Edited Version of February 11, 1998 Transcript
EIIP Virtual Classroom Online Presentation

"Online Emergency Management Curriculum"

Dr. George Buck
Institute of Emergency Administration & Fire Science
St. Petersburg Junior College - St. Petersburg, Florida

EIIP Virtual Library Moderator - Amy Sebring

The original transcript of the February 11, 1998 online Virtual Library presentation is available in the EIIP Virtual Forum Archives (http://www.emforum.org). The following version of the transcript was edited for easier reading and comprehension. Typos were corrected, date/time/names attributed by the software to each input were deleted but content of discussion, questions, and responses are as stated by each participant. Answers from the presenter to questions by the audience are grouped beneath the appropriate question to facilitate meaning.

The Presentation:

Amy Sebring: On behalf of the EIIP, I am pleased to welcome you to a special event in our Classroom. This is the second in our series devoted to distance learning via the Internet.

Before I introduce our special guest, I would like to review how to use links to display Web pages in another browser window for the benefit of our newcomers. When a full URL is typed in the message area, it becomes a hot link, so you can just click on it, and a web page will display in another browser window. Your browser may display behind the chat window, so you may have to look for it. Make sure you don't accidentally close the EIIP chat login window, or you will be disconnected from the conversation. If that happens, please log back in using a slight variation on your name. I will put up an opening screen URL so you may take a moment to size and arrange your windows so that you can swap easily between windows.


Amy Sebring: This is a moderated session and our guest will take questions or comments about 20 or 30 minutes into the hour. When you type in your question, it does not appear on everyone else's screen until submitted by the moderator.

One more reminder --- please do not send direct messages to the speaker or the moderator. We are very busy trying to keep things running smoothly. If your question does not get answered during the session, you will have a chance in the Virtual Forum afterward.

And now, it is my pleasure to introduce Dr. George Buck, who will tell us about his experience with the online emergency management curriculum at St. Petersburg Junior College. Dr. Buck, welcome and thank you for being here today.

George Buck: Thank you, Amy. St. Petersburg Junior College has an Associate of Science (AS) Degree program in Emergency Administration and Management (EAM) online. All classes can be taken via the World Wide Web. This session, we have over 35 students with one from Ohio. The program is developing a Bachelor of Science (BS) with the University of South Florida via the Internet. A student may obtain an AS and BS without stepping foot on campus. We also offer in-service training. We have also been awarded a large grant to conduct First Responder training for terrorism response. While reviewing our site you will notice the areas in which we are conducting classes online. Any questions?

Amy Sebring: George, I will put up the URL of your new site; some may be able to get through.


Amy Sebring: For those that cannot get this page to load, I will put up a picture of the home page.


George Buck: Thank you, Amy. Next session we will offer all 13 classes in EAM

We hope to have in place a BS in EAM within the next year or two. However, Arkansas Tech University offers a program online in EAM. Their web site is http://www.atu.edu. This program is a BS, just starting.

Amy Sebring: George, can you tell us about your actual experience with the online courses, pros and cons?

George Buck: Pros are you may attend class at any time at your own pace. Cons are no class interaction; the interaction comes from chat sessions such as this one. I have only had one drop in the past year.

Amy Sebring: Do you incorporate interaction (chats) on a regular basis?

George Buck: Yes, on Monday evenings for an hour. We also use email for all papers and tests. I am able to teach and the students are able to attend while on the road.

Amy Sebring: Are all course materials online or are there supplemental texts, etc.?

George Buck: Most of the materials are online in a PDF format and we do use a book; however, we are getting away from the format. All course information will be online along with overheads for each lesson.

Amy Sebring: Do you think course development can proceed faster with electronic materials?

I meant, just being freed up from printing and distribution of materials.

George Buck: I have been able to develop 13 courses within a year.

Amy Sebring: Let's go ahead and get some questions from our audience now.

Wayne Blanchard: Who are you working with at USF on the BS?

George Buck: The Dean on the USF in St. Pete. We are still in the development phase. USF is looking to start a new division to include terrorism.

David Crews: How do you insure students don't "proxy" the courses through a 3rd Party?

George Buck: Why would some else take a course for some else? I have been asked that many times. Some times we have to trust people.

Andrew Hendrickson: What information is available about tuition, pre-requisites and other logistical information.

George Buck: The information is on our page "About SPJC". If not send me an email and mail the information. We charge about $120 per class, instate for 3 credit hours.

Amy Sebring: And out of state?

George Buck: I think a little over $300.

David Crews: What kind of accreditation do your courses have?

George Buck: Southern Board of College and University. We are fully accredited; we are a State college. This program took two years to become accredited. All classes were reviewed by the State of Florida Department of Education.

Amy Sebring: George, do you give some kind of orientation for students who have never taken an online course?

George Buck: If they are local, here at the college, and over the phone if not local. We also have a mailing packet we send to all students on the computer.

David Crews: Do you plan to provide placement assistance for those who complete an Associates Degree?

George Buck: We assist students in finding jobs by forwarding want adds as I get them. We do get call from local EM agencies looking for graduates.

Amy Sebring: Do you currently include an information tech type class, or plan to in future BS program?

George Buck: We have one for tech in EM under development. The student must have somewhat of an understanding of computers first.

Amy Sebring: Can you elaborate some on what will be included in that course?

George Buck: Not at this time I am not developing that class.

Amy Sebring: Does the instructor for the on-campus class also do the corresponding online classes?

George Buck: The tech application class will include basic instruction on computer use. But it will include use of EM specific software such as EIS, Softrisk, LDRPS from Strohl for business recovery. It will include information on satellite imagery and geographic information systems (GIS) for damage assessments.

Amy Sebring: What is the reaction from the faculty to distance learning?

George Buck: I am the faculty; I love it.

Amy Sebring: I was concerned that some faculty might be threatened by the use of computers that they were being replaced.

George Buck: This is the only way I am able to teach so many classes and students. However, I will bring on more faculty soon, within the next 6 months.

Amy Sebring: So I would surmise that this is rather cost-effective.

George Buck: Very. We are also going to offer in-service training online soon --- hurricane planning, IEMS, so-on.

Amy Sebring: That is a non-degree, continuing education type class?

George Buck: Yes.

Amy Sebring: Do you issue continuing education type credits?

George Buck: Yes.

Amy Sebring: Let's see if there are any last questions from our audience.

David Crews: Will you be able to have faculty that telecommute as well as the students?

George Buck: Yes, location will not matter for the faculty.

Amy Sebring: Thank you very much Dr. Buck. And we are looking forward to having you back later this year in the Virtual Library to discuss your new book on terrorism.

George Buck: Thank you and good bye.

Amy Sebring: We will have the transcript of today's session posted in a few days with the background material, and there is also a link there to the web page we looked at today.

Thank you audience, and since our time is about up, we will close down the Classroom for today, but we will be in the Virtual Forum room for our regular Wednesday Brown Bag session, and you are welcome to join us there for open discussion. Thank you for coming.