Decision analysis and risk management 2015

From Opasnet
Jump to: navigation, search

This page is about a course Decision analysis and risk management organised in 2015. For a course organised in 2013 and 2011, see Decision analysis and risk management 2013 and Decision analysis and risk management, respectively. If you cannot find answers on these pages, you can contact the course organiser Jouni Tuomisto (jouni.tuomisto(at)

Decision analysis and risk management (DARM)[1] is a course taught in the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) for Master's (MSc) Degree Programme in General Toxicology and Environmental Health Risk Assessment ToxEn.

Aims of the course

To give a good understanding and practical skills to perform, participate, and moderate decision analyses, open assessments, and open policy practice using Opasnet.

The capability to act as an expert facilitator is the key objective in developing the course content. The purpose is to learn to effectively use facilitation to improve decision support.

In the course:

The student will learn about the fundamentals of decision analysis, the connections between assessments and societal decision making, and the role of decision making in a pragmatic context of improving outcomes. The student will learn to apply the scientific method and falsification in the context of an assessment, and know how to build an open assessment based on the requirements of societal decision making.

The focus is on how to convincingly exclude poor decision options rather than trying to find a theoretically optimal solution (e.g. with highest expected utility).

Course evaluation

On the last day (12th May 2015) the students were asked to evaluate the course using the evaluation criteria of properties of good decision support. In addition, they were asked whether the homework were too heavy for the time available. This is a summary of the written comments. All students present in the last seminar replied anonymously.

  • Quality of content: The course content was good and very interesting. The course was well designed.
  • Relevance and usability: The course was very relevant and several students anticipated that they will use the skills in their future work (although possibly not in Opasnet). It was also very interesting to participate in a real policy support process.
  • Acceptability: The content was well accepted. However, some students found the homeworks too difficult.
  • Availability: All course material was online which was good. However, reading of background material should have been encouraged more, as new things were learned and understood by reading more from Opasnet. There was not enough practical support for exercises: the three practical training sessions were not enough because many homeworks were difficult.
  • Efficiency: The workload was reasonable, but more support would have made it easier. There were problems in the availability of data needed in HW9: too much time had to be spent on searching for material rather than working on the assessment model.
  • Other comments:
    • Homework 2 should be redesigned. (How?)
    • There should be more practical training and support along the whole course.
    • Working in pairs was very good.
    • In addition to the real-world case (homework 9), there should be smaller and simpler practices of the same skills.
    • It was good that the R tasks were dropped because they would have needed more teaching (which was not available).

Course details

  • Name: Decision analysis and risk management          
  • Abbreviation: DARM
  • ECTS-credits: 6
  • Home page of the course:
  • Degree Programme: ToxEn, Environment health risk assessment
  • Teaching Language: English, with Finnish accent
  • Offered for Students in Other Universities (JOO-opintoja): Yes.
  • Organising Departments: Department of environmental science (in collaboration with the National Institute for Health and Welfare, THL)          
  • Course Director: Jukka Juutilainen
  • Teachers: Jouni Tuomisto, Mikko Pohjola, Marjo Niittynen
  • Contact Persons email: jouni.tuomisto(at)     
  • Registration for the Course: WebOodi at UEF. If you don't need course credits, you can contact Jouni Tuomisto directly.

Teaching / Learning Methods

  • Lectures 14 h
  • Checkpoints of exercises 3 h
  • Seminars (practical work done presented by students): 6 h
  • Course evaluation discussion 1 h
  • TOTAL 24 h
  • Distance learning: Own reading and homeworks 138 h

Lectures and videos

See the Content and schedule table for timing, locations, topics and links to materials. One lecture and classroom exercise session is typically 2 * 45 min, held without a break. The lectures and sessions start 15 min past full hour.

You may follow the lectures as live video streams and after the lecture as saved videos from this link: Note that there also other videos not related to this course. You do NOT need a password for Darm videos. The video system requires Microsoft Silverlight or a respective software. It should work without problems in Windows and Mac and with Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Internet Explorer. You can test that you have the required software from here. However, you can NOT see the videos with mobile phones or tablets.

About an hour after a lecture ends, the video will appear on the university website The videos will be moved to some more permanent place before the course ends. More information about the new location will be provided later.

Those who participate in the lectures via online systems can ask questions and give comments using this Google document. Someone keeps an eye on the content of this page during the lecture and raises the points aloud. (We will probably be unable to show the document on a side screen.)

Study materials include e.g. PowerPoint files, scanned articles or book chapters, web-sites and web-documents. Due to copyright reasons, some of the materials may be distributed directly to the participants and not via Opasnet.

Homework exercises

See Decision analysis and risk management 2015/Homework


Acceptable completion of all homeworks 1-10 and seminar presentation in the end of the course. Seminars are mandatory.

Homeworks 1 - 3 are evaluated on a 0-1 scale, where 0 = not completed and 1 = completed.
Homeworks 4 - 10 and seminar presentation are evaluated on a 0-2 scale, where 0 = not completed, 1 = satisfactory, 1.5 = good, 2 = excellent.

Satisfactory completion of all homework exercise gives 10 points and score 1 (on a 1-5 scale). By doing better that satisfactorily in exercises 3-9, it is possible to get a higher score as follows:

Points Score
<11 1
11-12 2
12.5-14 3
14.5-15.5 4
=>16 5

Content and schedule

To prepare for the course: study these terms: Glossary#Terms in open assessment. This is important, because in open policy practice we use a lot of words that in everyday language may be synonyms or may have several different meanings. In this context, they have a specific meaning and they are NOT replaceable with similar terms.

DARM course schedule 2015
Date Time Classroom Lecturer Topic
18.3. L1-2 8-10 E25 (Technopolis) Jouni Introduction, overview, course tasks, terminology (slides with voice, video first 7 min video). Homework 1: read/browse Open policy practice and answer some questions. Homework 2 given (only checked based on the update table). Additional reading: Opasnet training, Different (legal) assessment frameworks
23.3. L3-4 13-15 Sn300 (Snellmania) Jouni Impact assessment and decision making, a risk management overview (slides video). Open policy practice. Why Russian data is reusable but US data is not although both are open. Case vaccination: Pneumococcal vaccine. Homework 1 checked. Homework 3: Make two new question about what is unclear to you about the concepts to your user page. Shared information objects in policy support. See Training assessment; see the assessment page and related pages. Homework 4: Develop a basic assessment structure about an information need.
24.3. L5-6 8-10 Sn300 Mikko, Jouni Management of assessments and decision making: execution, evaluation, facilitation. (slides video). Decision analysis. Basic concepts and information structures in open assessment. Their implementation in Opasnet.
24.3. L7-8 13-15 Ca103 Computer classroom (Canthia) Marjo, Jouni NO VIDEO! Case studies. Case climate change (Urgenche) (slides). Additional reading: Case Puijo forest management (slides). Practical training of Opasnet: looking at the Training assessment.
25.3. L9 8-9 MS307 (MediStudia) Jouni Homework 3 checked. No slides, video Topic: Climate policies. Homework 5 given. Homework 6 given. Additional reading from the 2013 Darm cource: Assessment scoping - aims, decisions, actions, impacts (slides). Assessment scoping & facilitation - participation, roles, perspectives, knowledge, collaboration. (slides).
25.3. L10-12 13-16 MS307 Jouni Structure of pages and objects and R code. No slides, see video and pages Assessment, Variable, Method, Ovariable, Training assessment, ERF of dioxin. Case example of Bayesian modelling: Human PBPK model for dioxin. Homework 7 given. Structured discussion. No slides, see pages Discussion. Homework 8 given. See also the Darm 2013 topics: Environmental impact assessment directive [2], Discussion on safety of Pandemrix
26.3. L13-14 8-10 Sn300 Jouni Homework 9 given about Climate change policies in Helsinki video. Homework 10 given. Challenging open policy practice: any arguments against what was thought. Additional reading: Expert contributions and exposure-response functions, example IEQ factors.
15.4. L15 13-14 Ca103 Computer classroom Jouni NO VIDEO! Checkpoint of work progress. Homework 4 due today! In addition, practical tricks in editing Opasnet as needed (basics of R code, page editing, version control, categories, permanent link, files in Opasnet, upload, linking, using, ... creating articles)
23.4. L16 12-13 Ca103 Computer classroom Jouni NO VIDEO! Checkpoint of work progress.
29.4. L17 12-13 Ca103 Computer classroom Jouni NO VIDEO Checkpoint of work progress.
11.5. L18-20 9-11, 12-14 MS307 Jouni Seminars: Group work presentations (6 slots à 30 min = 4 lectures) MANDATORY
12.5. L21-23 12-15 MS307 Jouni Seminars: Group work presentations (3 slots à 30 min = 2 lectures) MANDATORY
12.5. L24 15-16 MS307 Jouni Course evaluation and feedback, including round-up of HW3 & HW9
Jouni If there are any unfinished written tasks, there is time to finalise them until 22.5.
14 h lectures, 3 h checkpoints of work progress, 6 h seminars, 1 h evaluation. Total 24 hours of on-site learning.
Distant learning: reading materials, lecture notes, homeworks 1-10. Total 138 h.

Help and guidance

Topic Contact
General arrangements Teaching assistant ? , UEF
Homework exercises 1 - 9: Jouni

Help requests or other comments can be posted on the course web-page or the exercise web-page by using the comment boxes on the end of the pages (no user account / log in required) or on the discussion pages.

See also

Materials and examples for training in Opasnet and open assessment
Help pages Wiki editingHow to edit wikipagesQuick reference for wiki editingDrawing graphsOpasnet policiesWatching pagesWriting formulaeWord to WikiWiki editing Advanced skills
Training assessment (examples of different objects) Training assessmentTraining exposureTraining health impactTraining costsClimate change policies and health in KuopioClimate change policies in Kuopio
Methods and concepts AssessmentVariableMethodQuestionAnswerRationaleAttributeDecisionResultObject-oriented programming in OpasnetUniversal objectStudyFormulaOpasnetBaseUtilsOpen assessmentPSSP
Terms with changed use ScopeDefinitionResultTool

Advice for using Opasnet
Basics of Opasnet: What is Opasnet · Welcome to Opasnet · Opasnet policies · Open assessment · What is improved by Opasnet and open assessment? · FAQ
How to participate?: Contributing to Opasnet · Discussions in Opasnet · Watching pages · Open assessment method
How to edit pages?: Basic editing · More advanced editing · Quick reference for wiki editing · Wikipedia cheatsheet · Templates
Help for more advanced participation: Copyright · Archiving pages · Copying from Wikipedia · ImageMap · SQL-queries · Analytica conventions · Developing variables · Extended causal diagram · GIS tool · Risk assessment · M-files · Stakeholders · Heande · Todo · Text from PDFs and pictures · Word2MediaWiki · Glossary terms · Formulae

Content of 2011 course

Abbreviations: DA = decision analysis, RM = risk management, RA = risk assessment, RC = risk communication.

Introduction to the course

  • introduction to decision analysis: slides

Introduction to risk management

Introduction to using Opasnet

Introduction to probability theory: Slides

Decision analysis. slides

  • Measures of outcome: Utility, DALY, QALY, WTP
  • Concepts: decisions, objectives, optimization, uncertainty, decision trees
  • Influence diagrams, Bayesian belief nets.
  • Purpose of assessment: Why it is done

Modeling and Monte Carlo simulation: slides

  • Computer modeling
    • Why?
  • Approximation
    • When data is not available
  • Monte Carlo simulation
    • When and why to use?
  • Common uncertainty distributions
    • Normal distribution is not the only option

Calculation exercise: slides

Probabilistic models slides

Calculation exercise of calibration and PM risks with Opasnet R

Overall view of different models slides

  • Why do we do modelling?
  • Producing result from rationale.
    • Deterministic, heuristic, and probabilistic estimates.
    • Functional, differential, logical, and probabilistic relations.
    • Other relations (neural networks).

Decision making under uncertainty

Calculation exercise.

Risk management: State-of-the-art?

Risk management: a social learning perspective

  • lecture: slides
    • participation in assessment and management
    • dimensions of openness
    • assessments as collaborative information production projects
  • discussion:
    • role of public in swine flu case RM?
    • dimensions of openness -analysis of the narcolepsy study RM
  • Additional material: heande:Open participation in environmental health assessment

Risk management: facilitation of (open) risk management

Risk management: from needs to knowledge, knowledge to action

Summary of decision analysis and risk management: slides

  • Overview of DA, RM, OA & ORM
    • Who needs (uses, makes, understands) DA & RM?
  • Examples of past, on-going, and upcoming OA/ORM cases
    • overview
    • model
    • results and analyses
    • conclusions
    • relations to groups' DA study plans
  • What's new about the swine flu case?
  • Q&A, discussions and group feedback on the course contents and arrangements
  • Suggest more topics to be presented or discussed on the last lecture
    • topics can be e.g. some unclear things to be re-reviewed or something you may feel has been missing from the course contents

Final seminar:

  • Presentations of DA study plans by groups
    • 5 minutes for presentation, 10 minutes for discussion
  • Presentations of the RM exercises:
    • 5 minutes for presentation, 10 minutes for discussion

Links to additional DA materials

Links to additional RM materials

Background information about other Decision analysis and risk management study programs in Europe and in USA is provided here: Decision analysis and risk management - background information

NOTE! On this page, there was a list of related further education courses in Kuopio (in Finnish).


Risk assessment. Decision analysis. Bayesian theory. Open assessment. Risk management. Societal decision making.     

To do

  • Training assessment should be either replaced by a real case or updated.
  • Update slides in lectures 1-4
  • Go through pages in Template:Opasnet training and check what is needed.
  • Fill in the attributes of Pneumococcal vaccine assessment.
  • Update rcodes on ERF of dioxin
  • Konkreettinen esimerkki päätöksenteon ongelmista. Sen kautta esitellään oppn hyödyt. Mikä? Ipcc? Joku oman elämän esimerkki? Mieluummin ehkä yhteiskunnallimen jotta tulee realistisia rooleja. Otetaan silakka bra esimerkiksi vai pneumokokki ja ilmastoaihe konkreettisen työn kohteeksi.
  • Tee eka luennolla harjoitus jossa ryhmänä koetetaan luoda jaettu ymmärrys jostain selkeästä aiheesta. Pieni ja tuttu aihe mutta mikä. Pitää olla yhteisöllinen.
  • Hw7 jaa sivut valmiinsi numeroiduille pareille. Numerot jaetaan kurssilla. Jokaiselle ainakin yksi varoable methos ja encyclopedia.
  • Assessment evaluation tehtävä oikeista arvioinneista: silakka urgenche kuopio, rauma, joitakin opasnetin ulkopuolelta? Minera vesiopas pahtavaara talvivaara fuk ushima

See also


Related files

VipuvoimaaEU rgb1.jpg Eakr logo fi.png