Wow… four days and four exercises at Christchurch Canterbury University (CCCU).
On 14th to 17th March the Hydra Foundation and senior staff from School of Law & Criminal Justice and Computing ran an existing exercise twice and launched two exciting new exercises.
Although Foundation staff were on hand to assist and to add a few recommendations here and there to keep the exercises on song, every credit to the facilitators from the university who in a high pressure environment engaged their students in making difficult decisions and producing some exquisite rationale.
Monday 14th March saw the launch of the new Crime Scene Managers exercise, ‘Icarus’. With a dead body, some blood and gore to add the necessary reality, the students were quickly immersed in the exercise which was well received by all concerned.
Tuesday and Wednesday saw two separate deliveries of the existing Terrorism exercise, ‘Veritas’ which was first successfully launched in March 2015. This exercise was again well received by the student delegates and represents the blueprint of meeting the challenges of running HYDRA exercises in a university environment where practical skills and knowledge are not yet at an expert level.
Thursday saw the launch of the Cyber Crime exercise, ‘Cloister’. Only a small number of delegates attended this event and those that did were 2nd year students and not as in the previous exercises 3rd year students. This presented an additional challenge due to the theoretical knowledge base of the delegates being somewhat limited. The day however was adapted by Professor Jonathan Crego who ran the exercise in a plenary environment. The students were still tasked within the exercise and were quickly engaged with the emerging problems and the demand for making difficult decisions. These students will hopefully return to be engaged in one of the other exercises in their third year and their Hydra experience will add great value to any subsequent exercise.
CCCU is engaging with the Hydra experience to its fullest extent, already plans are in hand to develop a fourth exercise this year for the Social Work Skills courses. There are also plans for the university to build a purpose built HYDRA suite within the newly acquired HM Prison development which is adjacent to the main campus buildings.
Hats off to CCCU for building on a really successful first year.