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Blackboard Help

Create and Send Messages

Create once — publish everywhere!

You can create and customize messages to send to recipients by phone, email, text, app, and social media. Depending on who you are trying to reach and what your message is, you can select different types of delivery methods.

Watch the Send Message Interface https://player.vimeo.com/video/123036930 video for a tutorial of sending messages.


Create a message

Senders cannot cancel a message during its delivery, a message can only be canceled 5 minutes before the delivery is set to begin.

  1. From the Blackboard Communications HQ interface menu, select Messages > Send.
  2. Type the Subject for the topic of the message.
  3. Add Recipients, use a Saved Message to resend common messages, change the start time, or adjust many other options.
  4. Select one or more delivery methods from the main send message page to send to the recipients:

    • Template option – Create a template message to be used on all of the delivery types and modified later in each one to customize them. Type the body of the message here. You can also add images for the template option. Not all messages types will post images.
    • Phone messages – If you created a template message, the content will be added here for phone calls. You can update the text and select how to make the recording – Call me to record, Call in to record, Upload audio file, or Text to speech. To remove the phone call option, close out the tab from the upper right hand corner.
    • Emails – If you created a template message, the content will be added here for emails. You can update the text and add any images. To remove the email option, close out the tab from the upper right hand corner.
    • Text/SMS – If you created a template message, the content will be added here for text/SMS messages, but you may need to edit the content to be less than 160 characters. To remove the text/SMS option, close out the tab from the upper right hand corner.
    • Mobile App Notifications – For districts and schools that subscribe to Blackboard Mobile Communication app, the content will be added here for the app notifications. You can update the text and add any images. You can also mark the notification to appear only to known recipients and not to the general public of your mobile app. To remove the app notification option, close out the tab from the upper right hand corner.
    • Facebook – For districts and schools that subscribe to Blackboard Mass Notification, Blackboard Mobile Communication app, or Blackboard Social Media Manager, the content will be added here for Facebook messages, but you may need to edit the content to be less than 160 characters. You can update the text and add any images. To remove the Facebook option, close out the tab from the upper right hand corner.
    • Twitter – For districts and schools that subscribe to Blackboard Mass Notification, Blackboard Mobile Communication app, or Blackboard Social Media Manager, the content will be added here for text/SMS messages, but you may need to edit the content to be less than 140 characters. You can update the text and add an image. To remove the Twitter option, close out the tab from the upper right hand corner.
    • RSS – For districts and schools that send messages to a third party website, the content will be added here for RSS feeds.
    • District/School Websites – For districts and schools that subscribe to Blackboard Web Community Manager and have implemented their Universal Navigation bar, the content will be added here for your district or school websites. You can update the text and add any images. To remove the website option, close out the tab from the upper right hand corner.
    • Alerts – For districts and schools that subscribe to Blackboard Web Community Manager and have implemented their Universal Navigation bar, the content will be added here for your district or school website on-screen alerts. You can update the text and select which sites will display the on-screen pop-up alert message. To remove the alert option, close out the tab from the upper right hand corner.
  5. Include language translations by selecting Add Language, and select each language needed.

    You can remove any language with the Delete icon.

    Amheric language will not include translation or text-to-speech capabilities. Some Android devices and iOS do NOT support Amheric, and the message may not look correct on those devices. However, it is expected that those users requiring Amheric language will use phones that support the display.

  6. Set the message as an Emergency if needing to send out immediately.

    You can set the message to be sent immediately with the proper language translations.

  7. Select Send when ready to send the message.

Merge tags with recorded messages

You can use merge tags for recorded phone messages. The tag will record the information available in the database for the specific information.

For example, if you want parents to confirm that their specific child is absent with a phone message, you can record the message, insert a merge tag for the name of the student, and the student's name will be inserted into the generalized recording. Then the message will be sent to all parents of absentee students with the information for their own child.

Merge tags help you to send personalized messages with only one recording.

  1. In the Advanced Options section, select Use merge tags with recorded audio.
  2. From the Phone area of the Send Message interface, select Call me to record or Call in to record.
  3. When typing your script, select your merge tags through the Merge Tags feature. To avoid errors, do NOT copy and paste merge tags into the text.

  4. Read the script and when you see a merge tag, press the Star (*) button on your phone. Wait for the beep to continue reading your script.
  5. Press Pound (#) when finished recording, and press 1 to save the message.

Send a saved message

There are several pre-written, standard messages for your district or school to use. These messages are written and recorded in four supported languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Haitian-Creole. You can also pre-write, record, and save messages to use again. These messages are available under the Existing Messages column.

  1. Select any default or saved messages from the folders in the Saved Messages section.

    Open each folder to see what default and saved messages are in them.

  2. Select Edit to update the message or to select any other delivery methods – Phone, Email, Text/SMS, App Notifications, RSS, Facebook, Twitter, District/School Websites.
  3. Add Recipients, change the start time, or adjust many other options by using the menu to the left of the message area.
  4. Include language translations by selecting the Languages.
  5. Set the message as an Emergency if needing to send out immediately.
  6. Select Send when ready to send the message.

Search for recipients

Users are able to select recipients by groups, schools, grades, even individually. There are various ways to select recipients.

  1. Select Choose from the Recipients area.

  2. Select a search method:
    • Select From a List for a standard search.

      Type a recipient’s name in the Search box. You can also select a group from the list, or open the group and select specific users.

    • Select From a File to upload a pre-created text file of users phone numbers and email addresses to upload.

      When a file is uploaded with phone numbers and email addresses, the system will create temporary accounts that will be deleted after the message has been delivered.

      You can create the file in Excel and save as a text file. Columns include Phone, Email, First Name, Last Name, and Language.

      If a recipient does not have an email address, leave the cell blank. If sending a phone message, and the recipient does not have a phone number — delete that recipient. Make sure that all recipients have ten digit phone numbers.

    • Select From a Map to select specific users based on their location on a map. Select the types of users to search for on the map, and then select Done.

    • Select Advanced Search to send messages to groups of users based on set parameters to locate recipients. For example, you can send message to parents with students in a specific grade level.

      • Select the specific School to limit the recipients to a specific school in your district.
      • Select the specific Role for the user types include.
      • From the drop-down list in Field and Operation, select the search parameters.
      • Type any specific variable in the Value box.
  3. Select Search when ready.

Use advanced message options

You can adjust how messages are sent — adjust the send time, recipient numbers, and change who is allowed to send this message at another time.

  1. Select Advanced Options.
  2. Select the specific district or school from the Sending Organization list.
  3. Adjust the Delivery Schedule by setting a start date/time, and an end date/time.
    • To schedule messages to be sent multiple times, select the Add (+) icon to set multiple dates and times. Use this feature to send reminders to recipients multiple times for an upcoming event.

      Check out the video for scheduling multiple deliveries of a message:

  4. Select or clear the remaining options:
    • To send a message during blackout times, select Send messages during blackout times.
    • To send a message to all numbers available for every user, select Deliver to ALL recipient delivery addresses.

      Select Deliver to ALL recipient delivery addresses only during emergencies.

    • To include the parents of student, select Deliver to parents of students. Student must have been selected as recipients.
    • If you want the header and footer information included in an audio message, clear the Do not play header/footer prompts during outbound calling option. This option is usually checked so that the header and footer information is not included.
    • To save this message as public, select Allow other users to also send this message (public).
    • If you want recipients respond by pressing 2 from their phones, select Allow message recipients to respond to this message via voice recording.
    • If using merge codes for phone messages, select Use merge tags with recorded audio.
  5. To update the message category, select a new category from the Message Category list.
  6. Select Save when finished.