Tips for Initiating Text Messaging in SS&E

Overview

Upon the configuration of text messaging within the Messaging Administrative area of Student Success & Engagement, there are a few additional tips that will help ensure successful SMS Messaging communication with students.

System Text Only Number Assignment

The phone numbers used for sending text messages from within SS&E are assigned to staff/faculty members upon sending their first text message within SS&E.

  • Once assigned, the system assigned text messaging phone number can then be seen under the staff members profile photo with a System phone type.

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Note: It is important to understand that a system assigned phone number will not be assigned until a staff/faculty member sends their first text message from within SS&E. 

  • While implementing SMS Messaging, we recommend choosing a test student to send the first text message to. This will allow you to test the SMS messaging and view the assigned Text Only phone number appear on your profile in SS&E.
  • With this in mind,  it is important to then take this assigned Text Only number and use that to communicate out to your students and add this to your email signature.  Please keep in mind this is a Text Only number and should be labeled as such.   

Email the System Assigned Text Only Number

We suggest for staff/faculty users to first message students via email through the SS&E Messaging system in order to inform students that you are now available to communicate via text messaging.  

  • Provide the Text Only number assigned to you in the message and ask students to save this to their Contacts.   
  • Sending an email message indicating that you are able to communicate via text messaging will inform students to anticipate a text message being sent from your system assigned phone number.
  • Based on our experience, this is very helpful since sending an email message with the texting phone number will help prevent students from inadvertently opting-out of receiving text messages from the new number. Once the new number is saved to their phone contacts and a text message is received from the phone number, the student will recognize the sender and be less likely to opt out from receiving text messages from this number.
  • In the same email message, we also recommend asking the student to update their contact information saved at the institution (within the SIS) to make sure their most recent phone number that allows text messaging is correct so that it imports from the SIS into SS&E.
      • Some schools use a Google form and include the link to this form in the email message.
      • Other schools may have a form that students can access from the school's website or student portal. Links to the website/portal can be added to the SS&E email message so that students can verify their text messaging phone number data.

Default SMS Phone Type

It is important to note that SS&E supports a default Phone Type that each individual institution has chosen. 

For example, if the SS&E Default Text Messaging Phone Type is "Cell", then SS&E will automatically send text messages to phone numbers associated with the "Cell" Phone Type when sending a Text Message from within SS&E.

  • For this reason, it is important that the SIS system is updated with not only the appropriate student phone numbers for each student, but also that the appropriate phone types are associated with each student phone number in the SIS.  

Initial Text Message

Upon the initial text message sent from SS&E, students will immediately first receive a "default" message where they can choose to Opt-Out of receiving text messages (before the actual text message is sent). Messages sent by text will be delivered via email if the student chooses to opt out of text messaging.

See an example of this message below:

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Character Limit

It's important to remember that text messages have a character limit in SS&E

  • Please make sure to pay attention to the Character Counter below the Text Message area when sending a text message.
  • In addition, please note that the SS&E dropdown fields cannot be included in the character counter so be cautious if using the dynamic "variable" fields.   

Note: If the text message cannot be sent to a particular student, SS&E will automatically convert the text message into an email message and send the message to the recipient's institutional email.
For example, a text message will automatically convert to an email message if any of the following items apply: 

  1. The student has opted out of receiving text messages.
  2. The student does not have any phone number associated with the default SMS phone type.
  3. The student's phone number is no longer active.
  4. The text message exceeds the text messaging character limit.

SMS Configuration

Within SS&E Administration, users with the Administrator role will be able to view the SMS Configuration information from the Messaging Administration menu. 

Here, administrators can:

  • View and manage (eg. view and edit) the SMS configuration details, such as the default SMS phone type
  • Manage (eg. view/delete) the Text Only SMS messaging numbers assigned by the system when a staff/faculty user sends their very first text message
  • View the number of SMS phone numbers associated with staff/faculty users out of the available phone number limit
  • View the number of text messages sent per month out of the available message limit

 

 

 

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