New Active Learning Classroom Put to the Test

Fourteen NMU faculty members gathered in the newly equipped active learning classroom (108 Learning Resources Center) to participate in an immersive active learning exercise. Titled "Operation Montserrat,” it was based on a real natural disaster that occurred on Sept. 4, 1996, when the tiny Carribean island by that name became "the most dangerous place on earth." The workshop was facilitated onsite by Nancy Sturm of the Sextant Group and remotely by staff at the Challenger Learning Center in Wheeling, W.V.

The participants were divided into three teams: volcanologists monitoring the eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano; meteorologists tracking an incoming hurricane (group pictured above); and evacuation specialists charged with developing and implementing a plan to get island residents to safety. Teams were given basic tools and some framework, but no detailed instructions. They were expected to collaboratively figure out how to complete their assigned tasks. They shared data and consulted with remote experts and "mission control" via Skype. The simulation had a happy ending:  the evacuation was successful, with no casualties. Faculty members were: Bob Hanson (Criminal Justice), Chris Kirk (HPER), Mike Martin (Engineering Technology), Neil Russell and Will Tireman (Physics), Shelley Russell (CAPS), Qinghong Zhang (Mathematics and Computer Science) and Kurt Galbreath, Jennifer Jezylo, Jill Leonard, Alec Lindsay and Kate Teeter (Biology).





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Updated: December 1, 2011

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