Understanding the many facets of how societies deal with hazards and disasters is a daunting task. It is far larger than we can hope to cover in one unit of this course. The purpose of this unit will be to look outside the science at some of the societal dimensions about hazards.
Dates: April 6 — April 17
Estimated Time to Complete: 9 to 10 hours total
- Instruction/ Independent research – 3 to 4 hours
- Assignments – 5 to 7 hours to work within your discussion group and summarize the discussion group findings.
- Successfully conduct research to find appropriate material
- Participate in group discussion to enhance community learning
- Translate what you learned into a short blog-based presentation
- Exchange knowledge via discussion groups and presentations, sharing resources, teaching, and learning from fellow students.
- Work with visual and graphic ways of sharing knowledge and teaching others
Instructions: Pay attention to the dates – this assignment will be sequential with mini-due dates
- Step 1 – I will be assigning each student to a discussion topic group by April 5th, and will email your topic to you – you don’t have to do any arranging of your own group with this option. Alternatively, if you want to arrange your own group, please let me know b y Friday April 3rd, giving me the names of all students in your group and the topic you chose.
- Step 2 – Do research to find one article focused on the topic – if you need ideas or help, ask your discussion group or me for assistance.
- Step 3 – Write a blog post: Complete this post by Friday April 13 at 1159 PM
- Summarize the main point of your article
- Describe 3 key points you concluded from the article that are relevant to the topic
- Why did you select this article – and how does it contribute to the group?
- Step 4 – Complete comment by April 16 at 1159 PM Read others posts and comment on at least one you find relevant or interesting or has a link to your own research.
- Step 5 – Complete this step by April 17 at 1159PM Craft a brief, 2 slide or 2 figure presentation that summarizes what you and your group learned from your topic research.
- Make one slide/figure that shows a key figure, graph, or sketch from your article that shows a good example of the main point or points you learned.
- Make a second slide/figure that summarizes what you learned from your group discussion. Identify a few key points or a conclusion that you feel summarizes what your group learned (you can use figures posted by others if it helps).
- For each slide, include an explanation of what you are showing and how it illustrates what you and your group learned.
- You can either record your voice over the slides (Powerpoint or VoiceThread) -or- you can include a text explanation.
- Ways you can make your slides or figures:
- The easiest thing to do would be to make your figure however you like, upload to your blog post, and include the explanation text in the blog post.
- PowerPoint is a widely used tool for making slides for presentations. You can embed figures and text on the slides and some versions even let you record audio to go along with the slides.
- If you are up for the challenge, you can get creative and use one of the tools described on the Tools/Resources page. One that I have been trying out lately is creating comics using Pixton!
Topics (or choose your own with your group*):
1) Developing effective methods and strategies for public education about hazards: Do these efforts really make a difference? Find a public education example, describe briefly: the hazard, the method of education (e.g., poster, video, training), and outcomes (one thing that made a positive difference, and one that showed holes or weaknesses). Advocate one way to revise this method to produce a more positive outcome. A couple of examples below:
- Earthquake preparedness – IRIS program
- Smokey the Bear campaign to prevent wildfires
- Did you ever notice in YouTube videos shot during recent earthquakes that people never follow instructions to duck and cover, but always go running for the door? How well do earthquake preparedness efforts actually work?
2) Economic inequity and how communities fare during disasters. The ability of a community to successfully mitigate and recover from a disaster often depends on how many resources the community has to begin with. Compare and contrast the scope of each disaster, relative economic disparities, and outcomes (how much less cost and loss of life affected the “rich” vs “poor” countries?). Discuss at least one way you think we could better safeguard communities that are disadvantaged economically. Examples for comparison – the Tohoku Japan 2011 earthquake compared with Haiti 2010 -or- Hurricane Sandy(2012) versus Typhoon Haiyan, Philippines 2013. An example from Haiti below:
- Developing local science talent in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake
3) Creating sustainable, disaster resilient communities.
Communities that are sustainable and resilient require less intensive mitigation and disaster relief efforts. This saves lives, property, and allows the community to move forward more easily after a disaster. A couple of links to get you started with your research are below:
- PreventionWeb Article on Resilience
- International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
4) Social media and disasters – How has social media use increased community preparedness and resilience to disasters? How has it contributed to the spread of misinformation or fostered disorganization or panic? Find and discuss at least two ways social media have been used positively before, during, and/or after a disaster. Research and discuss two ways it has had a negative impact. Start with two articles below
- Scientific American article on social media
- Wall Street Journal Article on Social Media Use during Hurricane Harvey (2017)
*Subject to instructor approval!