E-mail Course Lists Frequently Asked Questions

Course lists are e-mail lists comprised of the currently enrolled members of the course that semester, the instructor or instructors involved, and sometimes teaching and/or student assistants with the permission of the instructor (sent in e-mail, or phoned in to Help Desk Services).

For information concerning other types of e-mail lists, for ex. forsale and other majordomo lists, please consult the following web page.

1) How do I send a message to the course list?
Address the message to the listname (i.e. wmath105a@lists.bates.edu). The message will be sent to the faculty member(s) teaching the course and all the students registered for the course.

2) Who may send a message to a course list and how do I add members to the list?
The instructors and all students registered for the course can send messages, as well as and any individuals who have been added to the list by request of the instructor (i.e. lab assistants) by Help Desk Services. Since course lists are kept up to date hourly via Banner updates, and/or web  subscriptions by the owner/professor, they will not keep the “non-registered people” on the list. Please send requests each semester (and Short Term) for these additions with the following information: name of person to be added and reason (TA or peer writing assistant, etc.), their username, and the course(s) and section(s), lab(s) ex. WCHEM108A.

3) How do I know the list name?
List names are created by concatenating a semester designator (F for fall, W for winter and S for short term), the Bates department abbreviation, the course designation, and the section followed by @lists.bates.edu. Case does not matter.

Examples: wmath395AA@lists.bates.edu or FNRSC200D1@lists.bates.edu
NOTE: If there is only one section of a course, the list name will end with “a”. If a course has a linked lecture and lab or discussion section, you may either send a message to the entire lecture section or to a specific lab or discussion section. (Note: This is a good way to inform your class of extra 8:00 classes, classroom changes, cancellations, etc.).

Note: when entering a list name for a cross-listed course do not include the “/” between the two two-character department codes. i.e. wbige110a@lists.bates.edu is the list name for BIGE 110 section A.

Also, Short Term lists need senvrs101a@lists.bates.edu there is a second “s” before the course number.

4) Can I send a message from an account other than my Bates account?
No. Only class members may post to the list. You must send to these lists from your Bates email account so you are recognized as a member of the course. If you try to send mail from a personal Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or AOL account, for example, the system will not accept it.

5) How can I distribute attachments or share files with the class?
There is a limit on file size for course lists to prevent clogging of the system. If you are interested in sharing files with the class, please use Lyceum.

NOTE: If a message is sent to the list from a non-Bates email or the attached file exceeds 100KB, the message will bounce. The sender will receive an email telling them the message has bounced and why.

6) Who will receive my message when I reply to a message?
If a message was sent from a list and you use the reply option, your reply will go to the sender.  If you wish to reply to the list, a reply all is necessary.

7) How do I get a list of the individuals on a specific list?
If you are a member of the list you can find out on the web or by using e-mail commands:

For Web access to obtaining a list of members (“who”):

n.b., you must be on campus to access lists.bates.edu/

  • Open a web browser to https://lists.bates.edu/mailman/listinfo/listname
    [where listname is the name of the list]
  • Click on the list name.
  • Scroll down the page to the subscribers section at the bottom.
  • Enter your e-mail address and *password.
  • Click the Visit Subscriber List button and a list of the members displays.

E-mail commands for obtaining a list of other members (“who”):

Members have to send the following two messages 1) for your password for the list and 2) to execute the who query:

1)First retrieve your password for this list by sending a message in the following format:

To:listname-request@lists.bates.edu (where listname is the name of the list to which you are a member)

Subject: no subject)

Body: (only the word) password

The list management program will send you a message back with the password, which refers only to this list. Write down the password, as this will be needed for this list in the future.

2)Then send a second message in the following format:


Subject: (no subject)

Body: who password
[where password is the password you just received]

The list management program will send you an alphabetical list of members by username.

8) How do I save messages I want to keep?
Each member of the list is responsible for saving any message they wish to keep. There is a finite amount of space in the incoming mailbox directory, so messages should not be kept in your incoming mailbox but saved in a folder as you would other e-mail messages.

9) How do I get on or off a course list?
These lists are generated nightly from course registration information in the Registrar’s database. If you are not on the list of a course you are attending, you are not properly registered for that course. If you are on a list of a course you are not attending, you have not properly dropped that course from your schedule. Add/drop forms are available at the Registrar and Academic Systems office in Libbey Forum. Once the registration adjustment has been processed, your name will be added to or deleted from the list by the next day.

10) How do I get more help on using course lists?
For more information on adding or deleting users to course lists, questions concerning attachments, in using your E-mail system, or other technical questions regarding the lists or Lyceum, contact the Help Desk Services, x8222.

For more information on E-mail “netiquette”:

11)  How do I subscribe to a Majors or Advisors list?
These lists are automatically generated through registration and major declaration in Banner. No moderator will approve these messages.

12) What error messages are commonly received with course list mailings?
Messages may be returned to the sender or “bounced back” if:

  • Non-member submission
    Your messages to has not been delivered to the list for the following reason:
    Non-member submission from (see #2 above)
  • Excessive File Size
    552 5.2.3 Message size exceeds fixed maximum message size (15000000)
    Attachments are larger than 10mb (Lyceum recommended for file sharing, see #5 above)
  • Listname is not constructed properly (see #1 above)
  • Message has implicit destination – meaning list address was in BCC field instead of To or CC

13) When do course lists become available for a particular semester/term?
Course Lists are created as the random registration and add/drop progresses at the beginning of each new semester.  As individuals register for a course, the lists continue to be updated automatically on a nightly basis.

14) What is the life cycle of a course list?
The creation is during random registration and add/drop. Lists continue to be updated as individuals register for a particular course.  After the semester is over it is no longer possible to e-mail to that group using the course list collective name.

15) How to retrieve a forgotten list password using the web interface?

  • Open a web browser to https://lists.bates.edu/mailman/listinfo
  • Click on the list name.
  • Scroll down the page to the subscribers section at the bottom.
  • Enter your email address in the last box on the page
  • Click Unsubscribe or edit options and another page will come up
  • On the left side of the page under Forgotten Your password,click on Email my password to me
  • Your password will be e-mailed to you right away.

16) How do I send a message to all students that I advise?

Address the e-mail to each of the following:
UNGusername@lists.bates.edu  – for underclass students
MJRusername@lists.bates.edu – for majors
MINusername@lists.bates.edu – for minors

NOTE: The username inserted is the Professor’s username, for ex. cschwinn for Prof. Carl Schwinn.

17) What are the changes to the naming of First Year Seminar lists for Fall 2010?
As of Fall 2010, the naming convention of the FYS course email lists is as follows:
year.semester.fys.coursenumber; e.g.  10ffys123@lists.bates.edu
This differs from the naming convention of all other course lists in that the year is appended to the beginning. In addition, each FYS list will expire five semesters after the Fall semester in which it was created. Thus, a list created in Fall 2010 will expire at the end of Short Term 2012.