FAQ: Electronic Communications with Students Policy

FAQ: Electronic Communications with Students Policy (updated September 4, 2013)


General Policy and procedure questions:

What is considered "Official University Communication"?

Official correspondence includes, but is not limited to, matters related to students' participation in their academic programs (admission, registration, course selection, etc.) and important notices for individual students, as well as general information concerning university and program scheduling, fee information or other administration and governance matters concerning the university and sent from any university faculty, department or office. Official communications also includes advice, guidance or general information received from any instructor regarding courses the student is enroled in.

I would like to help ensure students are aware of and compliant with this policy, what can I do?

Available resources for this purpose include:

  • Print and electronic posters for distribution and printing
  • Same text for email footer or auto-response
  • Power point slide to display at the beginning of class or in other presentations to students
  • Digital slide, web button, and web banner used to direct students to http://umanitoba.ca/ist/email/studentemailindex.html

What information was provided to students?

An informational web page has been created for students, and can be viewed at umanitoba.ca/registrar/email_policy. Students have received multiple reminders leading into the Fall Term about this policy and the need to use a U of M email account. Student compliance is expected by the end of the registration revision period in their first term of study*. Notices will be sent throughout the Fall Term 2013 registration revision period, in September, to any registered student without a U of M email account. *Please see the questions relating to the use of students’ personal email accounts for information on communicating with students during this period of time.

What privacy concerns are resolved by this policy?

A number of concerns are alleviated by this policy:

  • Personal addresses provided on first contact may not be the student’s own address. Occasionally a parent’s or recruitment agent’s address may be used for the first contact. While the student may not mind that university email is directed to this address during the recruitment phase, this may not be true after the student has commenced their education. It is necessary to be able to ensure that communications are between the university and the student – not a third party.
     
  • Addresses manually entered may include typographical errors, hotmial.com for example. Such errors create nuisance bounce backs and result in ineffective communications. By using U of M email addresses we can populate the addresses associated to a students’ record automatically and not rely on manual entry.
     
  • Students may change their personal address without notifying the U of M of the change. Because unused accounts are transient and may be re-claimed by someone else, it is possible that emails intended for a student end up being delivered to someone not associated with university.
     
  • Personal addresses may be inappropriate (e.g. flirtxxx@hotmail.com) or unprofessional (e.g. fido_dog14@gmail.com). U of M email addresses are easily recognized and use a standard format.
     
  • When receiving messages from students, including emailed class assignments, it is important to know that the sender is the student. Mail sent from an unidentifiable personal email account does not provide the same assurance that U of M accounts do.
     
  • This policy is key to the effectiveness of U of M electronic communications with students, ensuring consistency in the U of M’s ability to communicate with students, and also requiring that students regularly check their U of M email. This is supported by the improvements accompanying myumanitoba, the new student email service, such as larger storage and better functionality.

Does this policy require staff to use their own U of M email account?

This policy does not provide instruction about which account a staff member is required to use for their professional communications, however, all staff should use their U of M account for all Official University Communication.

Does this policy apply to Graduate Studies students?

Yes, this is a University-wide policy that applies to all U of M students who are eligible for a U of M email account. This includes all graduate students.

Are any students exempt from this policy?

Only students who are not eligible for a U of M email account are exempt; this includes returning Alumni who have not yet regained that eligibility.
What do I do if students in my Aurora Self-Service Class List do not have an email address listed?
Any student listed in an Aurora Self Service Class List without an email address has not yet activated their U of M email; they should be encouraged to do so.

I currently use a distribution/mailman list, what does this mean for my list?

You may have to change/request a change to your list. This depends on the nature of how a person becomes included in that distribution list.

If a distribution or Mailman list is generated based on the recipient’s role as a student of the U of M, then the distribution list shall only use U of M email addresses.

For distribution lists generated by the subscription of the recipient to the list, then the email address provided by the recipient shall be used. However, if students are subscribed on their behalf to any such list, only their U of M email addresses shall be used.

Will students continue to lose access to their email accounts when they are not currently enroled in classes, but plan to return to studies?

Normally email accounts for students who are not currently registered in courses are deactivated each November; this will not happen in November 2013. This question is relevant to this new policy, but relates more closely to the new student email service. Information about myumanitoba is available at umanitoba.ca/studentemail.

Questions relating to “myumanitoba”, the new email service for students:

How is the implementation of the new student myumanitoba email system relevant to this policy?

The implementation of the new email service is a separate, but relevant project; myumanitoba is a new and improved email system for students. More information about myumanitoba can be found at umanitoba.ca/studentemail.

Do all students need to replace their CC Mail account with a new myumanitoba account?

There are many benefits to switching over to the new email service, and all students are encouraged to activate their myumanitoba email account. The new Electronic Communications with Students Policy does not stipulate which U of M student email account must be used.

Will students be getting “email for life”?

This question is relevant to this new policy, but relates more closely to the new student email service. Information about myumanitoba is available at umanitoba.ca/studentemail.

When existing students are given a new account, what happens to their old email?

This question is relevant to this new policy, but relates more closely to the new student email service. Information about myumanitoba is available at umanitoba.ca/studentemail.

Questions relating to students not receiving emails:

What do I do if my emails to students are bouncing back?

First, please verify the email address being used for any typos.

It is the student’s responsibility to check and maintain their U of M email account in order to be sure they are receiving your important messages. If possible, inform those students during class time that they are not receiving your emails, and that they may need to do some maintenance to their U of M email account.

What do I do if students complain that they are not receiving emails?

First, please review the information we’ve provided about emailing your class. This information outlines how to easily verify whether the student has activated their U or M email account.

It is possible the student is not checking their U of M email account. Verify this; if they are not, please encourage them to do so.

Otherwise, the student should be instructed to contact the IST Help & Solutions Centre and inform them of the specific email they did not receive, so that the particular situation can be investigated and resolved (date, time, email subject and sender information may be required).


Questions relating to the use of students’ personal email addresses:

Am I ever allowed to initiate contact with a student using their personal email address?

If you are initiating communication with a person because they are a student of the U of M, then the communication must be sent to a U of M email account. This includes situations where students are added to various distribution lists based on their role as student of the U of M.

What do I do if a student emails me from their personal email account?

General practice should always be to communicate using only U of M email addresses. Please send a generic response to the student asking that they resend their email from their U of M account; this will help students to learn about and become compliant with this new policy.

If a student has forwarded their email to a personal account, can I correspond with that personal account?

No, this policy requires students to use their U of M email account when communicating with the university.

Is it ever appropriate to respond to a personal email address?

On occasion this may be appropriate. For example, prospective student inquiries can be made using a personal email account. Alternatively, communication that relates to person’s academic records or current studies at the U of M, then a U of M email account must be used.

To determine this, ask this question: “Would I be sending this same information to a person who was not a U of M student?”

If the answer is no, please ask the student to resend their email from their U of M email account.

What do I do if a student submits an assignment from a personal email account?

Student assignments should only be accepted from a U of M email account; please reply and ask the student to resend their email using their U of M email account.

My UM Learn/JUMP/Aurora Class Lists include personal email addresses, what should I do?

Class lists should only include U of M email addresses. If you come across personal email addresses in JUMP/UM Learn, please contact the IST Help & Solutions Centre to have this resolved. Problems with Aurora Class Lists can be reported to the Registrar’s Office.

Questions relating to students who do not have a U of M email account:

What about students who don’t have a U of M email account?

All students who are eligible for a U of M email account are required by this policy to obtain and use a U of M email account. Eligible students without an account will not be accommodated; they are required by this policy to have a U of M email account and will receive multiple notices of this.

Ineligible students include returning Alumni who have not yet regained eligibility for their account, which is done by registering for courses.

How do I communicate with students who are not currently enroled in classes and have already lost access to their email accounts?

Continue to use their personal email address until they return to study and become eligible for their U of M email account.


Questions about students who are attending multiple institutions

Are students in joint programs required to use a U of M email account?

Only the U of M email address will appear in class lists.  As such, students will need a U of M email address in order to receive important information from the U of M, including communications sent to class lists.

Students may choose which email account they wish to use as their primary email, and can forward one account to the other - this will ensure that students receive all relevant emails from both universities.

Instructors and administrators of students in joint programs may respond to emails from students from either of their institutional email accounts.

Are students who are visiting from another institution required to use a U of M email account?

Yes, having a U of M email account will ensure that Visiting Students receive important information.  Visiting Students are expected to communicate with the U of M using a U of M email account.

Updated Summer 2013