Assessment Activity Plan for ‘Basics of Oil Spill Response’ course

Hello everyone,

I fought with myself about this post for quite some time as I wanted to get it right. The past few weeks have been extremely busy and I have been seriously questioning whether or not the choice of taking this course was a good one.  What follows is a sketch of the first re-working of an old CCG course offering which once held in the field at lifeboat stations and on-board ships. What was  regarded as a kind of ‘kaffeeklatsch’ course has now taken on a new life and so the course work needs to be upgraded and made more professional in scope and practice. I would appreciate your input.

Assessment Activity Plan

Course Name: Basics of Oil Spill Response


BOSR is an in-house, ongoing training program used to familiarize CCG employees with the policy, theory, equipment and tactics used to deal with environmental issues related to pollution. This course is used both for new entry level employees and for those who have not participated in ER training in the past one to two years. The proposed wiki based course plan here is perceived as filling a need, giving learners on ships and at remote stations an alternative to traditional course offerings for some of the material.

Learning Objective – Lesson:

At the end of this training module the student will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast the Pollution Prevention Regulations, Arctic Pollution Prevention Regulations and the use of the  ISM  code as it applies to the  CCG and it’s  employees;
  • Exhibit knowledge of the penalties associated with polluting the environment;
  • Apply knowledge of the Pollution Response Network through the creation of a thinking tool,
  • Create a text document, video or pictorial essay indicating knowledge of basic pollution response gear;
  • Contribute to a knowledge-base wiki through posting of assignments and participation in message forums.

The target group of students will:

  • be drawn from CCG employees based at lifeboat stations, light-stations, shore-side installations and on board CCG ships;
  • range in age from 18 – 65;
  • be both male and female;
  • be officers and ratings;
  • be drawn from both Deck and Engineering specializations as well as shore based technical personnel;
  • be both entry level and long term employees;
  • use the course as both initial on-the-job training and ongoing recertification;
  • have a diverse set of computer skills and should be able to understand and interact with online course content;

Course Assessment Instruments (a section from the course)

The purpose of this portion of the course is to enable you to understand the basics of environmental spill response, the attendant enabling legislation, rules, regulations, and penalties associated with polluting.  As well, you will learn who to notify and when, if you are on the scene of a pollution incident which has occurred in the marine environment while working with the CCG. You may choose to work on the material alone with a lesser passing grade requirement (70%) or work in groups which has a higher passing grade (80%) but will also ensure a better understanding of the material being presented.

You will be working with a ‘wiki’ to enter your assignments into a collaborative database which other people in the fleet and stations will contribute to as well. Your personal information or identity will not be shared however, unless you choose to do so. You will also enter your training information into an ‘ePortfolio’ which is an electronic record of your training and certifications.

The wiki is yours so please contribute to it as much and as often as you want.  Ask questions of the instructor(s), of other students and post opinions, photos or video files. This is your site and we want you to find it as user friendly as possible. This freedom doesn’t come without caveats however: remember that you are a public servant and bound by strict end user agreements which limit what and where you can share the material you contribute. We ask that you remain respectful of others at all times and behave in the manner which is clearly set out in the Values and Ethics guidelines. There will be zero tolerance policy for any untoward behaviour. If you feel that you have been treated inappropriately contact your instructor immediately.

There will be three distinct types of assessment for this first section all of which will be based in a collaborative wiki. Testing will consist of:

1)    – A quiz comprised of 20 questions: 6  multiple choice, 10 fill in the blank questions and 4 long answer questions covering basic enabling legislation and regulations, and the penalties associated with marine pollution. Answer keys will be available from your vessel’s chief officer or OIC of the station, or online. This portion of the course is worth 5% of the total mark, and will allow you to enter ‘complete ‘ in your OJT manual section entitled “Section A, Basics of Oil Spill Response: Legislation, rules, regulations, penalties and notification procedures associated with polluting”  and in your training ePortfolio.  Don’t forget to fill in  the feedback form that is part of the wiki: this helps us as course facilitators determine what we are doing right and wrong as well as providing us with guidance as to where we can improve the site and course work;

2)    – The construction of a thinking tool drawn either from your online course site or another source if you wish,  which outlines your understanding of the pollution response network and who to contact in the event of encountering marine pollution. This tool may be a Venn diagram, a flow chart or a straight forward list and will detail the hierarchy of notification in pollution response. Post this diagram to the wiki for others to see and use as well. This portion of the course will be worth 5 % of your final mark and will allow you to enter ‘complete’ in your OJT manual section entitled: “Section A,  Basics of Oils Spill Response: The Pollution Response Network”, and in your training ePortfolio.

3)    – The identification and classification of various types of pollution response gear from photographs or video footage in place on the wiki and/or from equipment you find around your ship, the station or shore based installation at which you work. You will then document the function of the equipment in relation to types and volume of spill using a Word document submission or video file. Alternately, you  can submit a photo or video essay showing how you would use equipment found at your station or ship or at other locations where you have been stationed. You will use as examples materials which you have onboard your vessel or at the station where you work or based from experience. Record your thoughts and post them along with your submission which will become part of the ‘lessons learned’ page of the wiki which will also be used as a training resource by other participants at ships or on stations and shoreside. This portion of the course is worth 20% of your final marks. On completion you will be able to mark as ‘finished’, “Section A, Basics of Oils Spill Response” in both your ePortfolio and your OJT Manual. Next, you will move on to the following section of the course, which is the hands-on training using the actual equipment you have at your ship or station.


This online course is planned for the reasons which follow:

  • online training follows federal government policy statements regarding the provision of training to employees;
  • there is a perceived need on the part of CCG management for online course work to allow people to be more actively involved in their training from the start of their career;
  • online training allows for the development of ePortfolios which invests learners in the training process and eases the burden on a system already weighed down with bureaucracy,  this is a program under development at the time of writing;
  • online training allows personnel in remote locations and on ships to participate in required on-the-job orientation or recertification which might otherwise be problematic to schedule;
  • an informal pre-formative study has shown there has been expressed interest from personnel in the CCG fleet and at stations regarding the provision of this type of online training;
  • it saves money and time as it enables pollution control officers to evaluate pre-formatively, formatively and summatively and therefore how to better plan training for personnel at shore side as well as shipboard locations;
  • it allows personnel to work at their own pace, at the time of their choosing and either separately or in small groups with the associated educational benefits for both employee and employer;

There is a link between the establishment of day-to-day acquired skills such as real world problem solving, the actual ‘doing’ or completion of an educational task and the demonstration of authentic learning where we as instructors observe our students having absorbed or synthesized lesson content which applies to them personally and which they will use meaningfully in their lives.  It must be brought home to the student how the tasks and assignments we give our learners relate to real world situations. Through the use of advanced technologies, both hardware and software, we should design content which challenges our online students, encourages a sense of community; allowing them to participate and learn in new ways which change what were once static models based on the face-to-face setting. (Lombardi, 2007). As the

A primary lesson instructors learn regarding the design of course material is the link between learning and assessment: how we gauge that our students have demonstrated successful learning outcomes through the synthesis or integration of knowledge.  The combination of three distinct factors: objectives of the course, teaching methods and assessment techniques are integral to student success. (Sewell, et al, 2007) The objectives of this section of the course and teaching methods as noted above are integrated to give students a better chance of success. Assessment techniques for this course are weighted to enable instructors to gauge student progress through the pre-set phases of the course. The material is arranged to take the student through a step-by-step set of increments, each building on the knowledge gained from the last.

Pre-formative, informal studies have shown there is a need for this training and that there have been requests from a wide range of CCG personnel for this type of training. Formative assessment will be accomplished through the use of comment pages in the wiki as noted above. Formal summative assessment will occur as each student completes the testing process and has marks assigned. Gauging the overall effectiveness of this program is going to be tough as there are so many variables to consider: students at sea, students ashore, variable work cycles, oversight, and dealing with the ever present threat of cheating.

Given this course is still in the early development stages there is a tremendous amount of material to complete. The manual, which is out of date by 5 years, has to be re-written. Test banks have to be prepared and vetted, senior officers and management consulted on how, where and when they think testing should occur. Of course, the biggest issue is bandwidth and how do we get more of it to the ships and some of the stations. It’s not going to be a picnic that’s for certain. Your thoughts would be appreciated.


Boettcher, Judith V, Evidence of Learning Online: Assessment Beyond The Paper, as retrieved from Campus Technology Digital Magazine, Feb 2011,   ;

Lombardi, Marilyn M, ‘Authentic Learning for the 21st Century: An Overview; EduCause ELI Paper 1, May 2007, ;

Sewell, Jeanne P, Frith, Karen H, Colvin, Martha L;‘Online Assessment Strategies: A Primer’;  MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching; Vol. 6, No. 1, March 2010;


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