I should have finished designing the new version of my disasters class. I’ve been thinking about it forever. But then I was trying to get a paper written, and then I went to a conference, and then there were senior thesis presentations and end-of-semester grading and a six-year-old’s birthday, and, well…
Yes, I am frantically trying to get a syllabus ready for class on Monday.
I’ve got three more days (though they include a discussion with my soon-to-graduate thesis student, graduation, and a birthday party, so it can’t be non-stop syllabus work). That means that, although I should be panicking, I’m still thinking about “what cool stuff can we do” rather than “what will I put in this slot in my schedule.” And at the moment, I’m thinking of ways that I can make good use of my computer classroom.
For instance, I’m thinking of introducing volcanoes entirely backwards.
I’m going to start with a little lecture burst on basic volcanic hazards (like lava, ash, pyroclastic flows, and volcanic mudflows… that is, unless the volcano fans convince me that I’ve left out something crucial), and then give each person in the class a volcano to look up (on Google Earth and/or the Global Volcanism Program site), and then use the examples of volcanoes to talk about their characteristics and behavior in more detail.
If I’m going to do that, I need a list of about 24 volcanoes that would make good examples for class discussions. I’d like a mix of tectonic settings, lava compositions, current activity, eruptive styles, parts of the world, etc. I could just steal the last 24 volcanoes discussed on Eruptions, but with three days left before my class starts, I figured I could tap the geoblogosphere for suggestions that might not have been obvious to me.
Here’s a list that I came up with on a brainstorm:
Santiaguito (for Tuff Cookie!)
And, well, I could poach from the Global Volcanism Program and geobloggers all night, but I’m wondering if there are some great examples that I’m going to forget in my hurry. What’s your favorite volcano?
I’m also looking for examples of devastating tropical cyclones (hurricanes, typhoons), especially those that have affected countries other than the US. So far, I’m planning to have a long discussion about Hurricane Katrina, and I’m thinking of sending the class off to look for information about last year’s Cyclone Nargis and 1998’s Hurricane Mitch. I’m missing the Pacific, though, and I would like to have examples from the Philippines or Taiwan or Japan to compare and contrast with the other examples.
I probably won’t start working on the landslides/debris flows part of my syllabus until tomorrow, but I’ll probably want to do some kind of landslide scavenger hunt, too. So if you’ve got a favorite landslide example (especially one that looks interesting on Google Earth), I’d love to hear.
(For anyone who teaches, I would be happy to share any of the details of the exercises I’m doing with you. I’ve also got a ton of old exercises that I’m abandoning because I like to make more work for myself, but which weren’t really that bad and which I’m willing to share, too.)