New for 2011: “USO-Mail List” from Atomwide offers enhancements to LGfL 2.0 StaffMail & LondonMail/SafeMail services now, with other regions to follow.
In response to the emerging need for ever-more sophisticated mailing list functionality in the email services supported by Atomwide, enhancements have now been developed that will initially offer schools in London the following benefits:
1. In Microsoft Exchange-based systems integrated with Unified Sign On, and hence specifically LGfL StaffMail, distribution lists can now appear in the main address book for each school rather than in the Public Folders. This makes them easier to find, and hence much easier to use. When enabled for the school, the mailing list service uses USO profile data to create the most frequently requested distribution lists. These include a list for all students, one for all staff, one for each year group and one for each class group (assuming in all cases that the school is exporting the relevant information from its MIS via USO-AutoUpdate). In addition, it remains possible for individual users to create a personal, manually-maintained distribution list that still benefits from the other features listed below.
2. The list of users within a distribution group is dynamically updated from the USO database at the time an email is sent. This will help ensure there are no out-of-date addresses in the list and, therefore, few bounced or incorrectly addressed emails. This relies on each school keeping its USO user data up-to-date, which is typically achieved by exporting that data regularly from the school’s MIS into USO using USO-AutoUpdate. In exceptional circumstances, manual account updates in USO may still be appropriate, and the distribution lists will respond to those updates accordingly. As already stated, manually-maintained lists will not be updated.
3. Distribution lists containing more than 100 recipients (e.g. year groups) can now be used successfully to send an email to all recipients. This effectively removes the restriction that previously existed whereby only the first 100 recipients could be sent an email, and so particularly benefits LAs and schools using USO with StaffMail, LondonMail, SafeMail and LA SurgeMail systems.
4. To protect the individual recipients’ identities, when a distribution group is selected in the “To” field of an email, all recipients will see just the distribution list name when the email is received. The list cannot be expanded to reveal the names and email addresses of other individual recipients.
5. In order to limit access to distribution lists, those users wishing to send an email to a distribution group must have a profile option called “Distribution list poster” added to their USO account profile. This profile option can be added to a user’s account by a Nominated Contact in the school, or an LA Power or Super User.
Schools wishing to use the service, which is initially released for use by schools using LGfL StaffMail, are invited to raise a support case with the Atomwide LGfL Service Desk to request it to be enabled.
Further developments, including support for other regions’ mail services, and the ability to create custom automated mailing lists from USO data (i.e. subject groups, staff role, etc.), are planned for the future.