I decided to start sending out a newsletter to our full-time faculty and adjuncts via e-mail this semester. To date, we've sent out five newsletters...each being sent out within 2 to 2 1/2 weeks of each other. I've been creating these in Microsoft Outlook using tables and themed colors and fonts. For the most part, they have turned out pretty nice...though I've had some difficulties with table cells wanting to re-size on their own even after I've set a specific percentage for them.
I'm sure there are other ways to make e-mail newsletters, and I'm sure there are some free templates I could have found somewhere (Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?), but I've been choosing to start from scratch each time since I may not use the same table layout from newsletter to newsletter.
Here are some things that have worked for me so far:
- Overall table width set between 75% to 80% of your screen.
- Use PNG images when you want the colored background of a table cell to show behind an image (as shown in the screen shot of our school's logo).
- When there are separate sections of content, consider displaying those with different background colors.
- Don't use background and font colors that will clash. For example, red text on a blue background hurts my eyes to look at.
- Pick topics that are relevant/current. For example, we recently enabled Canvas Commons, so our second newsletter focused specifically on that.
- Have a place where you keep an "archive" of your newsletter for people to read. For us, we keep an archived newsletter in our "Canvas Resources" shell. Basically, we set up a Canvas course to hold a bunch of helpful information for our instructors. We made it "publicly visible" so that our faculty/adjuncts can access it at any time without needing to login.
I would be interesting in reading about how you send out newsletters at your school. Also, if you think there are easier ways to do newsletters, I'm all for that, too!