Copyright 1999 by Walter G. Green III. All rights reserved.
For each session I will post a reading assignment and one or more questions for discussion. Typically, I will give you a choice of several questions to respond to - please read the instructions above the questions carefully, as they will differ from session to session. Compose your response as E-mail in from 150 to 250 words (if possible avoid using attachments as some systems will not allow attachments to come through system firewalls). Post your message to the listserve. Make certain that your E-mail identifies clearly which session and which question you are responding to. Your comments should show original thought on your part about the reading assignments and the question. After you post your answers, read at least two other student's E-mail. Reply to their E-mail with a listerve posting commenting on their thoughts. Each week I will choose E-mail postings from one third of the class for grading (I will usually pick the most interesting and strongest of your three submissions). E-mail postings will be graded for ideas, not spelling and good sentence structure. However, I should not be required to have to try to figure out your meaning through a haze of bad writing - do try to keep your postings in something that resembles normal practices in the English language.
You will complete a SWOT analysis of an emergency services agency or organization with which you are familiar. Detailed information on the SWOT analysis will be posted two sessions before it is due.
Students will participate in two Saturday workday sessions, one near that start of the course and one near the end. Specific assignments for each session will be provided in advance. However, one of the objectives of the workdays is to allow you to discuss what you are learning in the context of problems. In upper division undergraduate courses, students are expected to be able to clearly express their thoughts on a subject and to contribute to each other's learning through in-class discussion. Therefore, students in this course are expected to critically listen to and debate opinions of the instructor and other class members.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency Independent Study Course comes with an open book examination. Complete this examination and forward a copy of your answers to the instructor for grading (don't post it on the listserve, or you will have given everyone else the answers). My experience has been that most students do not take this assignment seriously and assume that they know the answers to the questions. As a result, average scores are typically in the mid to low 80s. The key to using this test to help maximize your course grade is to read the book, answer the questions you know, go back and check those answers, and then go find the answers for the questions you didn't know.
The major written assignment for the course may be submitted in several forms. One option is a case study of a specific management issue in your emergency service. The case study method is a disciplined way of looking at what has happened, determining why it happened, and proposing solutions. This paper will be typed, doubled spaced, with reference citations and a bibliography. The strong case study concentrates on the issue and the things that contribute to that issue in considerable detail, while excluding material that is not important to the case. You will receive further information as the course progresses. Strong cases studies may be considered for publication by the Electonic Journal of Emergency Management or the Scholars in Residence program of the Virginia Office of Emergency Medical Services (for emergency management and emergency medical services papers).
A second option is the detailed application of one of the management tools discussed in the course (other than the SWOT) to a specific emergency services agency situation. This project must be prepared to the same standard as described for the case study above and demonstrate mastery of knowledge of the management tool and the ability to apply it to the selected situation.
A third option is the development and documentation of an individualized service learning project. If you are interested in this option, contact the instructor for specific guidelines.
Work on the Independent Study Course examination must be your own work. If you wish to work collaboratively on the SWOT analysis and the major project, contact the instructor for guidelines for doing so. All of the activity in the Saturday sessions will be built around group participation.
Students are expected to submit assigned work on time. Failure to do so delays grading and the quick return of work needed for your learning. If you use Wordperfect 5.0 or later or Microsoft Word as your word processor, materials may be sent electronically to the professor at firstname.lastname@example.org (that is the numeral "zero" not the letter "O"). Alternately, materials may be left in his box at the School of Continuing Studies, mailed to him at P. O. Box 799, Glen Allen, Virginia 23060, or faxed to (804) 264-5256. Work delayed by the declaration of a State of Emergency will be accepted without penalty. Other delays must be coordinated with the professor in advance. Unapproved delays will be subject to a 5 percent grade penalty on the assignment. Regardless of reasons, final assignments must arrive no later than the last day of class for the course in the semester, or your grade will be submitted as an Incomplete.
Students are also expected to submit on-line assignments and participate in on-line discussion during the week of the assignment. Although everyone has circumstances in their life which may preclude posting on time during one week, persistent late posting penalizes the entire class by reduced participation in the dialog necessary in the on-line classroom. Students that accumulate more than three weeks of late postings will be penalized 0.5 on the final grade point average earned in the course (out of 4.0).
Students must attend both of the scheduled weekend workdays. For individual students with scheduling problems that can be identified in advance, I am willing to arrange alternative work to cover the material on a case by case basis. Failure to attend or to arrange an alternative will result in a grade of V (failure due to excessive absence). A sign-up sheet will be circulated for each workday; it is your responsibility to sign the sheet. Failure to sign will be recorded as an absence. Students who cannot attend due to an unforeseen declared Local Emergency, gubernatorially declared State of Emergency, or Presidentially declared Disaster will not be penalized provided that mutually agreeable make-up learning activity can be scheduled.
If you don't understand something, ask. If you have a problem and need help, ask. If you are having trouble getting something done, call or E-mail me directly (again for this type of issue don't use the listserve). My job is to make it as easy as possible for you to meet our University's high standards, and to help you maximize your learning. Don't be shy about asking for help when you need it (but remember that when you need it is before the last day of the course when you are behind on everything). If you don't ask, you are not getting the best value for your money.