How does the Connect-ED ® 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 typing a message. In all, the multi-modal service helps officials reach out to students, parents and staff via:
- Voice messages to home phones, work phones, cell phones, and even emails
- Written messages to e-mail accounts
How many calls have been sent through the Connect-ED service?
Blackboard Connect is currently sending 25-30 million time-sensitive calls per month solely on behalf of government entities and schools via its Connect platform of services which include:
- Connect-ED for K-12 schools and school districts
- Connect-ED for Higher ED
- Connect-CTY® for municipalities
- Connect-GOV® for state and federal agencies
How many schools are using the service?
One in every six K-12 students are enrolled in schools using the Connect-ED service to send messages to students, parents and staff. 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 aforementioned clients, please contact Natasha Rabe at 818-808-1790 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, over 14,000 sites nationwide are using one of services, reaching 9 million recipients.
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). 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. Communication is sent simultaneously to all available contact points for each person.
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 system been used?
The Connect-ED system 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 an emergency 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 all 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 such as encountered throughout both Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Wilma as well as regularly encountered when a snow day message needs to be sent.
Does the Connect-ED service require any additional equipment?
No. The only thing needed is an Internet connection and a telephone. Sites do not have to buy or maintain any special equipment, have special phone lines installed, or install any software applications or plug-ins.
How does the Connect-ED service 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 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 its service providers.
How long has Blackboard Connect provided this service?
Blackboard Connect's first client sent its inaugural Connect-ED for K-12 communication in early 2001 under the PACE brand. 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 in minutes?
Blackboard Connect'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 the United States 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 as compared to both auto-dialers and other ASP/Software as a Service competitors who lack experience delivering time-based mass notifications.
What is Blackboard Connect?
Located in Sherman Oaks, CA, Blackboard Connect Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Blackboard Inc. (NASDAQ: BBBB) that provides comprehensive communication services specifically designed to enable rapid dissemination of critical information via multimodal communication, including voice and email. The Connect platform of services includes Connect-ED®, Connect-CTY®, Connect-GOV®, and Connect-MIL®. These SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions are used nationwide by Higher Education, K-12 schools, local government, State and Federal agencies, and U.S. military forces. Blackboard Connect designs systems specifically for each served vertical to ensure quick adoption by end-users. Blackboard Connect's services are developed with the assistance of end-users within each vertical and are regularly upgraded based upon requests made by a panel of industry-specific users and non-users ensuring that we are providing the best services possible.