Frequently Asked Questions about AlertNow

How does the AlertNow mass notification application work?

The AlertNow mass notification platform, a service of Blackboard Connect, combines the power of the Internet with the convenience 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, this multi-modal platform helps officials reach out to parents, students and staff via:

  • Voice messages to home phones, work phones, cell phones and email addresses
  • Text messages to cell phones, PDAs, networked digital signage and other text-based devices
  • SMS messages to email accounts
  • Messages to TTY/TDD receiving devices for the hearing impaired

How has the AlertNow application been used?

The AlertNow application has been used to communicate vital information such as severe weather alerts, evacuation notices, missing children and other important issues. Some schools also use the service for more routine communication, such as attendance notifications and event reminders.

What if an urgent situation occurs and the educational institution can't access the Internet to send a message?

Each user is given a personal, printed Quick Reference card. In case of an evacuation or power loss, 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. AlertNow maintains client care representatives to assist users 24/7/365 should alternative means be necessary, as experienced throughout both Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ike.

How does AlertNow get access to students’, parents’ and staff’s contact information?

AlertNow obtains access to contact information in the following ways:

1. Data provided by the school
2. Data that parents input through the AlertNow Access Parent Portal

Additionally, your community is encouraged to update their information in the event of a change so that school officials can contact them should an issue occur.

Does AlertNow share the school’s information with anyone?

No. AlertNow does not rent, trade, or sell recipient contact data and will only disclose information as necessary to comply with applicable laws and government orders or to operate or maintain AlertNow mass notification services.


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