To teach these courses UC utilizes a diverse team of professors who are experts on different subject matters. These experts, like the courses they teach, include firemen, policemen, private security consultants, federal agents, and administrators from assistance agencies at all levels from the community to the federal government.
It was said by many who attended that each professor brought enough knowledge to the table to teach their own course. The team teaching combines their extensive knowledge and expertise in the field, giving the program a wholly original take on learning. With the knowledge of his teaching teams, Bennett guarantees students will learn the best practices and procedures to deal with emergencies of limited or large scale. Building on UC’s strengths in the fields of medical, legal, engineering and law enforcement, students take courses spanning the many aspects of an emergency and its aftermath. The certificate is designed to complement any bachelor’s degree that first responders already hold.
Attendees Karen Philibin, EMS Chief of Springfield Township, and Janice Gartland, EMS Responder from Youngstown, were happily surprised by the depth and worth of the new certificate. “Northern Ohio does not have opportunities like this. This new certificate program is a phenomenal tool for our Fire and EMS responders to further their careers through education. Especially for our younger responders, this is a wonderful way for them to branch out from their bachelor’s degrees to secure themselves in their careers. By making it an online program, not only can northern Ohio citizens benefit, but also Kentucky and Indiana residents as well,” Gartland and Philibin agree.
Those who attended were also pleased with how the courses are being offered—online. With the intense and hectic schedules of emergency responders, meeting in a classroom setting proved to be a challenge. For students who travel or are on active military duty, the use of Blackboard allows them to successfully complete the course on their own time. Previously using Blackboard to teach a course, Bennett recounted a student who had been on a tour of duty in Iraq that had no problem with completing his work online. The online courses also expand the opportunity to residents across the US and potentially, the world.
Not only are the courses flexible, but through the use of an online discussion board, students are encouraged to interact and give each other substantial feedback. Students are given assignments online and then submit and discuss them on the discussion board. Acting as an open forum, the discussion board allows for extensive interaction among students. Bennett found that during such discussions, one student may find another who has had first-hand experience dealing with their assignment matter. This allows students to gain even more knowledge—from each other.
Certificate creators William M. Kramer, PhD and former director of the UC Fire Science Program, and Lawrence Bennett, JD, BA, CEAS assistant professor educator, held a no charge seminar previewing the new program. It was open to emergency response personnel in the Greater Cincinnati Area but attendees came all the way from Northern Ohio and Tennessee. Special appearances were made by the Cincinnati Fire Department Bomb Squad, Greater Cincinnati Airport Disaster Unit, Hamilton County SWAT Command Vehicle and a Hazmat/WMD Suits/PPE supplies. Those who attended received 6 hours of Continuing Education credit and a Certificate of Seminar Completion.