Courses & Units

Natural Hazards and Disasters XBR208


Naturally hazardous events do not necessarily result in natural disasters, rather, natural disasters are measured by the impacts of the event on people. This unit will introduce the natural earth systems that create natural hazards, including earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunami, cyclones, fire, landslides and floods, and address how geographic, societal, economic and political factors prevented or promoted events becoming natural disasters. This background knowledge is combined with highly topical case studies provided by teaching staff, and those led by students, which will describe historic local, national and global natural disasters. The case studies dissect the decision-making processes of key stakeholders and the public driven by societal, political and economic pressures, and uncover the role of and relationship between traditional journalism and emerging media (e.g., social media, citizen journalism) in the construction and communication of disaster events.

Natural hazards and disasters will be a continual challenge for global society. Reflection on historic events is a powerful means of bringing about positive change. This unit also includes a critical analysis and evaluation of multi-disciplinary, institutional and cultural changes following disaster events and an investigation of successes and failures with policy development, implementation and outcomes associated with natural disaster events.

This unit is of broad interest to those who will have decision-making and crisis and communications responsibilities in both public and private sectors, including emergency managers, government and public decision makers, response personnel (ambulance, police, fire), utility managers, urban planners, and citizens.


Unit name Natural Hazards and Disasters
Unit code XBR208
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School DVC Students & Education
Tasmanian Institute of Learning and Teaching (TILT)
Discipline Journalism, Media and Communications|Earth Sciences|Geography and Environmental Studies|Politics and International Relations

Dr Rebecca Carey

Teaching staff

 Assoc Prof Kate Crowley, Prof James Kirkpatrick and Dr Katrina Clifford

Level Intermediate
Available as student elective? Yes
Breadth Unit? Yes


This unit is currently unavailable.


Units are offered as On-campus where the majority of teaching will occur at the campus identified.  Units offered Off-campus generally have no requirement for attendance at a physical university campus unless the unit has practical or fieldwork components*:  the campus indicated for an Off-Campus unit is the one at which teaching is administered from.

*Please read the Unit Introduction in the Course and Unit Handbook for attendance requirements for units offered in Off-campus mode.

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (see withdrawal dates explained for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2017 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2017 will be available from the 1st October 2016.

About Census Dates



Band Field of Education
2 010799

Fees for next year will be published in October. The fees above only apply for the year shown.

Please note: international students should refer to this page to get an indicative course cost.


Teaching Pattern

Fully on-line unit.


Assessment Task 1: Natural Hazards and Disasters Quiz (20%), Assessment Task 2: Written Assignment (35%) on a national or international fire disaster, Assessment Task 3: Written Assignment (45%) as a comparative analysis of two natural disasters.

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