Emergency Communication System FAQ’s

About  Blackboard Connect & Bates Emergency Notification System

1. What is Blackboard Connect?

Blackboard Connect is a secure emergency notification service that allows authorized Bates officials to send information and instructions simultaneously to individuals through land line phones, cellular phones, text messaging and e-mail. The benefits to the Blackboard Connect service are its immediacy and direct access to members of the College community through multiple points of contact.

This service complements other mechanisms the College has in place to respond to emergencies and relay critical information using the most appropriate channels. These include e-mail, the Bates Web site, personal notification by building, and posters in campus buildings.

2. How does a member of the Bates community enter contact information so that it can be available for use in emergencies?

Students, Faculty and Staff must enter emergency contact information through the Garnet Gateway.

3. When entering data for use by the Blackboard Connect System, may one include contact information for a spouse or significant other so that they, too will be alerted during emergencies?

No. Blackboard Connect notifications are directed solely to the college member.

4. When entering data for use in the Blackboard Connect System, may one only include text message address, but no phone numbers?

The Blackboard Connect System requires at least one valid phone number in order to accept the entire record for a specific person. We will be loading faculty / staff home, office, and cell phone numbers if furnished. For students, we will load campus phone number and cell phone number if furnished.

5. Is my text message address the same thing as my e-mail address?

No. Your e-mail address allows you to receive an emergency notification in a text format via traditional e-mail through your computer or personal data assistant (PDA, Treo, ect), but a text message e-mail address depends on your level of service with your cell phone provider.

6. Other members of the Bates community received emergency notification messages, but I did not. What should I do?

First, check your information in the Garnet Gateway for missing and incorrect information. Ensure that the phone numbers you supplied are valid. Remember, only student, faculty, and staff are included in the Blackboard Connect System.

If your contact information is up to date and you believe you should have received a message, please send an e-mail to pmenice@bates.edu

7. The e-mail notification from Blackboard Connect included a button to listen to a message, but not all computers have sound systems. Is the voice message the same as the text in the e-mail?

Yes. The text of the voice message is identical to the e-mail message. There is no need to listen to the wav. file with voice message.

8. The e-mail notification from Blackboard Connect included too many graphics, particularly for a Blackberry or other PDA devices. Are there plans to improve this?

Yes. Blackboard Connect is working on a template that will not include graphics.

9. Another member of my household is also a member of the Bates community, yet we only received one phone call to our home?

The system recognizes numbers that are repeated and will only connect to a unique phone number.

10. The phone directory lists a common phone number for  multiple people in our office. Will we receive multiple calls via the phone?

No. The system recognizes phone numbers that are repeated and will only connect to a unique phone number.

11. Why didn’t I receive a message on my office phone or dorm phone?

If your phone is a call distribution system (e.g., press 1 for person A, 2 for person B, etc.), the Blackboard Connect System is unable to leave a message.

12. I received the message, but my answering machine cut it off, why?

The system attempts to detect what type of response it is receiving on the other end of the line. In most cases, the system will accurately detect an answering machine and the message plays correctly. In rare instances, the system incorrectly detects a live person and begins to deliver the message prior to the start of a recording.

13. The message on my cell phone keeps looping and repeating. Why?

The system does its best to detect whether it has reached a live person or an answering machine. Sometimes when there is noise in the background, the system detects an answering machine. When this happens, it will wait for a brief moment of silence before starting to play the message. Using the mute feature on the phone or moving to a quieter location may prevent the message from looping or repeating.

If you have additional questions about the Blackboard Connect System, please contact Paul Menice at pmenice@bates.edu or call Security at 786-6254.