[Update: thanks to one of the comments below, I could rename this post “How to email all the students in your class with only one click of your mouse.”]
This post has no math in it. But it may be helpful to teachers (and others who regularly email a group of people).
I often have to send an email message to all the students a class that I’m teaching. To get the addresses in my desktop email program I “simply” have to click the little envelope icon in our college’s online administrative system next to the class. The annoying problem is that to do so I have to click the mouse a total of six times, enter a login name and a password, and close the two browser windows at the end of the procedure. Or I can search in my mail program for the last time I emailed the entire class, hit reply-all, delete the previous subject and message text.
(I could create an alias for the class in my address book, but honestly, I don’t want to put all the students in my address book.)
Today I had an idea for how to make this process much shorter. I made a very simple web page. The body of the page contained only “mailto” links—one for each group that I wanted to mail. I discovered that a single mailto link could have multiple email addresses. For example, the entire text of the web page could be:
<p><a href=”mailto:email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org”>Calculus III</a></p>
That produces a link like this:
If you have a desktop email client, try clicking on it. Hopefully it will work (and I hope the email addresses I gave were not real addresses!).
Then I saved this HTML file on my computer (NOT on the internet since this is for my own personal use only), put it in the bookmark bar of my browser, and that’s it.
Now I click the bookmark, then click on the link, and the whole class appears in my mail program. Ta-da!
Just now I found this web page which shows that you can add other things to mailto links—namely, text for the to, cc, bcc, subject, and body fields of the email message. For example, if you want your email address to be in the “to” field and the students’ email addresses to be in the “bcc” field, type your link as follows.
<a href=”mailto:email@example.comfirstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com”>Calculus III</a>
[Second update: thanks to the commenter David Wees.] If you drag the mailto link to the bookmark bar of your browser, then it creates a bookmarklet. Click on the link once it sends the email addresses to the email client. One click!