.

via Cory Doctorow
Bookmarked There’s a reason your inbox has more malicious spam—Emotet is back (

Emotet is yet another reminder that people should be highly suspicious of files and links sent in email, particularly if they seems out of context, such as when a friend sends an invoice. People should be doubly suspicious of any Word document that requires macros be enabled before content can be viewed. There is rarely any reason for consumers to use macros, so a good household rule is to never enable them for any reason. A better policy still is to open Word documents in Google Docs, which prevents any malware from getting installed on the local computer.

I never knew that opening a document in Google Docs provides a level of protection in regards to email.
Bookmarked Your Email Spam Filter Is More Aggressive Than You Realize (

Other common reasons emails get flagged as spam include sending emails with links, which I’ve typically done to make it easier for people to know who I write for — I won’t be doing this anymore (sorry!); including images in your email; and avoiding words or phrases that the filter associates with spam, from obvious ones like “double your income” to those that are more baffling and problematic, like “medium” (that presents some problems for me, as you can imagine) or “Nigerian” (extremely frustrating and unfair for anyone who needs to discuss subjects relating to Nigeria).

If you’re tech savvy, or lucky enough to have a company with an IT team, updating your SPF and DKIM records can help ensure that emails are landing in the correct inbox. An SPF, or sender policy framework record, is essentially a list of email accounts that are allowed to send messages from a specific domain. This means that only certain email addresses are allowed to send from the theoretical domain, angela dot com. DKIM, or DomainKeys Identified Mail, is a process in which emails are each sent with a key that identifies them as legitimate. Updating these records can make a big difference in your deliverability if you’re using your own domain, though if you have a Gmail account, you’re out of luck in this regard.

Angela Lashbrook discusses some of the changes associated with spam filtering. Some of the issues highlighted include sending from a personal Gmail account and including images and links.

This is an interesting topic in that there are so many aspects of the web that are dependent on email. For example, we depend upon it at work to send out new accounts, however these emails were initially completely blocked (not spammed) by Yahoo as they were coming from a mail server.

Although there are many jumping all over newsletters, one wonders what impact spam filtering may have on these. I guess it is a reminder that email is still a somewhat flawed technology.

Liked (

Let me apologize — if you don’t get an immediate response.
My phone may be turned off.
I may be walking, and looking up, instead of down.
If you are curious — and this is a workday — feel free to call my office.
I may be in a meeting, or my “device” is on a “time out.”
In any event, I am trying to be less distractible, more deliberative, and more mindful.
I am hoping this will make us all more productive.
If you need me — and this is urgent, or timely — please call my office or my cell.
If this is a weekend, or an evening, and this is NOT urgent, let’s talk during the week.
If this is personal, call me, find me, see me — let’s talk not text.
Let’s try this.

Bookmarked Is Anyone Going to Get Rich off of Email Newsletters? (The Atlantic)

In 2015, Meredith Haggerty produced an episode on TinyLetter and women’s writing for her WNYC internet-culture show, TLDR. In it, Haggerty quoted the essay “The Laugh of the Medusa,” published by the French feminist scholar Hélène Cixous in 1976. “Women must write her self: must write about women and bring women to writing, from which they have been driven away as violently as from their bodies,” Cixous argues, going on to explain that the only way women can make up for their absence from recorded history is to write themselves in now, super fast, with lots of detail and energy.

This, Haggerty argued, is what women were doing with TinyLetter, and what many of the best newsletters are doing now. In her newsletter Like This, the writer Meaghan O’Connell documented in gory and personal detail the experience of giving birth. Starting in 2014, the writer Charlotte Shane published a serialized memoir about her experiences as a sex worker in a TinyLetter called Prostitute Laundry. It was later adapted into a book, but as she was publishing the newsletter, she kept no public archive: You had to subscribe, and whatever you’d already missed was lost to the wind.

Kaitlyn Tiffany explores the ever evolving world of newsletters. Although not a traditional ‘blog’ this is another interesting post in regards to development over time. Intriguingly, this captures both changes to people and purpose, but also in regards to the various platforms. One question I was left wondering is whether there is an incentive from some of the freemium platforms for spam accounts to get users up to the magic ‘1000’ subscribers?

Replied to Digitally Literate #210 by wiobyrne ( is a personal policy that all email responses regardless of recipient or subject will be five sentences or less.

The website above gives you a piece of text to place in your email signature to let people know about your goal.

I’ve noticed that my emails are getting longer and longer. As I try to provide more details, the recipient is reading less and less. This year I’m going to try and limit myself to five sentences for each reply. That forces me to be concise, to choose only the essentials of what I want to say, and limits the time I spend replying to email.

Learn more in this post by Leo Babauta.

Thank you Ian for link to the email habits. I have been trying to improve my workflows for a while, but after reading Leo Babauta’s piece, I think the issue is my use of email. This also reminded me of Doug Belshaw’s email tips.
Bookmarked Why Most Marketing Emails Still Use HTML Tables (Tedium: The Dull Side of the Internet.)

How HTML helped, then hindered, the evolution of email, or why all those fancy marketing emails you get in your inbox still rely on HTML tables in 2019.

Ernie Smith discusses the problems with email and the need to move forward. This is another post that highlights the fragility of email as a technology.
Bookmarked 12 Tips For Teachers Communicating With Parents Via Email (With Poster) (
Kathleen Morris provides a number of tips associated with email, such as using an email service provider and canned responses. Doug Belshaw provides a different take on email and efficiency, collecting together a number of resources and references on the matter. It is also good to remember that email is a flawed technology.
Bookmarked Opinion | No, You Can’t Ignore Email. It’s Rude. by Adam Grant (

Being overwhelmed is no excuse. It’s hard to be good at your job if you’re bad at responding to people.

Adam Grant explains that email today is what taking calls was in the 90’s. He explains that simply ignoring them is not a solution. Instead we need to have clearer processes in place, whether it be alternative means of contact or writing short replies explaining this.

Remember that a short reply is kinder and more professional than none at all. If you have too much on your plate, come clean: “I don’t have the bandwidth to add this.” If it’s not your expertise, just say so: “Sorry, this isn’t in my wheelhouse.” And if you want to say no, just say “no.”

The one caveat, emails from strangers continually asking for something. These can be ignored.

I have a few general rules. You should not feel obliged to respond to strangers asking you to share their content on social media, introduce them to your more famous colleagues, spend hours advising them on something they’ve created or “jump on a call this afternoon.” If someone you barely know emails you a dozen times a month and is always asking you to do something for him, you can ignore those emails guilt-free.

Bookmarked Why we hate using email but love sending texts by Bryan Lufkin (

They both allow us to stay in touch, but while email often attracts ire, text messaging is more popular than ever. Is the way we choose to communicate saying more than we might think?

Bryan Lufkin reflects on the changes associated with our use of email overtime. Whereas it was restricted to a few users, now everyone (and every company) has your address now. The argument made is that people are now more willing to text or ‘snap’. I wonder if this is due to the lack of novelty provided by other spaces? This article provides a different perspective than Quinn Norton’s history of the technology.
Listened 004: Tech Talk Thursdays by Tim Owens from Reclaim Today

Your weekly Q&A session where we debunk the hosting myths, show you how the donuts get made, and answer all your burning questions about web hosting or anything else you have on your mind.

Tim Owens breaks down all the different facets of email. He discusses spam, servers, iMap vs Pop and various setup considerations.