NBC Learn Higher Ed Subscriber Spotlight: Bringing Homeland Security Issues to Life

Posted on 04/03/2016 05:04 PM

Like many Americans, Mike Waguespack vividly remembers where he was on September 11, 2001.  As a senior FBI agent working in Washington, DC, on that day, Waguespack was on the front lines of what would soon become the War on Terror, as the United States responded to the terrorist attacks at the Pentagon, the World Trade Center in New York City, and in the skies above western Pennsylvania.

After a 30 year career, Waguespack retired from the FBI in 2002 and served the next 9-1/2 years as a senior advisor and consultant with the Department of Defense and the FBI.  In 2014, he became a member of the Adjunct Faculty in the Criminal Justice Department at Tarleton State University, located in Stephenville, Texas, and part of the Texas A&M University System.  As he began teaching undergraduates an Introduction to Homeland Security course, he realized most of his students didn’t have the same recollection of 9/11 and other national tragedies because they were too young to form memories about the events.

“The Homeland Security course focuses on two central events in this country: the September 11th attacks and Hurricane Katrina. So I was looking for ways to bring those two events to life and make it meaningful for my students.”

That’s where NBC Learn comes in.

Waguespack opens his course with a live broadcast of the September 11th, 2001 events, an emotionally powerful 12 minute video that compiles NBC News reports as the nation learned and reacted to what was unfolding.

 “It is amazing to see the reactions of my students seeing this event for the first time, what it was really like that day. It is a great way to put things in perspective to show this is how things changed in this country.” 

 Breaking News on September 11th 

Breaking News on September 11th

After giving his students a sense of the terror and chaos of that day, Waguespack’s course turns toward a historical narrative of homeland security, one that begins years before the 9/11 attacks with such seminal events as the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 and the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.  Once again, NBC Learn helps Waguespack transport his students back to the time of these events, packing an emotional punch that his PowerPoints and textbooks simply cannot do alone.

One of Waguespack’s modules—Homeland Security, Privacy and Constitutional Rights—uses eight different NBC Learn videos to explore the Patriot Act, its history as well as its implications today. “It helps to bring to life the words of the textbook, my words as the instructor, and students can see the actual dynamic of the debate through these various video clips.”

 Oklahoma City Bombing: Live Break-in 

Oklahoma City Bombing: Live Break-in

And with new homeland security issues becoming relevant each day, NBC Learn Current Event videos (updated daily, Monday through Friday) have allowed Waguespack to add a whole new dimension to his course. “Homeland security is so dynamic, it is always changing… I can’t stress enough the importance of being able to bring to life all these events and issues that we cover in our class.” 

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