EDMG321 Social Media Application to Emergency and Disaster Management (3 semester hours)

This course explores social media and other forms of communication; their value and limitations in today’s environment; and cross-functional employment in support of emergency management, homeland security, and public health emergency operations. In addition, this course evaluates the contributions of the internet and social media within a larger media/public relations context, as a stand-alone mass notification/information-sharing platform, and as part of a communications strategy for disaster response. Through a simulation, the student experiences a vital role within emergency and disaster management, that of a public affairs officer. Within the course, the student explores the utility and challenges of using social media as an emergency management communication tool to support homeland security and public health emergency operations. Using private locked-down Facebook and Twitter groups, students develop social media posts specific to their assigned roles and what they need to convey to the town as the public affairs officers during a severe storm scenario and a terrorist attack threat scenario. In addition to these roles, one student is assigned the role of the antagonist, and another is assigned the disruptor role with the goal of spreading rumors, myths, and misinformation. The purpose is to emulate some of the key challenges that emergency management public affairs officers encounter on a regular basis. The intent is for all students to learn the use of social media and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Social Media Toolkit as a way to improve their communications during an emergency.