Emergency Alerts allows administrators to quickly and easily create custom emergency announcements that are prominently displayed on the homepage of the website. The module can be accessed from the desktop version of OU Campus and OU Campus for Mobile, so administrators can post an alert while on the go if necessary.
Emergency Alerts can be purchased from the Marketplace. Once activated, the Emergency Alerts screen can be found under the Add-Ons menu in the Global Navigation bar.
Alerts are posted on a site-by-site basis and cannot be shared across an entire account. By default, Emergency Alerts will be available to level 9 and 10 administrators only, though this can be changed via group access.
The Active Alert screen will display the current alert, or, if there is none, give you the option to create a new one.
Selecting New Alert will bring you to the New Alert Screen.
The New Alert creation form contains the following fields:
- Severity: Choose a severity level for the alert; options are Announcement, Warning, or Emergency. Keep in mind that alerts may look different depending on how they are configured for your institution. Required.
- Title: Type a title for your alert. Required. Maximum of 128 characters.
- Subtitle: Type a subtitle for your alert. Optional. Maximum of 30,000 characters.
- Description: Provide for information about the event or emergency. Required. Maximum of 30,000 characters.
- Date and Time: Select the date and time that the event referred to in the alert occurred. You can use the current date and time, or select Custom to choose another. Required.
- URL: If there is a news article or other web page you wish to link to, place the URL here. Optional.
- Social Media: If you have Facebook and/or Twitter accounts configured with your OU Campus account, you can select which ones you want to have a post generated as the alert
is published. Selected accounts will automatically be enabled for updates on that
- When publishing an alert to a social media channel, only the title and link are published, not the description, severity, or subtitle.
Once you have filled out the fields, select Publish to publish the alert. It will now display in the Active Alert screen.
Once an alert is active, it can be edited, deleted, or archived. Selecting Edit brings up the same fields as when you created the alert. Selecting Delete removes it permanently. Selecting Archive takes the alert down from the website and moves it to the Archived Alerts folder, from where it can potentially be restored.
There can only be one alert active at a time.
Updating an Active Alert
After an initial alert has been posted, administrators can post updates to it as well by selecting the New Update button at the bottom of the Active Alert screen.
Updates contain the following fields, with the same functionality as they did when creating a new alert:
- Date and Time
- Social Media
Select Publish to publish the update. Updates can be edited and deleted. If the original alert is archived, any attached updates are archived with it as well. An alert can be updated multiple times.
In the Active Alert screen, updates will display below the original alert. How updates display in regards to the pop-up or banner alert is configured per each implementation of Emergency Alerts.
Once archived, alerts are stored here.
Selecting an alert lets you view it and any updates it might have had, as well as the option to Set as Active or Delete. An archived alert cannot be Set as Active if there is already an active alert in place. Deleting an archived alert removes it permanently.
Settings controls who can access Emergency Alerts and which Facebook and Twitter profiles can have alerts posted on them.
Settings contains the following fields:
- Group Access: Determines the group of users who will be able to access the module from the Add-Ons menu. The default is (Administrators Only), which includes all level 9 and 10 administrators. This group must also have access to the ou-alerts folder (see OU Campus Setup).
- Notified Users: Determines the group of users who will receive email notifications from OU Campus when an alert is posted or when an update is made to an active alert. The default is (Administrators Only), which includes all level 9 and 10 administrators.
- Social Media: Lists all Facebook and Twitter accounts that have been linked with the site from the Setup menu. Activating a social media account will have that account appear as an option when creating an alert or update.This only allows that account to appear as an option; users still need to select the account when making the alert or update itself.
Your continued feedback is very important to us as we strive to improve Emergency Alerts and the OU Campus user experience! The Send Feedback screen lets you rate the module and give us your feedback on how it has worked for you.
OU Campus Setup
In addition to the Emergency Alerts interface, two pages will be added to your website as typical PCF files in a location of your choice. Each of these pages contains a script, one that displays the active alert (if applicable), and one that lists any archived alerts. These pages must be initially published after Emergency Alerts is implemented, but after that will be automatically updated as alerts are.
An ou-alerts folder will also be created, to store xml files and allow users who don't have the ability to publish directly to the production server to publish alerts. This folder must be named ou-alerts and be located at the root of the site. In order to post or change alerts, users must be in the group that has access to the ou-alerts folder.