Thomas Wilson, Tara Ross and Erik Brogt - Teaching Awards Winner - Learning and Teaching - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

UC Teaching Innovation Award Winners 2016

Dr Thomas Wilson, Department of Geological Sciences

Tara Ross, Journalism

Dr Erik Brogt, Academic Services Group


Nominated by Professor Jarg Pettinga, Geological Sciences

The natural hazard management/journalism press conference exercise is an exceptional example of successful cross-departmental collaboration for the benefit of student learning. This exercise brings together two groups of students – Professional Masters’ students in Disaster Risk and Resilience and Postgraduate Diploma students in Journalism and exposes them to one of two realistic natural hazard scenarios – either a ‘blue sky’ (no prior warning) volcanic eruption of Mount Taranaki or a large far-field tsunami off the East Coast of New Zealand following an earthquake on the Peru/Chile subduction zone.

The exercise is a highly innovative authentic assessment for both groups of students in their respective roles. Each member of the teaching team has made a substantial effort to understand the needs and shortcomings of each group of students to create a real-world scenario that is uniquely preparing UC graduates for their future careers.  Students say that the feedback loop is particularly valuable with science students receiving feedback on their communication in the press conference and journalism students on the accuracy of their science reporting. The scenario itself is very realistic so much so that on the news website a banner had to be posted to note that this is a mock event rather than a real one.     

The scenario has been peer reviewed by GNS Sciences and mimics the New Zealand Civil Defence Emergency Management structure. The exercise has already received international recognition when Tom, Tara and Erik were presented with the 2015 International Association of Emergency Managers Oceania Region Technology and Innovation Award (Division 2).   

Dr Thomas Wilson's staff profile (Department of Geological Sciences)

Dr Thomas Wilson's Research profile (UC SPARK website)

Tara Ross's staff profile (Journalism)

Tara Ross's Research profle (UC SPARK website)

Dr Erik Brogt's staff profile (Academic Services Group)

Dr Erik Brogt's Research profile (UC SPARK website)