How many numbers can I have in the Connect-ED system?
Up to six numbers can be stored in the system for each "student/employee". They are as follows:
The primary and additional numbers are selected by the individual's choice from the six available options:
Primary Number: The primary number called for all messages
Additional Number: When added, this number is called for all messages as well.
All emergency messages contact all the numbers in the database by default, whereas basic messages only use the primary and additional (if available) numbers.
What type of messages does the Connect-ED system send?
“Emergency” messages include, but are not limited to, weather-related emergencies and/or incidents and events that jeopardize the health and safety of students and/or employees.
High Priority messages
“High Priority” messages are non-emergency messages, such compliance issues (i.e., important events, registration, exam schedules, immunization, etc.) sent to parents, employees and/or outside audiences who need to receive them on a timely basis.
“Outreach” messages are not considered critical but are about important school/centre events and/or issues.
Attendance messages alert parents to students who are not in school each day.
How does the Connect-ED® mass notification service work?
The Connect-ED service combines the power of the Internet with the pervasiveness of the telephone to give users an affordable and easy-to-use tool to reach out to their communities. Users record a voice message in their own voice using just a telephone or type a message to be sent to text receiving devices. In all, the multi-modal service helps officials reach out to students, parents and staff via:
o Voice messages to home phones, work phones, cell phones, and even e-mail addresses
o Text messages to e-mail accounts
o Messages to TTY/TDD receiving devices for the hearing impaired
How many calls have been sent through the Blackboard Connect family of services?
Blackboard Connect Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Blackboard Inc. (Nasdaq: BBBB), is currently sending over 31 million voice messages per month solely on behalf of government entities and schools via its Blackboard Connect family of services which include:
o Connect-ED for K-12 schools
o Connect-ED for Higher Education
o Connect-CTY® for local governments
o Connect-GOV® for state and federal agencies
How many schools are using the service?
One in every five K-12 students in the United States is enrolled in schools using the Connect-ED service to send messages to students, parents and staff. U.S. sites currently using the Connect-ED service include Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Sacramento City Public Schools, and Houston Independent School District. Blackboard Connect is prohibited from listing its clients without prior consent – all clients quoted above can be mentioned as they have provided consent. If you would like to speak with any of the referenced clients, please contact Nicholle McClelland at (818) 808-1456 or via e-mail at Nicholle.McClelland@blackboardconnect.com.
Additionally, over 25,000 active sites across the U.S. are using one of the Blackboard Connect services to reach over 20 million recipients. In Canada, the Lester B. Pearson School Board became the first school board to use a Blackboard Connect service to reach its XX,XXX parents, students and staff.
What is “multi-modal” communication?
With the Connect-ED service, school 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. It is the most comprehensive way to reach people in the environment they may be in at the moment an issue arises. During a time-sensitive situation, communication is sent simultaneously to available contact points for each person. During a routine event or for attendance calls, communication is sent to the recipient’s primary number.
How much does the Connect-ED system cost?
The service is based on an affordable flat per-student rate. Blackboard Connect does not quote rates for individual clients. Please check with the site for additional information.
How has the Connect-ED service been used?
The Connect-ED service has been used to communicate vital information when a critical situation has taken place. Additionally, some sites use the service for more routine communication, such as holiday schedules, test day reminders, and to alert parents of important upcoming events or deadlines.
What if a time-sensitive situation occurs and the school can't access the Internet to send a message?
Each user is given a personal, wallet-sized Emergency Messaging card. In case of an evacuation or power loss, school administrators can use the information on this card to send a time-sensitive notification to their contacts or to a pre-determined emergency response team using just a telephone. Blackboard Connect maintains client care representatives to assist users 24/7/365 should alternative means be necessary.
Does the Connect-ED service require any additional equipment?
No. The only thing needed is an Internet connection, a browser that meets or exceeds Internet Explorer 5.5 or Netscape 7.0, and a telephone. Sites don't have to buy or maintain any special equipment, have special phone lines installed, or install any software applications or plug-ins. Blackboard Connect provides training, which typically takes less than 30 minutes, a detailed step-by-step user guide for reference, and uses industry-standard file types to interface with school data systems so they will be able to get up-and-running immediately.
How does the Connect-ED system get access to student and staff contact information?
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 all data. They have full ownership over that data. Blackboard Connect also provides a system that allows schools to schedule secured automatic updates as frequently as they like, and/or they can add, remove, and delete individual contacts at their convenience.
Additionally, students, parents 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.
Does Blackboard Connect share the school’s information with anyone?
No. 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.
How long has Blackboard Connect provided this service?
Blackboard Connect’s first client sent its first K-12 communication in early 2001 under the PACE brand in the U.S. Since then, Blackboard Connect has delivered hundreds of millions of messages on behalf of schools and public officials.
How can the Connect-ED service reach thousands quickly?
The company’s mass notification engine supports the Connect-ED service. Blackboard Connect maintains access to tens of thousands of phone lines originating from multiple locations throughout North America to ensure that its clients' communications are delivered quickly and efficiently. Moreover, Blackboard Connect employs sophisticated call throttling logic to identify the proper schematics needed to deliver calls based upon whatever congestion the local telecommunications providers are experiencing at the moment calls are being attempted. This is a crucial point of differentiation versus both auto-dialers and other /Software as a Service competitor who lack experience delivering time-based mass notifications.