Creating a Natural Disaster Blog/VoiceThread to Understand Resilience

Anne Larson Hall, Department of Environmental Sciences, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
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In these two assignments, student groups create blogs on selected natural disaster events such as the 1964 Alaska Earthquake and the 2014 Oso, Washington Landslide. Groups of four students create content in the following categories: description of event, cause of disaster, response & recovery, prediction & prevention. Each student writes a 500-word blog following the guidelines provided (Assignment A). After the blogs have been posted, each student completes a set of questions on natural hazards and resilience and posts two blog comments on disasters and resilience (Assignment B).

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Learning Goals

  • In this activity, students are reinforcing concepts and content on geologic processes related to natural hazards, as well as reporting on response & recovery and prediction & prevention for specific communities impacted by a natural disaster.
  • Students will compare disaster events to existing models and use that criteria to evaluate the event.
  • Students will develop the ability to communicate effectively in an engaging way using a blog or VoiceThread format.
  • Students will discuss the resilience of specific communities after a natural disaster. Risk will be assessed in the blog or VoiceThread description of the event.

Context for Use

A 200-level Environmental Geology lecture class of 28 students in a private university Environmental Sciences department awarding BA, BS and MS degrees. Three weeks is allotted for the development of the blog or VoiceThread assignment with one week for the resilience essay. This assignment occurs near the end of the course, after lecture content on geologic hazards has been covered in class and tested on exams. This activity could easily be adapted by changing the requirements and expectations.

Description and Teaching Materials

Activity Description (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 119kB May14 14)

Teaching Notes and Tips

Will update after assignment completed.


Blog Criteria (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 103kB May14 14)

References and Resources

Crowley, K, and Elliott, J.R. 2012. Earthquake disasters and resilience in the global North: lessons from New Zealand and Japan. The Geographical Journal, Vol. 178 No.3, pp. 208-215.

FEMA National Disaster Recovery Framework
See Figure 1: Disaster Recovery Continuum Description of Activities by Phase

CDC Disaster Recovery & Mental Health

What is a VoiceThread?

VoiceThread Tutorial