I received a message from Thomas Robb, a guru in the world of e-mail exchanges, http://www.kyoto-su.ac.jp/~trobb/index.html. He leads an email project called "The Student List Project". It uses Moodle and seems to me a great experience. I copy part of his message below:
"Essentially, the SL Project provides a way for your students to discuss topics of mutual interest in a 1-to-many situation rather than the normal penpal 1-on-1. Your students can join any of the forums listed below, read what has already been posted and reply to whatever postings stir their imagination. They receive copies of all
postings for the forums that they subscribe to by e-mail, but can also view all previous postings via the web interface.
Recent discussions, all student initiated, include topics such as the
use of mobile phones, smoking in public, one's ideal partner, blind
dates, baseball, current movie hits, and more!
The project uses Moodle, an innovative student management system.
This allows you, as an instructor, to view all of your own students'
postings so that you can give timely advice to them as needed."
To take part in this project You can contact Tom for the "enrollment key" on this page: http://www.kyoto-su.ac.jp/~trobb/#sl