California’s 110 community colleges now have the ability to instantly communicate with its 2.6 million students via the Connect-ED multi-modal mass notification service from Blackboard Inc., a provider of educational enterprise technology.
Under the agreement, Blackboard has provided a special pricing structure to members of the Foundation for California Community Colleges that will provide them with the technology to quickly reach its students, faculty and staff, with time-sensitive information.
Recently, Blackboard announced a similar agreement with the Oregon University System to make the Connect-ED service available to any public or private campus in the state, including community colleges.
Blackboard’s Connect-ED mass notification service supports enrollment management, time-sensitive notification, and campus outreach efforts through a direct communication channel with students.
Built exclusively for post-secondary institutions, the Connect-ED service enables campus leaders to schedule, send, and track personalized voice messages at up to six phone numbers, two e-mail addresses and one text address per student and staff member. In all, the service helps officials reach out to students and staff through:
– Voice messages to home phones, work phones, cell phones, and even e- mail addresses;
– Text messages to cell phones, PDAs, networked digital signage, and other text-based devices;
– Text messages to e-mail accounts; and
– Messages to TTY/TDD receiving devices for the hearing impaired.
In addition to sending enrollment and admissions messages, the system can be used to notify entire student populations and staff members of campus closures and contingency plans due to unforeseen incidents. The Connect-ED service has been successfully used for communication by schools across the country, such as the wildfires in Southern California, Hurricanes Gustav, Dolly, and Humberto, school evacuations and missing persons.
Les Jauron, vice president for planning and information at Butte College, Oroville, Calif., explained how the system recently assisted the campus in a time-sensitive situation. “Earlier this summer, the Humboldt Wildfire in Northern California burned right to the edge of the Butte College main campus. We needed an efficient way to notify students, staff, and faculty about changes to the schedule that resulted from the fire. In this fast-moving situation the Connect-ED service enabled us to quickly notify the campus community about campus closures and schedule changes. This is a capability we just didn’t have before. The speed and efficiency the Connect-ED service brings to time-sensitive notification is truly impressive.”