Making Sure Automated EvaluateUR Email Gets Through
The EvaluateUR method relies on students, mentors and administrators receiving automated emails that prompt them through the process. We follow every available best practice to ensure that email servers don't interpret our emails as spam. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts some of these emails can end up incorrectly marked as 'junk mail'. In some cases our messages may be invisibly deleted by your local email system and never even show up in your 'junk' folder.
Both of these situations can increase the workload by the site administrator because when this happens, steps will not be completed on time and that often requires the site administrator to contact the student-mentor pair that is behind schedule to prompt them to complete a step.
To prevent this from happening, we strongly recommend you work with your institution's IT department to ensure that automated messages from EvaluateUR get through.
Ask your institution's IT department to avoid this problem on your campus
The best way to address the problem is to contact your local IT department and request that they explicitly indicate (via a process called 'whitelisting') that email coming from from SERC (on behalf of EvaluateUR) should be allowed through. You will want to do this before you start using EvaluateUR with your students and mentors.
More information for your campus IT department
Here is an example message you can share with your campus IT organization explaining the issue and how they can help.
SERC (https://serc.carleton.edu) is an office of Carleton College that runs a variety of grant-funded programs to improve science education. This includes the EvaluateUR program (https://serc.carleton.edu/evaluateur/) which your campus has signed up for. The EvaluateUR program relies on being able to send emails directly to the participating student and faculty. We've found that some campus email systems inconsistently, and incorrectly, mark as spam some of the required EvaluateUR emails. In some cases email systems are accepting messages from us and then deleting them in ways that are invisible to individual users (i.e. the messages aren't routed to user's Junk folders). This problem is most acute at campuses that use Office365 for institutional email.
So we encourage each campus that uses this service to whitelist email coming from SERC. All our mail is sent via sendgrid's mail service through a dedicated IP address (22.214.171.124) which is only ever used for SERC email. We send over a million emails each year and have no complaints from our community about our email being 'spammy'. We have never been blacklisted and a follow all standard best practices (valid SPF and DKIM, unsubscribe links in all emails, etc...). Since we often work with multiple people at each institution we find it's most effective to have our IP addresses whitelisted for the entire campus, rather than rely on individual faculty members and students knowing about the problem and successfully whitelisting our address. So we (and the faculty at your institution who work with us) would appreciate your adding our IP address to a campus email whitelist so that our emails don't get incorrectly marked as spam. If you have questions feel free to contact Sean Fox (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Whitelist our IP address (126.96.36.199) with:
Encourage students and mentors to use their campus provided email accounts for EvaluateUR
The whitelisting process will only apply to email accounts run by your campus IT organization. So even if you've gone through this process there may still be issues if students or mentors use email accounts, other than their campus provided one, for EvaluateUR communication.
If a campus-wide solution is not possible add SERC to the list of senders that shouldn't be marked as spam
If the campus-wide solution can't be applied it's still possible for individuals to ensure their messages from EvaluateUR aren't marked as spam. Note that each individual involved, every student and mentor, will need to follow this process within their own email account. Most email systems provide a mechanism where you can indicate specific email sources that should never be considered Junk Mail (Spam). The exact details vary depending on what program you read your email through and what email service you (or your institution) uses. Here are some examples for common email environments. Your local institution's tech support folks can also likely help you set this up. The key detail to know is that all SERC email will come from the serc.carleton.edu domain. In most cases you can add this address to so-called 'whitelist'. In some cases it is be useful to know that the specific server the emails will come from is o1.em.serc.carleton.edu and it's IP address is 188.8.131.52.
Microsoft Outlook and Office 365
Add @serc.carleton.edu to your safe senders and safe recipients lists
Create a filter for @serc.carleton.edu that prevents it from being marked as spam