School of Population Health

IT in Emergency Management (YMED5004)


This course provides theory and application of both computer and internet-based programs in emergency management, including the use of various emergency modeling programs. The course will also introduce you to potential applications of information technology to the field of emergency management in general. My intent with this course is to provide a basic understanding and, when possible, hands-on experience with these technologies. The emphasis is on understanding and application, rather than technical ability.

The applications and technologies we will utilize and discuss are pertinent to emergency management, firefighting, law enforcement, emergency medical services, public health, hazardous materials and natural disaster response, and/or homeland security. Some will even be pertinent to your personal life. Topics covered in this course will include use of geographic information systems (GIS), digital hazard modeling, alert and warning systems, communications technologies, web-based situational awareness programs, and social media.

Many of you at some point in your life will be involved in managing or supporting others in some kind of emergency or disaster situation, whether on a professional, family or individual basis. This course will help you to better understand the roles that technology can play in facilitating emergency and disaster preparation, mitigation, response and recovery. By mastering the materials in this course, you will gain valuable skills to assist you in better managing emergencies and disasters.

Course Outcomes

The learning outcomes that students should achieve upon successful completion of this course. 

  1. Explain how information technologies can be applied in all phases of emergency management.
  2. Explain how basic electronic technologies are used for situational awareness
  3. Explain problems or challenges associated with each of these technologies
  4. Learn rudimentary skills in GIS and Hazard Modeling that can help you as an emergency manager
  5. Learn various methods to disseminate and distribute information (including, but not limited to: Social Media and Wikis; locally accessible alerts and warnings; and various Emergency Management Situational Awareness Programs)
Teaching strategies

This course is being taught by Arizona State University (ASU), and will be offered to UNSW students. The course will be offered solely online, and utilise the internationally renowned online educational systems of ASU.


Assessment Task 1 - Weekly Assignments
Weighting: 70%
Length: n/a

Assessment Task 2 - Discussion and Participation in the course
Weighting: 10%
Duration: Entire course

Assessment Task 3 - Final Exam
Weighting: 20%
Duration: Open book with time limit