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CCNMTL Awarded Grant to Develop Training Simulation For Public Health

By Lauren Marshall

Humanitarian workers will benefit from training simulation.

The Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL) has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop simulations that will train workers in humanitarian emergencies, in collaboration with Oxford University. The pilot program, which is currently under development, will be used at Columbia in a course taught by Ronald Waldman, professor of clinical public health and director of the Columbia Center on Forced Migration and Health.

While there are a number of recommendations, guidelines and standards for providing humanitarian assistance, field workers who must rapidly make life and death decisions can often be overwhelmed in emergency aid situations. This project is a response to the growing need for effective humanitarian aid around the world.

"The Forced Migration Simulation is one of CCNMTL's flagship projects and likely to result in techniques, both technical and pedagogical, that will influence many other Columbia projects," said Frank Moretti, executive director, CCNMTL.

Initial research conducted in the course of the project will assist in the evaluation of different simulation models and similar technical solutions that can help people solve real world problems in the field. The results from the pilot will be shared with the international academic and public health community to help inform the development of future instructional simulations.

It is expected that later iterations of the forced migration online project will address increasingly complex issues facing humanitarian workers as the research and development team evaluates the pilot project's use and discovers appropriate courses that might be enriched by simulations.

The full-scale release is intended for use by public health professionals, international relations professionals and NGO volunteers who will use the simulation in the field to better prepare for international relief management issues, such as shelter, healthcare, sanitation and food and water distribution.

The research, development and evaluation of the simulation will be conducted by Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning, in conjunction with Columbia's Program on Forced Migration and Public Health, the Refugee Studies Centre and Oxford's Technology Assisted Lifelong Learning Group (TALL).

The Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning, established in 1999, partners with the faculty at Columbia to advance the purposeful use of new media and digital technologies in Columbia's educational programs. It is a free service of Columbia and is part of a University-wide initiative to integrate digital media into teaching and learning at the University.

Published: Apr 15, 2002
Last modified:Sep 18, 2002

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