The East Coast is certainly no stranger to Mother Nature’s extreme weather patterns – from torrential rains that left us swimming a few weeks ago to the record-breaking Snowmaggedon of last winter. While hurricane season has not yet churned out the crazy systems as predicted at the start of June, Tropical Storm Nicole did her darnedest to end the summer season in high style. A few weeks ago, the East Coast relentless rain forced many cities, towns and school districts to turn to their Blackboard mass notification systems to get messages out to thousands in minutes. As severe flooding caused closed roads, backed up sewer lines and school cancellations and delays, more than 2.5 million calls were successfully sent out using Blackboard Connect, with AlertNow putting out more than 1.3 million calls. Combined, Blackboard mass notification services sent more than 3.8 million calls over the course of last week.
Recently at BbWorld 2010, Terry Patterson hosted a session discussing the implementation and utilization of the Blackboard Connect Integration Toolkit for Learn. As the Director of Distance Learning at South Arkansas Community College, Patterson is very aware of the digital divide between higher education institutions and their increasingly tech-savvy student body. To help students and professors stay connected outside of the classroom, SACC implemented the Toolkit earlier this year.
As Patterson explained in an article published in Converge, students rarely check their school e-mail, or even their personal e-mail for that matter. Instead, they're reading text messages, sending pictures and tweeting on their smart phones.
Today is National Child Health Day, a time to build awareness and encourage people across America to work together in preventing problems and improving childhood health. It’s also a timely reminder to those who care for children to take the necessary precautions in preventing serious illnesses. Flu season is around the corner, and as last year’s H1N1 outbreak demonstrated, it’s important to be vigilant. Additionally, the whooping cough outbreak in California has become so severe that it was recently declared an epidemic. As reported cases spread across the California border, the importance of childhood and routine vaccinations is great.
Blackboard Connect Social Media Integration, part 3: Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District, Carrollton, TX
In our third installment of the Blackboard Connect™ social media integration feature spotlight, we look at Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, a large K-12 school district outside of Dallas. TX, to examine their social media practices in conjunction with Blackboard Connect.
As the Assistant Director of Public Information for the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District, Angela Shelley is not shy about using every available communication mode and device for getting the word out. But as digital communication channels gain more prominence, streamlined messages and outreach grows increasingly important, and in some respects, necessary for school districts.
Situated on the border of Dallas, Carrollton-Farmers Branch spans across six cities and is comprised of more than 25,000 students. Described as majority -minority, the district’s population largely consists of native speaking Spanish and Asian students, with most students speaking English as a second language. Such a large, diverse population requires flexible, robust communication from the school and district officials.
September is National Preparedness Month, and it serves as a timely reminder of the importance of taking precautionary measures before an urgent situation arises. For most people, proper preparedness simply means developing a well thought-out plan or stockpiling supplies. But for those in a position of leadership, whether it is a local community, school district or college campus, a robust communication plan and a reliable mass notification system are a must.
If your community already utilizes a notification service, National Preparedness Month is the perfect opportunity to remind residents to register or update their contact information in the notification database. With more contacts, and more accurate numbers and addresses, messages are more effective as official information can be received as soon as it’s available. An annual test call or an announcement to local media outlets are also great ways to generate awareness and encourage registration among residents.