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Disaster Preparedness Open Online Course, Since 2013

Michael Beach, Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education at the University of Pittsburgh

In 2013, Michael Beach and the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education developed a Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) on the Coursera platform, titled "Disaster Preparedness." The purpose of the course was to reach people worldwide and provide them with information and practical ways to prepare themselves for a disaster.


The course is designed to cover all of the basic needs of individuals and families without outside aid for a period of three to seven days, focusing on food, clean drinkable water, shelter, communication, security, and awareness. Information is presented in a series of video lectures, discussions, and demonstrations. PowerPoint presentations accompany the lectures to show examples and emphasize key points.


The course is now running continuously on Coursera. A new group or cohort of learners begins every two weeks. “Disaster Preparedness” brings together diverse ideas, providing a greater understanding of what it means to be prepared.

Dr. Michael Beach, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, is Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. He was awarded his Doctorate of Nursing Practice in 2009, with an emphasis on disaster education and response. He responded with the American Red Cross to Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina; with a Disaster Medical Assistance Team to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake; and to New Jersey and Florida after Hurricanes Sandy and Matthew.

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