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Use of WebEOC® to Create an Authentic Learning Environment Dr. Tom Johnson Western Carolina University Emergency and Disaster Management Program.

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Presentation on theme: "Use of WebEOC® to Create an Authentic Learning Environment Dr. Tom Johnson Western Carolina University Emergency and Disaster Management Program."— Presentation transcript:

1 Use of WebEOC® to Create an Authentic Learning Environment Dr. Tom Johnson Western Carolina University Emergency and Disaster Management Program

2 Background NCEM Spring Conference – Professor Merritt works with WebEOC staff May Dr. Johnson and Dr. Berry receive training from WebEOC® Summer 2011 through Spring 2012 o Exercises using WebEOC® offered in 11 classes  7 online classes (159 students)  4 residential classes (76 students)  92 students participated in study (39%)

3 Classes EDM250 (Intro to EDM) EDM324 (Emergency Planning) EDM332 (Disaster Response Operations and Management) EDM360 (Asset Protection and Critical Infrastructure) EDM435 (Homeland Security) EDM457 (Terrorism) EDM493 (Incident Command Systems)

4 Objectives Make the learning “real” Expose students to technology that is used in the profession Require students to make decisions under pressure

5 Authentic Learning Environment Authentic contexts Authentic activities Expert performances and process modeling Multiple roles and perspectives Collaborative construction of knowledge Reflection of material to enable abstractions Articulation of tacit knowledge Coaching by professor Authentic, integrated assessment of learning

6 Authentic Contexts 15.4% 1.1%

7 Authentic Contexts I felt like the utilization of WebEOC provided an element of stress that is likely to occur in a real world event. It was both exciting and educational to have unknown issues develop and have to respond to them with team members that I did not know well. It demonstrated how different organizations can work together if we are operating from similar frameworks. Overall, I feel the WebEOC exercise was as realistic as any good training exercise can be. I have seen ICS in table top exercises in the past where issues were merely discussed. This exercise actually puts you in the event and seemed more informative and realistic.

8 Authentic Activities

9 Having the different boards and the class being separated and then the manager of that board reporting to IC showed us the basic structure of command. Consistent interaction with the IC created a sense of immediacy of both instruction and response. This allows a true appreciation of the responsibility of the IC to manage all divisions yet keep a focus on the objective. Interacting with my classmates during the exercise made me think about issues that can arise when dealing with disasters and opening shelters that I had not considered before. (I)t placed me in a position where it was necessary to communicate with team members and outside entities and assign a leader to relay information to Ops as we would in a real event.

10 Expert Performances 5.5%

11 Expert Performances I found myself thinking through problems that other shelters had in addition to the issues our group was tasked to resolve. We then found ourselves planning to deal with those problems if they were to arise at our shelter. All seemed to be realistic, likely issues that could arise. Decisions were made from not only what we have learned by reading but also from life experiences to help in making precise management decisions under pressure while remaining flexible under the guidance of the ICS infrastructure.

12 Multiple Roles 2.2% 1.1%

13 Multiple Roles The roles provided allowed each group to designate roles within, as we would in a real world event. Assigned roles had a strong element of realism. I think all the roles were realistic for this drill. There were several organizations from all levels of government that were included, which forced a collaborative effort of information sharing and resources to accomplish the objective. Based upon the incident we had, I think the roles we had were great

14 Collaborative Knowledge Construction 1.1%

15 Collaborative Knowledge Construction It help me feel that I have learned something throughout this class because what you may have forgotten, your classmate might have caught during the exercise. This exercise provided an opportunity to see those interpretations at work and view the course material from someone else’s perspective.

16 Reflection on Material 1.1%

17 Reflection on Material There are many concepts that books just can’t represent fully. This includes the incident command system. While books do an adequate job of providing the background and terminology, until you are a part of it, you can’ fully understand it. I had a general grasp on the concepts of the ICS, however, the exercise assembled them for me in a clear sight-picture. The one part I believe that was brought into perspective for me was the interaction between local, state and federal agencies as one entity or as ICS would refer to it as a unified command system. This introduction to how ICS works was easier than trying to visualize the concept from a book page.

18 Knowledge Articulation 24.4% 1.1%

19 Knowledge Articulation By learning the key terminology, I could articulate and apply the components, functions, and concepts of Emergency Incident Management Systems directly as a response to the WebEOC exercise. This real world exercise allowed me to begin to practice what I have learned. The exercise took the words from a book and made them come to life in a way that I may not have been exposed to had I not been a part of the exercise. The exercise provided a greater understanding of what I have studied and will allow me the ability to articulate not only what I have read but how it is applied in the field.

20 Coaching 4.4%

21 Coaching The tutorial provided several days prior to the exercise was essential to my understanding of how the exercise would play out. Without the tutorial I would have been lost. It still took a little time for me to warm up to the process but I think this is a positive aspect because it represents the stress which would be felt in a real world emergency event. It's one thing to read a manual describing, for example, how to input a new message into a software system, and it's another thing to hear an explanation while actually seeing a video of it occurring.

22 Learning Assessment 14.1% 1.1%

23 Learning Assessment In this exercise I found myself responsible for the safety of nearly 1500 visitors to the park which included 1200 children. Having that in the back of my mind, as well as working to integrate not only into ICS but also integrating into an ICS structure that contained several different agencies and levels of government, proved to be a challenge. However, I believe that overall, I completed the tasks necessary to ensure the safety of the visitors as well as protecting the assets of the park. Being able to watch the interaction between the roles, as well as the good debriefing from all participants, assisted with my knowledge and training on both the WebEOC program and the overall ICS.

24 Findings Better comprehension of the course material Another dimension of interactivity between online students Fuller appreciation of the dynamics of an emergency situation Greater self-confidence

25 Recommendations Continue to use software programs such as WebEOC® and ArcGIS® Design exercises that match course objectives Partner with EM professionals to address diversity in student experience Explore program development for others

26 Use of WebEOC® to Create an Authentic Learning Environment Dr. Tom Johnson Western Carolina University Emergency and Disaster Management Program This presentation available at:


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