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The 2010 Haiti Earthquake: Real-Time Disaster Inquiry in the Classroom

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Liberal Education Revisited: Five Historical Perspectives

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1425.1 - 22.1425.14



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Paper Authors


Keith E. Hedges Drury University

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Keith Hedges is an Assistant Professor at Drury University. His research interests involve the disciplinary knowledge gap between architecture and engineering students in higher education. Keith’s teaching repertoire includes seventeen total courses of engineering topics at NAAB (architecture) and architecture topics at ABET (engineering) accredited institutions. He has presented educational themed papers in seven countries.

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The 2010 Haiti earthquake: Real-time disaster inquiry in the classroomAbstractCivil engineering education commonly has classroom instructional strategies that includesynchronous engagements between the instructor and the learner, but seldom has synchronousexperiences between the learner and real-time external phenomena. As a consequence, therelevant conclusions from academia and practice are available in the public domain. Whenengineering programs lack courses engaging real-time phenomena, they may inhibit studentsfrom thinking critically and formulating their own opinions and conclusions drawn from liveevents. A need exists for exploring synchronous, or real-time, student engagement between asignificant event, such as a disaster phenomenon, and the academic experience.This paper explores a natural disaster as a real-time course inquiry and its semester longimmersion into the structures classroom at a private liberal arts university. The disaster was the2010 Haiti earthquake. A qualitative research design was deployed with a teacher’s story andparticipant observation study to document forty-four third-year architecture students studying adisaster event unfolding concurrently within the course timeframe. The rationale is to provide aholistic interpretation of the course through the collective perspectives of the teacher and thestudents. The findings indicate that students envision earthquake events as either a structuralphenomenon with cultural implications or a cultural phenomenon with structural implications.The educational lessons learned from implementing a real-time disaster inquiry in the classroomare provided. These are in the form of reflections in the areas of course instruction, content, andstudent outcomes.

Hedges, K. E. (2011, June), The 2010 Haiti Earthquake: Real-Time Disaster Inquiry in the Classroom Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18818

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