Basics of Oil Spill Response Course Module

Course Module Report

The purpose of this report is to cap off EDUC 4151 and analyze our students, our course’s projected needs and other factors. The first portion of this paper will examine an overview of the proposed course, which is entitled: ‘Basics of Oil Spill Response’ (or BOSR) along with learning objectives and why a wiki was chosen as the vehicle for course delivery. The final segments of the paper will examine how students will learn and be assessed, as well as a rationale for the course.

OVERVIEW                                   

BOSR is an in-house, ongoing training program used to familiarize CCG employees with the supporting legislation, policy, theory, equipment and tactics used to deal with environmental issues related to pollution. This proposed segment of the course will be used both for new entry level employees and for those who have not participated in ER training in the past one to two years.

There are 3 proposed components:

  • one segment dealing with legislation, regulations, and basic equipment delivered online;
  • the second addressing further theoretical considerations, potentially delivered online (not detailed in this report) ;
  • the final section which involves in-the-field training only.

The proposed wiki based course 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, potentially saving money and better utilizing practical course work offerings which are problematic with regards to scheduling. Informal surveys of management, officers and crew have indicated a definite interest for the presentation of this course in an online format as there is a perceived need and the course is hard to schedule due to differing work regimes between ships, stations, and shore based personnel. Additionally, there is an economy to be realized from not having emergency response personnel travelling the length and breadth of the Western Region delivering entry level training which could be better delivered online at the student’s time and place of choosing.

Learning Objectives :

At the end of this training module students 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 CCG   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,  it’s use and capabilities;
  • Contribute to a knowledge-based wiki through posting of assignments and participation in message forums.

Why a Wiki?

This online environment was chosen as the platform for this course for the reasons as listed below:

  • It provides a secure online learning resource which is for CCG employees only;
  • It requires no special programming or coding knowledge;
  • It is a collaborative environment which is particularly suited to the online course format as chosen;
  • It is geared for students to be able to access the course at any time they choose when  on a government network;
  • This type of learning is supported and encouraged by departmental and government learning policies.

Course Content

Students will cover the course content by following a set of lessons and exercises which encourage and support knowledge of the hierarchy of acts, rules, and regulations as well as penalties which underpin and enable pollution prevention.  Students will learn the pollution response network: who to contact and when, as well as the basic equipment (and it’s capabilities)  used in the context of environmental response.

The first assignment involves the comparison and contrasting of the various pieces of legislation and internal regulations which enable environmental protection and response. Several diagrams, reading assignments and lists aid in this task as well as web links are provided for the Justice Laws website for legislative references. Penalties, also a part of the legislative framework are included in this portion of the lesson. Internal network links for the International Safety Management  Code, the CCG Fleet Safety and Security Manual and other relevant CCG policy instruments are provided for further background knowledge.

The second activity is a fill-in-the-blanks-list detailing the pollution response network which is saved for future reference. There is also a crossword puzzle exercise as another the knowledge check activity .

The third assignment, the construction of a thinking tool which illustrates the Pollution Response Network is achieved as students are given reading assignments and tasked to construct a thinking tool: a diagram, list or cycle drawing which they will submit to the wiki.

The fourth and final assignment will consist of the creation of a text document, a video essay (where the capability exists), or a photo essay which details what pollution response gear is available at a particular station or ship where the member serves or has served. There will be readings and pictorial resources to draw upon which show the standard gear which can be expected to be found on a ship or at a station, as well as the capabilities and operating characteristics of the various pieces of equipment.

Assessment Instruments

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. Each question is worth ½ a mark with the passing grade being 70%.  Answer keys will be available from the vessel’s chief officer or OIC of the station, or online. This portion of the course is worth 10% of the total marks.

2)    – The construction of a thinking tool drawn either from the online course site or another source of the student’s choosing, which illustrates understanding of the pollution response network. 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. This diagram will be posted to the wiki. This portion of the course will be worth 5 % of the total marks.

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 found aboard the student’s ship, the station or shore based installation. Students  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, a submission of a photo or video essay showing how in situ equipment found at the station or ship or at other locations has been used. Students will be encouraged to record their impressions and post them along with their assignment 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 shore side. This portion of the course is worth 20% of the total marks. A grading rubric will be developed to rate the submissions.

Rationale

This online course is planned for the reasons which follow:

  • Online training follows federal government policy statements regarding the provision of all types of appropriate 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;
  • This type of training saves money and time as it enables pollution control officers to evaluate pre-formatively, formatively and summatively and therefore allow them to better plan hands-on training for personnel at shore side and shipboard locations;
  • Online training 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;
  • This type of training also encourages collaborative work with the associated positive educational benefits.

Conclusion

Research has shown that online training may reduce costs, allows students to learn at their own pace, at the time of their choosing, with  better outcomes. This type of training is supported by the federal government through policy and directives. BOSR is an example of a program which has segments which may be more appropriately delivered online, potentially saving money, freeing up personnel to commit to other segments of related course materials and giving valuable data on which to establish other online offerings.

As wikis have  proven to be excellent tools for collaborative online work it was chosen as the vehicle for this offering. Given the sense of inherent community in the structure of the CCG it is felt that this is the perfect instrument to encourage collaboration and learning amongst CCG personnel.

There are potential problems (diverse ages and educational qualifications, and bandwidth for instance) but it is felt that these are not insurmountable. Some training in the use of the wiki based environment may be required although my feeling is that most people are tech savvy enough to pick their way through the wiki site with ease.

Students will have several different types of assignments, all chosen to challenge and encourage the learning process, especially at higher levels. Testing methods were chosen for the same reason: assessments will involve gauging the quality of submissions to demonstrate levels of understanding and retention.

Nothing is perfect in first run courses and I expect this one to be no different than any others. Mistakes will be made, that is the nature of design and presentation of first time online content. It is my hope that the insights I have gained from 4150 and 4151 will enable me to make as few mistakes as are humanly possible, and learn from the ones which do occur.

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