Frequently Asked Questions

How can the Emergency Alert System (Blackboard Connect) provide updates to students, faculty, staff, and parents?

Oberlin College has an emergency preparedness plan that includes mass notification through voice messages, text messaging, email, and the Internet. The Emergency Alerty System (Blackboard Connect) is a solution that provides timely alerts when an unforeseen incident has occurred. Should an incident continue for any length of time, updates will be issued as additional information becomes available.

All students, faculty, and staff members are entered into the system. Parents who wish to be notified by this service need to have their students add contact information to their students’ profiles.

When will Oberlin College use the Emergency Alert System?

The college intends to use this alert system only when serious safety or life-threatening emergencies affecting the campus community has or may occur. Other non-emergency but very important information may be shared as an Outreach message.

What contact data should I provide to the Emergency Alert System?

Student’s college email and phone numbers on file with the Registrar's Office are already in the system. Faculty and staff members have their college emails entered into the system. Campus Safety recommends that you update your information in the Emergency Alert System to include your preferred contact phone numbers (cell phones and landline phones) and any additional email addresses. Students may add parents’ phone numbers and email addresses to their profiles. These contact numbers and email addresses will enable the college to reach you in an emergency. You can store up to six phone numbers and two email addresses in the database. Contact numbers and emails designated as Outreach are used when a non-emergency but very important message needs to be shared with the college community

How will Oberlin College contact me in the event of an emergency?

Through the Emergency Alert System (Blackboard Connect), Oberlin College makes every best effort to reach you. That’s why we employed the ability to contact you by cell phone, campus phone, text messaging, email, and the Internet. It is crucial that you log on to the college’s web portal to verify, update, or add to your stored contact information.

How does the system respond to busy signals or no-answer situations?

Unanswered calls or a busy signal will result in additional attempts to reach the number. Voice mail messages are left if the phone is set up to receive messages. If the call does not go through successfully after several attempts, the system will stop and report your number to be busy.

If I provide multiple numbers and a cell phone with SMS text messaging capability, which device will get the message first?

The system delivers messages to phones and SMS independently and simultaneously. Therefore, it will be delivered to all your available phone numbers at the same time. It’s possible you could receive them concurrently, but depending on your mobile and landline providers, the times may vary. Text messages depend on your service provider and can often take longer than voice calls.

Does Blackboard Connect gain access to student, faculty, and staff contact information?

NTI uses an encrypted process to securely and reliably import the college’s existing data. The college maintains all data with full ownership.

I heard that a classmate or colleague received a voice or text message from the college, but I did not. Why would that happen?

It is possible not all of your contact information is in our database. It is essential that you log on to the college’s web portal to verify, update, or add to your personal contact information.

How do I register to receive text messages from Oberlin College?

If you have a text-enabled cell phone, log on to the college’s web portal to register your cell phone for text message alerts. There is a free app for iOS and Android phones.

When I change or update my information with the office of the Registrar or with Human Resources, does it update my information in Blackboard Connect?

No, the databases for the Emergency Alert System and the systems used by Human Resources and the Registrar are independent. Likewise, changing or adding contact information in the Emergency Alert System does not update information for the Registrar or Human Resources.