Communicate effectively.

Your school's website includes a simple-to-use notification system that is designed for teachers — Teacher Communications. You can send messages to any of your students, the entire class, all your classes, or just to parents. Plus, Teacher Communications allows you to send pre-made messages. These messages are categorized into teacher specific categories and can be targeted to select students based on the message subject. You can also create your own message.

Check it out!


Send my own message

If you want to create your own message instead of sending a pre-made message, you can type your own content in Send Message page. You can then select to sent it as an email, text/SMS message, or if set by your school, as a phone message.

  1. Select Messages.

    Each teacher's students are separated into classes.

  2. Select the class or a user group.

    Is there a group of students or parents that you contact on a regular basis? Create a special user group!

  3. To send a message to one or a few members, select the specific users. You can select all parents or all students, or use the list icon to select individual users. You can also search for specific users by name.
  4. Type the Subject.
  5. Select one or more delivery methods from the main send message page to send to the recipients:
    • Emails - Type your text and add any images. To remove the email option, close out the tab from the upper right hand corner.
    • Text/SMS - Content needs to be less than 160 characters. To copy content from the email message, select the Copy Content icon. To remove the text/SMS option, close out the tab from the upper right hand corner.
  6. Select Start Time to change the time to send the message. If you want to repeat message, you can also add more dates and times. You cannot send messages during your school's blackout times.
  7. Include language translations by selectingLanguage, 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.

    If needed, check the text message option if over the character limit.

  8. Select Send when finished.

Send a pre-made message

Pre-made messages allow you to quickly send standard, student-type messages to students in your classes or specific user groups you created. There are several you can choose from.

  • System created: Written and recorded in four supported languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Haitian-Creole. Can't be edited, copied, or deleted. Identified by the Blackboard logo.
  • Admin created: Created by your district administrator. Can be copied only. Identified by an image of a building.
  • User created: Written and recorded by a user. Can be edited, copied, and deleted. Identified by an image of a person.

All of the system pre-made teacher messages are available in several languages including English, Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, and Cantonese. Any of these messages will send in the preferred language of the recipient if available.

Messages will deliver at the optimal start time set by the school or district, and will also adhere to the school or district call window. Contact the school administrator about the teacher message delivery times at each school.

  1. Select Messages.

    Each teacher's students are separated into classes.

  2. Select the class or a user group.
  3. To send a message to one or a few members, select the specific users. You can select all parents or all students, or use the list icon to select individual users. You can also search for specific users by name.
  4. Select a message category from the Saved Messages list.

    Category examples may include Class Achievements, Class Behavior, or Class Projects.

  5. Select the messages to use. The message will appear in the Send Message page.
  6. Type the Subject.
  7. Select one or more delivery methods from the main send message page to send to the recipients:
    • 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 - Content needs to be less than 160 characters. To remove the text/SMS option, close out the tab from the upper right hand corner.
  8. Select Send when finished.

What if I want to send a phone message?

By default, teachers cannot send phone messages unless the feature has been turned on by your district. If it is available, a phone icon will be available on the Send Message page. You can record audio to attach to your message. You can use your school's phone system to record the message, upload an audio file you created, or type text that will translate to speech. You select your recording option from the Phone list when creating a new message.

  • If you select Call me to record, type your phone number and select Call me to record.
  • If you select Call In to record, follow the on-screen instructions to record the message.
    • Call the number listed.
    • Immediately enter the unique four-digit code.
    • Record the message after the prompt.
    • Press pound # when finished.
    • Select from the menu options:
      • Press 1 to save the message.
      • Press 2 to listen to the message.
      • Press 3 to re-record the message.
    • When satisfied with the message, press 1 and wait for the confirmation message before hanging up.
  • If you select Upload Audio file, select Browse to find and upload your recorded audio file.
  • If you select Text to Speech, type your message in the Text messages box. Select Play Audio to listen to the message, or type your phone number and select Call to hear your message.

Create accessible messages

Create Accessible Messages

Did you know that one billion people in the world have a mental or physical disability? Or that 12.9% of all students in North America have some form of disability? It's important to make sure your communications are understood by all of your students and community members.

More on accessibility in education


Accessibility best practices for all communication

It doesn't matter if it's email or Facebook, making your messages accessible is easy with these accessibility best practices.

  • Write plainly. Keep your sentences short. Use words, or combination of words, with 1-2 syllables when possible. Use contractions. Use tools like Hemmingway Editor to measure the readability of your text.
  • Don't use font styles or color alone to indicate importance! When you need to give a strong visual cue, make sure that you use an accessible alternative. Use an exclamation mark at the end of your sentence if it is important. Screen readers intonate exclamation and question marks. This means the tool will not read "question mark"-instead, it will lend a questioning tone as it reads a question aloud.
  • Include alt text in your images. You don't need to say "Image of" as the assistive tools already know it is an image. Be concise, clear, and descriptive. Do not use the same alt text for every image, such as "Image illustrating associated text." It is meaningless and adds clutter.
  • Add image captions when you can't add alt text. If you can't add alt text to your images, make sure your text conveys all of the information without relying on the image.
  • Make links descriptive. Every link should describe what the user can expect to find when they click it. Avoid using generic phrases such as "click here" or "see more." Web addresses or URLs are not considered informative and should not be used. Instead make the text descriptive.
  • Make your attachments accessible. Follow the same best practices to make your attachments accessible. To learn more, see Accessibility at Blackboard.
  • Include closed captioning or transcripts with your videos. Provide a link to transcripts, if your video doesn't include closed captioning.
  • Try listening to your message to make sure it sounds right. Use text-to-speech tools available on most devices to listen to your message before sending it.

Accessibility in social media

Social media is not always accessible. It's challenging for screen reader users to navigate and content doesn't always use headings, alt text for images, or video captioning. This doesn't mean that you can't use social media. It's where your audience is. Make sure your content is accessible as possible to reach your whole audience.

Follow the accessibility best practices for all of your content and these tips when using Facebook or Twitter.

Facebook

  • Provide a text alternative for all photos and images you post.
  • Provide a link to transcripts when posting videos.

Twitter

  • Tell your audience what is in your tweet. If your tweet has photos, video, or audio, use these prefixes at the beginning of your tweet.
    • Photos: [PIC]
    • Videos: [VIDEO]
    • Audio: [AUDIO]
  • Place hashtags and mentions at the end of your tweet.
  • Use camel case in hashtags. Initial cap the first letter of each word in your hashtag. For example, #BlackboardAccessibility
  • Avoid text jargon that may sound strange when read by a screen reader.