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  1. Week 2 – TC520 Technical Communication Systems:Understanding and Improving the Role of Information & Communication Systems (ICS) in Disaster Response and Management (DRM) Professor Mark Haselkorn 14E Loew Hall 543-2577 markh@u.washington.edu http://faculty.washington.edu/markh/TC520/tc520.html Office Hours: Mon. & Wed. 10–11 AM and by appointment TC 520 Class Notes—Haselkorn Autumn 2006

  2. Overview for Today • Review syllabus, assignments • Introduction to General Systems Theory • GST reading and discussion • Presentation and discussion of ideas from Davenport reading TC 520 Class Notes—Haselkorn Autumn 2005

  3. For Wednesday • For 1/11 • Visitor—Eric Berg, LINGOs • Formation of teams • Read • “Ambiguity and Change: Humanitarian NGOs Prepare for the Future.” • “Humanitarian Logistics: Enabling Disaster Response.” TC 520 Class Notes—Haselkorn Autumn 2006

  4. Reminder of major class project • Complete a research project that contributes to ongoing efforts on emergency capacity building in the humanitarian relief sector • Form teams by January 11th • Pick projects by January 25th • Develop projects by February 8th • Conduct projects by February 22nd • Present outcomes by March 8th • Employ five teams of three members each (?) • Use a different team leader for phases 2 – 4 (leader for phase 5 picked by the group) TC 520 Class Notes—Haselkorn Autumn 2006

  5. What is the overall class plan? • Week 1 – Introduction; begin to develop a theoretical perspective on systems • Week 2 – Systems and complexity; ICS; TC systems; ECB systems; introduction to HR sector [form teams] • Week 3 – ICS issues in ECB; ECB in the HR sector • Week 4 – HR sector needs; lessons from previous efforts; research to address HR ECB needs [pick topics] • Week 5 – Explore research topics • Week 6 – Develop research activities [present work plan] • Week 7 – Explore intellectual merit and impact issues • Week 8 – Explore tentative results and communication issues [complete research activities] • Week 9 – Proposal presentations and feedback • Week 10 – Proposal presentations and feedback/Wrap Up • March 13 – Final Project Reports Due TC 520 Class Notes—Haselkorn Autumn 2006

  6. Upcoming Assignments • For 1/16 • Martin Luther King Day—No class • For 1/18 • Read: • “Challenges to the Effective use of Information and Communication Systems in Humanitarian Relief Efforts” • “An Ill Wind? The Role of Accessible ICT following Hurricane Katrina.” • “An Evaluation of Humanitarian Information Centers.” • Review proposals from last quarter’s class • Team presentations--@ 7 minutes plus 2 minutes Q&A: Three ECB problems involving ICS and initial thinking on how research could help address them. • For 1/23 • Read • “Lessons from the Tsunami: Top Line Findings” • “Joint After-Action Review of our Humanitarian Response to the Tsunami Crisis.” • “HURRICANE KATRINA: Providing Oversight of the Nation’s Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Activities.” • For 1/25 • Read • “The State and Civil Society in Disaster Response: An Analysis of the Tamil Nadu Tsunami Experience.” • Team presentations--@ 5 minutes plus 2 minutes Q&A: Proposed group research topic. TC 520 Class Notes—Haselkorn Autumn 2006

  7. System Questions What is a system? What are open and closed systems? What determines the complexity of a system? What is general systems theory? How can we use GST to think about ICS for ECB? TC 520 Class Notes—Haselkorn Autumn 2006

  8. What is a system? • Easy answer • Hard answer TC 520 Class Notes—Haselkorn Autumn 2006

  9. What is a system? • Easy answer – the story behind how something happens (e.g. why the house gets warmer when you turn on the thermostat) • Hard answer – What isn’t a system? Where does one end and another begin? (e.g. ask people to use less power in order to spend less, but rates go up) TC 520 Class Notes—Haselkorn Autumn 2005

  10. What are open and closed systems? • Closed – if you understand the parts you understand the system; probably not a critical human element • Open – the system is greater than the sum of the parts; critical human elements; interaction with the environment; difficult to draw a line where the system ends and other systems or environments begin • System of systems TC 520 Class Notes—Haselkorn Autumn 2006

  11. What is general systems theory? • General Systems Theory, Ludwig von Bertalanffy, 1969 (compiles work published as far back as 1939) • In-class reading and discussion TC 520 Class Notes—Haselkorn Autumn 2006

  12. What determines the complexity of a system? • Number of elements • Interrelationship of elements • Interrelationship of system with other systems • Interrelationship of system with environment • Completeness of system knowledge • Completeness of environmental knowledge • Multiplicity and impact of perspectives • Extent of human element • Reality as perception • Unpredictability TC 520 Class Notes—Haselkorn Autumn 2006

  13. What does GST tell us about analyzing ICS in ECB? • Focus on interrelationships among elements • Focus on interrelationships with environment and other systems • Focus on the human and organizational elements • Focus on interacting, multiple perspectives TC 520 Class Notes—Haselkorn Autumn 2005

  14. Next… • Move from GST to ICS TC 520 Class Notes—Haselkorn Autumn 2006