Blackboard Connect Text and Voice Blast Policy

New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) uses Blackboard Connect to communicate with current students via text messaging and/or recorded phone messages (voice blasts). These communications are one-way only, meaning that the students cannot text back or have a live conversation unless they call back. The following policies and procedures provide guidance for the appropriate use of text and voice messages at NYIT.

Blackboard Connect is used to reach the New York Institute of Technology community at large (for emergency use only) or segments of the NYIT community (for specific outreach).

Generally speaking, the use of Blackboard Connect is appropriate for:

  1. Emergency communications (i.e., school closure, campus safety). This messaging is managed and executed by the Alerts team within Strategic Communications and External Affairs.
  2. Messages that inform a select group of students of a specific action they must take (i.e., pay your tuition bill, file the FAFSA to receive financial aid, register for classes, at risk of deregistration, etc). This messaging is executed by the Office of Enrollment Services.

Inappropriate use of Blackboard Connect text and voice messaging includes but is not limited to:

  1. Messages that are personal in nature or contain personal opinions.
  2. Messages that are commercial in nature, with the exception of messages in support of university business that are approved by the stipulations defined in this policy.
  3. Event invitations, with the exception of messages in support of university business that are approved by the stipulations defined in this policy.

Sending/Requesting Text/Voice Messages to Internal Recipients

To promote institutional operating efficiency and the privacy of our students, the following guidelines are intended to manage the scope and frequency of Blackboard Connect use:

  1. Only one department is allowed to request a Blackboard Connect message per day, so requests should be made as early as possible (no less than two business days in advance) by emailing the Student Communications team, which will accept messages on a first-come, first-served basis. At present, all requests should be directed to Tim Ullrich at The Student Communications department is not responsible for the directives contained in the message but reserves the right to edit for clarity, consistency, and style, upon which it will seek approval of the requestor.
  2. It is the responsibility of the office requesting the message to ensure that what is being communicated will not disrupt critical university business for any departments or individuals directly affected.
  3. The message should be self-explanatory, clear, and concise, and should only be used for important messages relevant to all recipients. The character limit for text messages is 160 characters (including spaces). Phone messages should be no longer than 45 seconds.
  4. URLs may be included in text messages. However, you are not able to hyperlink text (e.g. "Log on at" is correct, while "Log on here" is incorrect).
  5. Frequent or repeated messages are discouraged.

Authorizations and Approvals for Blackboard Messages

All requests for Blackboard Connect messages will be reviewed by Student Communications, with the exception of emergency communications which will be determined by Strategic Communications and External Affairs. The department requesting the message(s) must provide:

  • List of students' Network IDs (7-digit ID starting with "9")
  • Language to be used for text/voice that are within the guidelines above
  • Date/time requested for the messages to be sent

During a community-wide or campus-wide emergency, the Emergency Communications Plan protocols are followed.

Specific Policies

In an effort to prevent the proliferation of unrequested text messages and phone calls to students, the following guidelines will be used when a request is made:

  1. Blackboard Connect will not be used to advertise or market campus programs, activities, or events. Other mechanisms are available for this purpose (send requests to for placement on digital signs, web, e-newsletters).
  2. Blackboard Connect will seldom be used to distribute surveys to all students. However, departments wishing to distribute surveys to students should consult the Department of Institutional Research and Assessment to determine policies and procedures for sending surveys to students.

Alternate Forms of Communications to NYIT Audiences

Announcements that do not meet these criteria of urgency and/or critical information should be relayed through other methods/channels, bulk email, online web calendar, web announcements for their particular area, social media such as Facebook or Twitter, and digital signage. Requests should be made via the online request form.