San Francisco, United States:
Silicon Valley-based higher ed tech company Raftr announced today that it will offer its messaging and notifications platform free of charge through July 1, 2020 to colleges and universities, many of which are facing disruption and dislocation as a result of COVID-19 concerns. Each institution’s network is entirely private, limited to that community’s constituents.
The app facilitates immediate and direct communication between college administrations and their students in a mobile-first platform, enabling instant direct messaging to students’ mobile devices.
“Our partner institutions are facing a rapidly evolving COVID-19 outbreak, forcing unprecedented disruption on campuses and in remote learning environments,” Raftr Founder & CEO Sue Decker says. “The right thing to do is to offer our support. Raftr enables immediate communication between universities and their students, faculty, staff, and even parents, anywhere in the world. Exceptionally fast to implement, the interactive, flexible and coordinated communication platform can stand-alone or supplement email communication.”
Raftr enables group administrators to send custom push notifications directly to students’ and parents’ mobile devices, highlighting important updates about issues related to COVID-19, including online learning, study abroad cancellations or updates, academic information, and more.
Key features and customization options for different campus constituents include:
- Public and private chat channels for sharing information, and Q&A in real time.
- Optional automatic posting of existing COVID-19 updates from authenticated sources, including CDC, the WHO, and/or existing university sources.
- Curated organization of all past communications for easy discovery and access.
- Ability to host real-time, virtual discussions and “office hours” in private channels for online courses, easily discoverable by students.
- Creation of an online lecture calendar with days / times of courses and ability to link directly to Zoom, Hangouts, or other online learning platforms.
- Direct and group chat options to stay connected to students one-on-one or in class settings.
- Ability to add links to important teaching materials.
- Creation of digital communities that mirror those on campus, including classes, student groups, social groups, and volunteer organizations.
- Ability to create unlimited public or private groups to maintain student organization communication and planning.
- Access to group chats, topic channels, direct messaging, photos & videos, polls and more.
Decker says the free use of the platform will be granted through July 1. To be eligible, administrators are asked to submit a request to enable their community and attend a one-hour online training session for any staff members who will be posting updates in the platform. Those staff members will be given access to Raftr ProTools, including the ability to send custom push notifications with important updates.
Online Request Form
Submit a request
Raftr promotes the power of belonging by building dynamic and safe digital communities through an intuitive student-centric communication platform. Each enabled school’s experience will be accessible only by that institution’s students, faculty, staff and parents, creating a private, curated, and trusted network. Raftr’s solutions cover every stage of undergraduate and alumni life, with packages for News & Events, Residence Life, Club & Groups / Academic Departments, and Orientation. The platform is available via mobile applications and website, and primary features include events, messaging, push notifications, polls and more. Additional information is available at https://pro.raftr.com.