New – August 2010: the course now features a streamlined registration page. In addition, HPD now offers community classes at their downtown offices and at the offices of non-profits and tenants groups. More details on our NYC page.
The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) has developed an online bed bug course:
Meet Mrs. Smith, a middle income New Yorker; meet Mr. Smith, her husband of four years. They have a cat named Sweetpea. This family of three lives in a studio apartment.
Mrs. Smith notices a rash along her arm. It is itchy and she constantly scratches it, inflaming the red bumps. She recalls a conversation with a neighbor who lives two floors above her. He was telling her that his apartment was infested with bed bugs…
The landlord lives in 6B… and Mrs. Smith apparently has access to an entomologist.
To register for the course, titled Bed Bugs Management, click on the orange “Register for E-learning Bed Bug Course” link in the upper right hand corner of HPD’s home page.
(Photo credit: Cooper Pest Solutions.)
Thanks for coming. I thought we should let you know that the building has bed bugs and we need to do something about it.
If you accomplish the extraordinary feat of registering and are able to take the course, I will be interested to hear what you think; that is after all more important than what I think. Contact me if you want to take the course but have difficulty registering; I’ll try to help you figure it out if I can but the way I see it, it’s very likely that you will want to give up. I understand that HPD is working on improving the course registration process.
I don’t know much about the development of this course. (It is substantially different from the HPD presentations we saw last year.) I learned about the course recently and assume that entomology and pest management sources were consulted. I tell you this because there is probably a source somewhere for everything you will see in the course, whether you think it is accurate or not. Spend enough time on this problem and you understand that bed bug “facts” tend to be simplifications from the literature and you can certainly find conflicting information and opinions without trying too hard. So when you view this, my suggestion is to not get hung up on bed bug longevity stats or egg production rates. What did you learn—or would learn if you didn’t already know what you know—and how does that fit the educational needs we face in our city? Is the tension between reality and idealized dramatization problematic, or does it not matter? And what would you do differently?
By the way, when I failed the quiz, I caused the Smiths to keep scratching:
Unfortunately, Mrs. Smith didn’t learn enough about bed bugs to eliminate them from her apartment. The Smiths and their cat, Sweetpea, will be unhappily scratching their bites until they get their act together.