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Emergency Alerts

This module creates custom emergency announcements that are prominently displayed on the homepage of your website. As it is accessible from both the desktop and mobile versions of OU Campus, alerts can be posted or updated on the go.

A screenshot of the Emergency Alerts module. It displays an active alert, with a timestamp and description of the event, as well as update. A menu on the side has options for the active alert, archive, settings, and feedback.

Alerts have three severity levels – announcement, warning, and emergency – and once active, can be archived. The visual appearance of the warning banner is determined as part of the module installation process, but can be modified further by editing the module configuration file (should you have the config file). 

Once activated, Emergency Alerts is accessed via the Add-Ons menu. Alerts are posted on a site-by-site basis and can't be shared across an account. By default, Emergency Alerts are available only to level 9 and 10 users, although this can be modified.

Emergency Alerts is also accessible from the OU Campus for Mobile interface. To open Emergency Alerts, expand the main menu by selecting the hamburger menu (three horizontal lines) in the top-left corner, and select Add-Ons > Emergency Alerts.

There are four sub-sections of Emergency Alerts, available via the left-hand menu: Active Alert, Archived Alerts, Settings, and Send Feedback

Active AlertLink to this section

The Active Alert screen of the module displays the current alert, or, if there is none, gives you the option to create a new one. There can only be one active alert at a time.

A screenshot of a screen that shows a megaphone and the text "No active alert at this time." Underneath, a blue button reads "New Alert."

To make a new alert:

  1. Open Emergency Alerts.
  2. If an alert isn't currently active, the "New Alert" button is available. Click "New Alert."
  3. Fill out the form fields:
    • Severity*: Choose a severity level (Announcement, Warning, or Emergency). These affect the appearance and behavior of the alert, though specifics depend on your installation.
    • Title*: Type a title for the alert, maximum of 128 characters.
    • Subtitle: Type a subtitle for the alert, maximum of 30,000 characters.
    • Description*: Provide information about the event or emergency, 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.
    • URL: If there is a news article or other page you want to link to, enter the URL here.
    • Social Media: If you have Facebook and/or Twitter accounts configured with your OU Campus account, you can select which ones you want to post to as the alert is published. Selected accounts are automatically enabled for updates on that alert.
      • When publishing an alert to a social media channel, only the title and link are posted.
  4. Click Publish. The alert is now active.
    *Required.

The alert can be edited, deleted, and archived. Editing the alert changes the information in the initial post, and is not the same as posting an update. Deleting it removes it permanently from the system. Archiving an alert takes it down from the website but stores it in the "Archived Alerts" folder, from where it can potentially be restored.

Updating an Alert

Once an alert is active, you can post updates to it by selecting the "New Update" button at the bottom of the "Active Alert" screen.

Updates contain the following fields, which are the same as when creating a new alert:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Date and Time
  • URL
  • Social Media

Select Publish to post the update. Updates can be edited and deleted. If the original alert is archived, any attached updates are archived as well. An alert can be updated multiple times.

In the "Active Alert" screen, updates display below the original alert, with the most recent at the top. How updates display on the live website is specific to your installation of Emergency Alerts.

Archived AlertsLink to this section

To archive an alert, view it in the "Active Alerts" screen and select "ARCHIVE" from the original alert. Updates cannot be archived independently of the root alert.

The "Archived Alerts" view stores any past alerts that have been archived. Select an alert to view it and any updates it might have. An archived alert can be set as active if there is not a current active alert, or permanently deleted.

A screenshot of previous alerts and warnings, listed in an archive.

Settings and FeedbackLink to this section

The Emergency Alerts settings control who accesses the module and which Facebook and Twitter profiles can have alerts posted to them. It contains the following fields:

  • Group Access: Determines the group of users who can access the module from the Add-Ons menu. The default is (Administrators Only), which includes all level 9 and 10 users. This group must also have access to the ou-alerts folder.
  • Notified Users: Determines the group of users who 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 users.
  • Social Media: Lists all Facebook and Twitter accounts that have been linked with the site. Activating a social media account enables that account as an option to be chosen when creating an alert or update.

You can also use Send Feedback in the side menu to rate this module and let us know how it's working for you.

SetupLink to this section

In addition to the Emergency Alerts interface, an ou-alerts folder is 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.

Depending on when your Emergency alerts was implemented, your setup will also include one of the following:

  • Two pages are added to your website as typical PCF pages 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 are automatically updated with the alerts.
  • An archived-alerts.pcf page is added to your website in the ou-alerts folder. This page contains a script that displays a list of any archived alerts. This page must be initially published after Emergency Alerts is implemented, but henceforth is automatically updated with the alerts.

Configuration File

Depending on your module implementation, you may also have a configuration file with options for customizing and configuring your alerts, located at /ou-alerts/alerts-config.pcf. Edit the page parameters of this file to set the various configuration options for Emergency Alerts. When editing the config file, save and publish it to make changes live.

In addition to sections for configuring active and archived alerts in general, there are specific sections for both options and configurations of active announcements, warnings, and emergencies, and configurations for archived announcements, warnings, and emergencies.

There are multiple options for setting the visual appearance of the alerts, such as background, text, and button colors. To preview what your alerts will look like, view the configuration file in Preview mode and expand the appropriate table row.

A screenshot of the parameters for an Active Announcement Configuration, including theme, position, placement, etc. as well as a preview of the alert.

  • Active Alert Configuration

    This section configures options that apply to the active alert regardless of its severity level.

    • Alert Feed: Set the XML feed that provides the alerts. This is preconfigured to the XML feed from your Emergency Alerts module.
    • Feed Source Location: Choose whether the alerts feed is “Single Site” (coming from the same domain as your OU Campus website) or “External/Multisite” (coming from another domain).
    • Mode: Set the alert mode to either “Development/Single Page,” showing the alert on only one page on your site so you can test its appearance, or “Live,” so the alert shows across your whole site.
    • Mode Confirm: If the alert mode is “Development/Singe Page,” choose the page on which the alert will display. If the mode is “Live,” enter “Live” in the field to confirm.
  • Active Announcement Configuration

    This section modifies the behavior of an active alert at the announcement severity level.

    • Theme: Select the HTML that styles your alert. Choose either “Default,” or “Custom” which pulls from /ou-alerts/themes/active-announcement/.
    • Position: Choose whether your alert shows at the top of the page, at the bottom, or as an overlay in the middle of the screen.
    • Top Placement: If “Position” is set to “Top,” choose whether the alert stays at the top of the window when a user scrolls down (“Fixed”), or if it scrolls up with the page (“Not Fixed”).
    • Overlay Size: If “Position” is set to “Overlay,” choose whether the popup up is small, medium, or large.
    • Show Updates: Alerts can have additional information added as updates. Set whether you want only the original alert to display, or if updates display in the alert banner as well.
    • Cookie Expire Time: The alert has a “Dismiss” button that users can click to remove the alert. “Cookie Expire Time” sets how long the alert will stay away before reappearing. If the alert is modified or updated, it will automatically reappear regardless of the time set.
  • Active Announcement Options

    This section modifies the display of an active alert at the announcement severity level.

    • Show Date: Choose whether the publish date of the alert is displayed on the website or not.
    • Show Icon: Choose whether an icon displays in the alert along with the text.
    • Icon Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the icon color.
    • Icon: Choose an image file to be the icon. If no file is chosen, the default icon is used.
    • Animation Speed: Select how quickly the alert appears on page load.
    • Show Class: If desired, add an animation class to modify how the alert appears on page load.
    • Hide Class: If desired, add an animation class to modify how the alert disappears when dismissed.
    • Background Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the background color of the alert.
    • Font Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the font color of the alert.
    • Read More Text: When creating an alert, you have an option to include a link after the alert body. The default text of this link is “Read More,” but you can configure it otherwise here by entering in the text you want.
    • Read More Text Hover Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the color of the link text on hover.
    • Button Text: Customize the text for the button that a user clicks to dismiss or close the alert.
    • Button Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the color of the dismiss button.
    • Button Hover Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the color of the button on hover.
    • Button Hover Text Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the color of the button text on hover.
  • Active Warning Configuration

    This section modifies the behavior of an active alert at the warning severity level.

    • Theme: Select the HTML that styles your alert. Choose either “Default,” or “Custom” which pulls from /ou-alerts/themes/active-warning/.
    • Position: Choose whether your alert shows at the top of the page, at the bottom, or as an overlay in the middle of the screen.
    • Top Placement: If “Position” is set to “Top,” choose whether the alert stays at the top of the window when a user scrolls down (“Fixed”), or if it scrolls up with the page (“Not Fixed”).
    • Overlay Size: If “Position” is set to “Overlay,” choose whether the popup up is small, medium, or large.
    • Show Updates: Alerts can have additional information added as updates. Set whether you want only the original alert to display, or if updates display in the alert banner as well.
    • Cookie Expire Time: The alert has a “Dismiss” button that users can click to remove the alert. “Cookie Expire Time” sets how long the alert will stay away before reappearing. If the alert is modified or updated, it will automatically reappear regardless of the time set.
  • Active Warning Options

     This section modifies the display of an active alert at the warning severity level.

    • Show Date: Choose whether the publish date of the alert is displayed on the website or not.
    • Show Icon: Choose whether an icon displays in the alert along with the text.
    • Icon Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the icon color.
    • Icon: Choose an image file to be the icon. If no file is chosen, the default icon is used.
    • Animation Speed: Select how quickly the alert appears on page load.
    • Show Class: If desired, add an animation class to modify how the alert appears on page load.
    • Hide Class: If desired, add an animation class to modify how the alert disappears when dismissed.
    • Background Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the background color of the alert.
    • Font Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the font color of the alert.
    • Read More Text: When creating an alert, you have an option to include a link after the alert body. The default text of this link is “Read More,” but you can configure it otherwise here by entering in the text you want.
    • Read More Text Hover Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the color of the link text on hover.
    • Button Text: Customize the text for the button that a user clicks to dismiss or close the alert.
    • Button Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the color of the dismiss button.
    • Button Hover Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the color of the button on hover.
    • Button Hover Text Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the color of the button text on hover.
  • Active Emergency Configuration

    This section modifies the behavior of an active alert at the emergency severity level.

    • Theme: Select the HTML that styles your alert. Choose either “Default,” or “Custom” which pulls from /ou-alerts/themes/active-emergency/.
    • Position: Choose whether your alert shows at the top of the page, at the bottom, or as an overlay in the middle of the screen.
    • Top Placement: If “Position” is set to “Top,” choose whether the alert stays at the top of the window when a user scrolls down (“Fixed”), or if it scrolls up with the page (“Not Fixed”).
    • Overlay Size: If “Position” is set to “Overlay,” choose whether the popup up is small, medium, or large.
    • Show Updates: Alerts can have additional information added as updates. Set whether you want only the original alert to display, or if updates display in the alert banner as well.
    • Cookie Expire Time: The alert has a “Dismiss” button that users can click to remove the alert. “Cookie Expire Time” sets how long the alert will stay away before reappearing. If the alert is modified or updated, it will automatically reappear regardless of the time set.
  • Active Emergency Options

    This section modifies the display of an active alert at the emergency severity level.

    • Show Date: Choose whether the publish date of the alert is displayed on the website or not.
    • Show Icon: Choose whether an icon displays in the alert along with the text.
    • Icon Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the icon color.
    • Icon: Choose an image file to be the icon. If no file is chosen, the default of a bullhorn icon is used.
    • Animation Speed: Select how quickly the alert appears on page load.
    • Show Class: If desired, add an animation class to modify how the alert appears on page load.
    • Hide Class: If desired, add an animation class to modify how the alert disappears when dismissed.
    • Background Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the background color of the alert.
    • Font Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the font color of the alert.
    • Read More Text: When creating an alert, you have an option to include a link after the alert body. The default text of this link is “Read More,” but you can configure it otherwise here by entering in the text you want.
    • Read More Text Hover Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the color of the link text on hover.
    • Button Text: Customize the text for the button that a user clicks to dismiss or close the alert.
    • Button Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the color of the dismiss button.
    • Button Hover Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the color of the button on hover.
    • Button Hover Text Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the color of the button text on hover.
  • Archived Alert Configuration

    This section configures options for all archived alerts, regardless of their severity level. Archived alerts are stored on /ou-alerts/archived-alerts.pcf.

    • Archived Alert Feed: Set the XML feed that provides all archived alerts. This is preconfigured to the XML feed from your Emergency Alerts module.
    • Feed Source Location: Choose whether the alerts feed is “Single Site” (coming from the same domain as your OU Campus website) or “External/Multisite” (coming from another domain).
    • Display Active: Set whether an active alert will display on this page as a part of the list.
    • Active Alert Heading: Set the text that displays above the active alert, if the active alert displays
    • Archive Alert Heading: Set the text that displays above the list of archived alerts.
    • Theme: Select the HTML that styles your alert. Choose either “Default,” or “Custom” which pulls from /ou-alerts/themes/archived-alerts.html.
    • Archive Timeline Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the color of the decorative bar to the left of the alerts.

     

  • Archived Announcement Configuration

    These options modify the appearance of any archived announcements.

    • Border Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the color of the decorative border around the alert.
    • Background Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the background color of the alert.
    • Text Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the text color of the alert.
    • Read More Text: When creating an alert, you have an option to include a link after the alert body. The default text of this link is “Read More,” but you can configure it otherwise here by entering in the text you want.
    • Read More Text Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the text color of the link in the alert.
    • Read More Text Hover Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the color of the link text on hover.
    • Updates Heading: Set the text heading that appears above all updates for an individual alert.
  • Archived Warning Configuration

    These options modify the appearance of any archived warnings.

    • Border Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the color of the decorative border around the alert.
    • Background Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the background color of the alert.
    • Text Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the text color of the alert.
    • Read More Text: When creating an alert, you have an option to include a link after the alert body. The default text of this link is “Read More,” but you can configure it otherwise here by entering in the text you want.
    • Read More Text Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the text color of the link in the alert.
    • Read More Text Hover Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the color of the link text on hover.
    • Updates Heading: Set the text heading that appears above all updates for an individual alert.
  • Archived Emergency Configuration

    These options modify the appearance of any archived emergencies.

    • Border Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the color of the decorative border around the alert.
    • Background Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the background color of the alert.
    • Text Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the text color of the alert.
    • Read More Text: When creating an alert, you have an option to include a link after the alert body. The default text of this link is “Read More,” but you can configure it otherwise here by entering in the text you want.
    • Read More Text Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the text color of the link in the alert.
    • Read More Text Hover Color: Enter either a HEX or RGB code to set the color of the link text on hover.
    • Updates Heading: Set the text heading that appears above all updates for an individual alert.