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Listserv by the Numbers

December 17, 2020

email conceptContinuing our look at the products and services of the California Community Colleges Technology Center “by the numbers,” our December focus is on the Tech Center Listserv server.

The Tech Center has administered a Listserv server on behalf of the California Community Colleges (CCC) since 2004 and the service has seen substantial growth in the last four years.

The service offers email distribution lists to California community college regional and statewide organizations. Users can configure their distribution list to deliver one-way announcements, allow group discussions, or simply to archive documents, according to the need of their organizations.

Currently, the Tech Center Listserv server hosts 515 email distribution lists. The lists represent a full spectrum of CCC organizations and interests, from the Academic Senate to the Umoja Community, which promotes student success for African American and other students.

Usage Surges

In 2016, we hosted 320 lists so the service has grown by nearly 200 lists since then. Subscriber and usage numbers have also increased significantly. Since 2016, the number of subscribers has increased from 93,571 to 177,961.

Another Listserv number that we monitor is the number of monthly postings and recipients.

In March 2020, we broke all previous records with 3,117 postings distributed to 1,538,701 recipients. That month was the first time we broke the 3,000 mark for postings and the 1.5 million mark for recipients.

Clearly this surge in usage was related to a statewide shutdown due to the pandemic and the scramble to move to an online-only teaching modality. This demonstrates the value that the system places in the Listserv server and highlights its role as a valuable resource for communication in times of crisis.

Tracking Usage Cycles

We started tracking our Listserv statistics in FY 2016-17 to better understand the usage cycles. The following charts illustrate the growth in usage, in terms of monthly postings and recipients since June of 2016. Note: In September of 2018, the Listserv server migrated from a local, on-site server into the cloud. Statistics from that month were lost and are not included in these charts.

CCC Technology Center Listserv recipients monthly since 2016

CCC Technology Center Listserv postings monthly since 2016

As demonstrated in these charts, our Listserv service has grown steadily over the last few years, and it continues to be a key resource in supporting our colleagues statewide.

All of the public-facing lists hosted by the Tech Center are listed in our Listserv index at the website. Of the 515 lists we host, only 267 are visible to the public. This difference is because organizations can choose to keep their lists confidential or because the list is no longer in use but is maintained for documentation and archival purposes.

In order to balance the administrative workload for so many organizations, the Tech Center uses a distributed management model. Day-to-day management tasks related to subscribers and sending messages are administered by list owners within the organization.

Creating and hosting new Listservs, list owner training, ongoing list management support, and managing certain technical aspects of the server are all handled by Tech Center staff through a collaboration of the communications and IT departments.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Communications Project Manager, has principal responsibility for the Tech Center Listserv service. If you have any questions about Listserv, please reach out to her.

Addendum: CCC Chancellor’s Office Listserv

Did you know that the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office also hosts a Listserv server that provides Listserv hosting for staff based on their employment position at a college or district? The Chancellor’s Office Listserv server has lists for staff such as Chief Information Systems Officers, Chief Executive Officers, Public Information Officers, and similar occupational categories.

This Listserv server operates slightly differently than our Listserv here at the Tech Center. While our Listserv allows for folks to be subscribed to a list with their individual email, the Chancellor’s Office Listserv uses a hard-wired “pointer” system, which requires a local system or IT administrator to add people to one of the lists at their campus.

For information about the Chancellor’s Office Listserv server, see the Listserv Instructions page at the Chancellor’s Office website.