Emergency Notification System Frequently Asked Questions
How does the emergency notification system work?
The service combines the power of the Internet with the pervasiveness of the telephone to give colleges an easy-to-use tool to reach out to their communities. The system allows the college to record personalized voice messages or create text messages that can be distributed to students, staff and faculty through a wide range of vehicles:
- Voice messages to home, work, and cell phones
- Text messages to cell phones, PDAs and other text-based devices
- Written messages to e-mail accounts
- Messages to TTY/TDD receiving devices for the hearing impaired
Why is multi-modal communication necessary?
With this emergency notification service, campus officials can reach their community members in their own voice (at landlines, cell phones, and via e-mail) and via text messages (at cell phones, PDAs/other text receiving devices, e-mail accounts, and TTY/TDD receiving devices for the hearing impaired).
During a time-sensitive situation, multi-modal communication is critical as it is a more comprehensive way to reach people in the environment they may be in at the moment an issue arises. Communication is sent simultaneously to all available contact points for each person.
Relying on any single way to reach constituents (whether it is through just voice calls or just SMS) introduces a single point of failure. Additionally, text messages to cell phones, while a great back-up communication medium, is not stable enough to rely upon solely for time-sensitive communication. Cellular carriers did not design SMS (Short Messaging Service) as a reliable medium for transmitting high volume, time-sensitive communication within geo-centric communities (such as a college campus). As with any communication vehicle, it is important to combine voice, text-messaging and e-mail to better ensure that you can reach your community in as many ways possible.
What kind of emergencies will the system be used for?
- Campus safety issues that could lead to violence
- Health concerns such as a wide spread pandemic
- Natural disasters such as an earthquake
What kind of information will I receive?
The emergency notification system will allow key administrators to communicate directly and quickly through multiple outlets about the status of the campus.
The alerts will notify faculty, staff and students about the situation, whether the campus is open or closed, and, when appropriate, what action to take to protect one’s self.
In time-sensitive circumstances, alerts will be updated as new information becomes available until the situation has been resolved.
How many campuses are using the service?
Over 150 campuses are using this service to send messages to 1 million students and staff.
Additionally, over 14,000 sites nationwide are using one of Blackboard Connect services to reach 9 million recipients.
Will you share my contact information anyone? Who will have access to it?
No. Lewis & Clark will not use this for any reason other than an emergency.
Blackboard Connect does not sell, lease, share, or rent personally identifiable information (names, addresses, phone numbers, etc.) to any companies or persons outside of Blackboard Connect or Blackboard Connect service providers.
Blackboard Connect provides an encrypted, online process to securely import a school’s existing data into that school’s account in a secure and reliable manner. The school maintains and has full ownership over all data. Blackboard Connect also provides a system that allows schools to schedule automatic updates as frequently as they like, and they can add, remove and delete individual contacts at their convenience.
Additionally, students and staff are encouraged to ensure that their contact information is up-to-date so that the school can contact them should an issue occur.