Electronic Newsletters

Question: How can I create an electronic newsletter for my class?

The IT Guy says:
Electronic Newsletters can take several forms. If you have access to parent Email addresses, the easiest way may be to Email a newsletter created in MS Word or MS Publisher directly to your parents. One problem with this is that not all recipients’ computers may have a copy of MS Publisher, or have the same version. You can get around this by either Emailing a text-only version in RTF (Rich Text Format), whichall computers should be able to read and open, or converting the document to PDF and sending that version. Macintosh OS X computers can natively convert any document to PDF from the print dialog window. Windows computers require either the full version of Adobe Acrobat to make PDF files, or a freeware utility like pdf995 (http://www.pdf995.com). Another alternative is to use Create Adobe PDF Online (https://createpdf.adobe.com/index.pl/1226493871.32038?BP=IE&v=AHP), Adobe’s online service, to convert a file to PDF. By sending your newsletter in PDF format, you can preserve the graphics and layout of your document but insure that parents with various types of computer configurations and operating systems should be able to view and print the newsletter. If you have access to a classroom or school Web site, you can publish the newsletter directly to the Web. This will allow more people to have access to it, but be aware of safety considerations as well as parent-permission issues when using student photos and names.

A third viable option is to use a Web blog to post student newsletter information. This is a less formal and (usually) text dominated format, but may be the easiest method for getting information to a large school audience. This method eliminates the need to find out parent Email addresses and keep your distribution list up to date. Blog services like Blogger (www.blogger.com) offer free blogs, and you can restrict access if desired. Parents and students can also post feedback to your blog entries, which is not possible with a traditional or static (Emailed or Web-posted) electronic newsletter.

Last, if you use an online class Web page service like SchoolNotes (www.schoolnotes.com), you can post homework for students, announcements for parents, or anything else you can think of directly to the Web, similar to the way blog entries are posted. SchoolNotes allows site visitors to receive Email updates when your page is updated, which is a handy feature that again eliminates the need to track and update a personal list of parent email addresses.

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