MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. — With the demands of career and family obligations, completing officer professional military education can be a challenge.
Today’s technology makes it possible for students around the globe to enroll in and complete the courses they need in the locations and times that work best for them. With this in mind, Squadron Officer College, part of Air University’s Carl A. Spaatz Center for Officer Education, has created a new distance learning curriculum for Squadron Officer School.
The course is modular and self-contained in the Blackboard Learning Management System, which is accessible anywhere with an Internet connection. Also, in a major upgrade from the previous version of the SOS distance learning course, the new program includes four courses of instruction in which the fourth is facilitated directly by SOS faculty and includes significant peer-to-peer interaction.
“This facilitation allows students in the distance learning environment to develop relationships with their peers similar to the resident program,” said Maj. Michael Norvell, program manager for SOS non-resident courses.
Although the previous SOS online program received routine updates since its launch in 2009, the new program’s content is more closely aligned with the curriculum covered in the new SOS resident program.
The program includes three self-study courses: communication and international security studies; leadership; and warfare and profession of arms. These courses conclude with exams proctored at designated education offices or other sanctioned test control facilities where students receive immediate feedback on their performance.
The fourth course in the program, integration and application, allows students to select a four-week term during which they work with an experienced flight commander and up to 19 other students to discuss their new knowledge of program content and to develop written products based on this content.
“These interactive experiences will help company grade officers and civilian equivalents further develop the skills they need to excel in a world of rapidly accelerating technology and limitless access to information while preparing them to adapt to unforeseeable challenges and future risks,” said Dr. Tony Klucking, an assistant professor in SOC’s Department of International Security Studies.
The new SOS distance learning course is open to active-duty, Reserve and Guard officers from across the services who have been selected for the grade of 0-3 or above. Federal civilian employees in the grades of GS-9 and above who possess regionally accredited baccalaureate degrees may also enroll. International officers and civilians may refer to Air Force Instruction 36-2301, Developmental Education (paragraph 11.3) for enrollment criteria and procedures. For additional information including registration instructions, visit http://www.au.af.mil/au/soc/index.html and click on “nonresident programs.”