Course Packet: Open in case of Pandemic Flu Emergency

This is the course packet that derived from my previous analysis on Pandemic Flu and the Web 2.0 University.

Dear Student,

You are reading this because the university has declared an flu emergency and dispersed students and faculty for 8-12 weeks. During this time, your learning can continue, and perhaps be heightened and focused by this event.

First, take care of yourself and those important to you and heed health precautions.

Second, keep a journal. Record your situation, and your reflections on the local, regional, national, and international situation. Continue your class readings, and examine the events you are seeing through the lens of your courses. As you are able, look for other readings related to your class and these events. Don’t forget your camera, it might be a powerful aid to your journaling.

While your course is not meeting, and the original syllabus has been suspended for this emergency, your class will be active and involved with a “Teach-in” on Pandemic Flu. During this emergency period, we are expecting you to look at your personal situation through the lens of your courses. You should consider the title of your course to be changed for the duration of the emergency to “Pandemic Flu and ___” (insert original course title in blank), e.g., Pandemic Flu and History of Photography. The university knows you can learn substantially from this event and our responsibility is to help you demonstrate that learning.

Third, keep in touch. This web page (insert URL) will give current emergency status, and our portal will provide you course specific links. However, you cannot count on WSU resources, because we know its possible that WSU will be offline during parts of this emergency, or that you will be offline, or your instructor or classmates will be. Please be resourceful and take the steps below to enhance the chance that as many of us as possible can stay in touch with each other.

To aid you finding one another, and maintaining contact, WSU will maintain a group in Facebook, and another in Google Groups. Our goal will be to post the same information into each of these systems, with the hope they will remain up. Search for “WAZZU” and lurk or join the groups as you find appropriate.

Also search for your class, or create a group for your class, in these systems. Group names should be of the form “WAZZU-course prefix-course number” E.g., WAZZU-ECON-101 (no spaces, use dashes). Try to post the same information in each system for redundancy. You can also use these same identifiers to tag materials in other systems (more on tags below). Post your journal online as you are able (suggestions for ways to post below) and link your journal to these groups.

Fourth, help one another learn. When you return, your instructors will ask you to create a portfolio, using your journal entries, to demonstrate your learning. They will be assessing that portfolio with this rubric (insert link). Use the rubric to judge your journal, ask family or others near you to use it to help you sharpen your thinking. When you meet fellow students online, use the rubric to help give them feedback and support. We have research evidence that students’ judgments agree well with faculty scoring using this tool, so peer feedback using the rubric will be helpful to your learning. Keep the feedback, you might want to reflect on it also.

Wishing you the best until we meet again on campus.

Detailed instructions and ideas on Tags, Posting journals online, etc, follow here. This section will include pointers to tools like:, technorati, Google Alerts, RSS aggregators, podcasts, UTube, Flickr, Blogger, Facebook and Google Groups.

Note: I recognize that for some courses, this specific teach-in model won’t work, but I think that resourceful people using Web 2.0 approaches can still advance the learning in those courses. Consider a music performance class, students might record their playing, might journal about it, might share clips online. Using Skype small ensembles might play together, etc.

4 Responses to “Course Packet: Open in case of Pandemic Flu Emergency”

  1. Mark D. Drapeau, Ph.D. Says:

    While the medical response to pandemic flu will be important to controlling its spread and limiting its toll, there are considerable non-medical issues related to flu preparedness that are essential for ensuring the continued well-being of the nation’s economy. Planning for Continuity of Operations (COOP) and Continuity of Government (COG) is critical to maintaining the overall viability of society. Thus, while we rightly prepare for the flu, we must be equally prepared to function during the flu.

    The Center for Technology and National Security Policy of the DOD’s National Defense University has prepared a number of freely-available items which can help civilians be prepared both before and during the flu. “Bird Flu and You” is a poster available in 9 languages with basic information about influenza preparedness. “Weathering the Storm” is a report with information about planning for COOP, including instructions for carrying out “tabletop excercises” with a COOP plan.

    Electronic copies of the poster are available at Electronic copies of the report are available at, and to request hard copies of the
    report, contact the Life Sciences group at

    Robert E. Armstrong, Ph.D.
    Mark D. Drapeau, Ph.D.

    Center for Technology and National Security Policy
    National Defense University
    Washington, DC

    This is the view of the authors and does not represent the official view of National Defense University, the U.S. Dept. of Defense, or the U.S government.

  2. One small step for man » Blog Archive » Open Source Assessment Says:

    […] This ties into two threads of conversation I’m having with Theron. The first is how the university could use Web 2.0 ideas to respond to a Governor’s order to close during a flu pandemic, I wrote an emergency packet for this event. (Theron noted that the skills in my packet the skills we’d want students to have when they leave the university, so we jokingly re-purposed the packet “Open in case of graduation…”) […]

  3. One small step for man » Blog Archive » SLOOH: A possible way to teach Astronomy Says:

    […] of the problems that I ran into in my recommendations for a web 2.0 solution to continuing the university during a flu pandemic was courses that require special tools. I tried to think about music performance class, but […]

  4. Pandemic flu, school closing and community learning « Community-based learning Says:

    […] more like my course packet for a pandemic is needed. And a strategy that uses multiple and dispersed online resources is needed to avoid […]

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