City University of Hong Kong

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City University of Hong Kong

Information on a Course

offered by Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

GE1318 Are We Safe?: Risks in Our Everyday Life

Part I

Course Duration: 1 semester

Primary Area: Science and Technology Credit Units: 3

Level: B1 Medium of Instruction: English . Prerequisites: NIL

Precursors: NIL Equivalent Courses: NIL Exclusive Courses: NIL

Part II

Course Aims

This course aims to direct students to explore risk situations in everyday life to discover what leads to

decisions on whether to act or not. Students will learn to increase their awareness of what is harmful as related to environment, health and technology in general, and whether there are consequential

economical, social and ethical issues. Cases in some specific areas of current interest, such as power, pollution, social aspects, internet and food, are used as examples to illustrate the concepts. The diverse topics will be integrated into an interdisciplinary learning. Risks and hazards may change from year to year, yet the underlying driving forces remain the same and vary only in degrees of severity. The students will therefore discover that these driving forces and the underlying principles, learned in multiple

disciplines in the university, are relevant, applicable and connected at home, at work and at play in their future.

Course Intended Learning Outcomes (CILOs)

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

No. CILOs Weighting (if

applicable) 1. investigate hazard and risk perception based on

technical, psychological and cultural context.

1 (10%) 2. discover the underlying driving forces through

investigation of incidents and accidents.

1 (10%) 3. apply preventive measures to reduce or eliminate the

adverse health and safety effects.

2 (20%)

4. Provide solutions to mitigate accidents. 3 (30%)

5. Analyze consequences of mitigation in terms of economic, social and ethical issues.

3 (30%)

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Teaching and Learning Activities (TLAs)

(Indicative of likely activities and tasks designed to facilitate students’ achievement of the CILOs. Final details will be provided to students in their first week of attendance in this course.)

TLA CILO No. Total Hours

• Lecture: Basic safety principles and risk assessment are introduced and discussed. Psychological and cultural factors affecting risk perception are discussed. The psychometric paradigm is introduced to investigate risk perception.

• Tutorial: Students are divided into groups (4 to 5 students per group) and they can apply the knowledge presented in the lectures or doing some surveys to solve scenario type events under guidance of tutors and teaching staff. At these sessions students are also encouraged to discuss any questions which arise from the lectures and to read academic articles looking for factors affecting risk assessment.

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• Lecture: The lectures detail the underlying driving forces (nature or manmade) to take in the event of an incident, accident or when a hazard has been identified. The risk assessment is based on the past experience, length of reoccurrence interval, probability, etc.

• Guest seminar: experts in some specific fields in the society will conduct a relevant seminar to enrich students’ learning experience. • Tutorial: Students are divided into groups (4 to 5 students per group) and they can apply the knowledge presented in the lectures to solve scenario type events under guidance of tutors and teaching staff. At these sessions students are also encouraged to discuss any questions which arise from the lectures and to compare their own finding and perception of risk to reality.

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• Lecture: Preventive measures for each topic of the potential hazards are introduced and discussed. Risk regulatory policy providing better protection from hazards and more efficient services from government is introduced for each specific topic.

• Guest seminar: experts in some specific fields in the society will conduct a relevant seminar to enrich students’ learning experience. • Tutorial: Students are divided into groups (4 to 5 students per group) and they can apply the knowledge presented in the lectures to solve scenario type events under guidance of tutors and teaching staff. At these sessions students are also encouraged to discuss any questions which arise from the lectures and to compare their own finding and perception of risk to reality.

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• Lecture: Three principles of mitigation, namely prevention, protection and containment are introduced and discussion for the proposed hazards.

• Guest seminar: experts in some specific fields in the society will conduct a relevant seminar to enrich students’ learning experience. • Tutorial: Students are divided into groups (4 to 5 students per group) and they can apply the knowledge presented in the lectures to provide the solutions to mitigate accidents for a case study under guidance of tutors and teaching staff. At these sessions students are also

encouraged to discuss any questions which arise from the lectures and to compare their own finding and perception of risk to reality.

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• Lecture: Consequence analysis

techniques are introduced to identify the likely impact on mitigation measures in terms of economic, social and ethical issues and discussion of their implications will be taken place for each proposed hazards.

• Guest seminar: experts in some specific fields in the society will conduct a relevant seminar to enrich students’ learning experience. • Tutorial: Students are divided into groups (4 to 5 students per group) and they can apply the knowledge presented in the lectures to provide the solutions to mitigate accidents for a case study under guidance of tutors and teaching staff. At these sessions students are also

encouraged to discuss any questions which arise from the lectures and to compare

socio-economic factors and perception of risk.

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Assessment Tasks/Activities

(Indicative of likely activities and tasks designed to assess how well the students achieve the CILOs. Final details will be provided to students in their first week of attendance in this course.)

Type of Assessment Tasks/Activities CILO No. Weighting (if

applicable)

Remarks

Self-study report 1 – 5 30 % NIL

Discovery-based term project 1, 4 – 5 20 % NIL

Individual oral presentation 1, 4 – 5 20 % NIL

Short quiz 2 – 3 30 % NIL

Self-study report - The principles of discovery of unsafe situations, underlying forces of interactions creating the hazards and identification of the consequences and exposure of the risks will be reported (of about 10 pages with figures and references) by individual students from their own learning experiences in the course. Students are required to demonstrate the ability of conducting an investigation for potential hazards in their own interested topic related to

environment aspect and provide suitable solutions to mitigate the incidents or their related hazards. Class participation and debates will be assessed for each student. The raised questions

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and solutions shall be addressed in the report.

Discovery-based term project – During the small group meetings in tutorials, students will be divided into a few groups (tentatively 4-5 students per group) to quantify the risks on specific tasks (related to health and technology, etc.) and their impact on economic, social and ethical issues. The final report (can be in the format of print, any media or web) will document the findings of the specific topic through class discussions (including identification of the hazards and risk assessment, suggestion of prevention, protection and containment and discussion of economic, social and ethical issues). Class participation and debates will be assessed during the tutorials. The raised questions and solutions shall be addressed in the report.

Individual oral presentation – After submission of the term project report, each student will orally present his/her findings to other classmates at the end of the semester. Students are required to make use of the Gateway Education (GE) Discovery Laboratory to prepare for the presentation. Peer evaluation will be conducted during the oral presentation.

Short quizzes – Short question /multiple choice on environment, health and technology topics. Grading of Student Achievement:

Letter Grade Grade Point Grade Definitions A+ 4.3 Excellent

Strong evidence of original thinking; good organization, capacity to analyse and synthesize; superior grasp of subject matter; evidence of extensive knowledge base; excellent writing of report in terms of organization, use of English and graphical illustration; strong evidence of critical thinking and participation in class discussion

A 4.0

A- 3.7 B+ 3.3

Good

Evidence of grasp of subject, some evidence of critical capacity and analytic ability; reasonable understanding of issues; evidence of familiarity with literature; satisfactory on report organization; good use of English and good graphical illustration; good participation in class discussion.

B 3.0

B- 2.7 C+ 2.3

Adequate

Student has some understanding of the subject; ability to develop solutions to simple problems in the material; fair organization in written report; fair use of English and fair graphical illustration; fair participation in and contribution to class discussion.

C 2.0

C- 1.7

D 1.0 Marginal Sufficient familiarity with the subject matter to enable the student to progress without repeating the course.

F 0.0 Failure

Little evidence of familiarity with the subject matter; weakness in critical and analytic skills; limited, or irrelevant use of literature.

P Pass

"Pass" in a fail course. Courses to be graded on a pass-fail basis for a programme are specifically identified under the programme in the course catalogue.

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Keyword Syllabus:

1. Risk perception: voluntariness, controllability, familiarity and habituation, and social and culture setting; the psychometric paradigm.

2. Four elements constituting risk: hazard, consequence, exposure and probability.

3. Risk and policy: Regulatory process to protect citizens from social and environmental risks. 4. Principles of mitigation: prevention, protection and containment; post incident or accident. 5. Consequence analysis techniques for mitigation measures: economic, social and ethical issues. 6. Wind effect: offshore and onshore wind; built environment, i.e. residential, commercial, industrial

and infrastructure.

7. Fire disasters: natural and human-generated firestorms; hill fire.

8. Water pollution: surface water; oxygen depletion; microbiological; chemical. 9. Nuclear power: radiation; reactor accidents; radioactive waste.

10. Electrical and electromagnetic hazards: electrical shocks; electrocution; fire; explosion. 11. Foodborne illness: foodborne pathogenic microorganisms; chemical toxins; natural toxins. 12. Air pollution: natural environment; built environment; pollutants; greenhouse gaseous. 13. Sports injury: symptoms; diagnosis; rehabilitation;.

14. Privacy risks: financial privacy; political privacy; identity theft; globe positioning systems. 15. Networking risks: social networking; internet; network security.

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