Community Colleges Improve Crisis Communications with Emergency Notification System
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Twelve community colleges--among them Wayne County Community College District in Detroit and Illinois Eastern Community Colleges--have recently signed on with Omnilert for its emergency notification system for higher education. Since most students at community colleges live off campus, reaching the population with mass notifications is more difficult.
"Given the challenges of managing an institution with multiple campuses and students who may take course offerings at more than one location, the e2Campus systems provides a solution to timely notification of emergencies throughout our district," said Curtis Ivery, chancellor at Wayne County. "[The] district is better prepared now than ever before with e2Campus as a major resource for the safety of those in our learning community."
Terry Bruce, CEO at Illinois Eastern, which has four campuses, pointed to his colleges' use of the service during snow and ice storms last winter to keep students, faculty, and staff informed about college closures. "Illinois Eastern is a multi-county community college district with four independent colleges," he said. "e2Campus has allowed us to communicate effectively and efficiently with our students and staff."
e2Campus allows school personnel to self-administer and send time-sensitive messages to multiple communication devices to reach an entire campus community. The service can simultaneously send multimodal alerts to a subscriber's mobile phone (via SMS text message), land line phone (via voice message), computer desktop, e-mail accounts, and RSS reader, plus through on-campus devices such as loudspeakers, fire/security systems, LCD/LED digital signage, alert beacons, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and school Web pages. Pricing starts at $2,500 annually for smaller schools and scales up based on the number of students.
In other Omnilert news, the company recently announced integration with ActiveAccess, a desktop content delivery platform from SpectraRep. e2Campus clients who have ActiveAccess installed can send e2Campus alerts automatically and simultaneously to the school's computer desktops as a pop-up alert or text crawl without the need for logging into ActiveAccess separately. This also means students who haven't enrolled in e2Campus will still get the alerts through school computers with the ActiveAccess service.
Once installed, the ActiveAccess desktop sits in the virtual desktop tray. When an event occurs, campus personnel can issue scrolling text alerts or graphical alerts that are delivered to the application within a few minutes after issuance. Alerts appear in front of any other open programs so they're not missed.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.