Officer Training Command Newport (OTCN) is using online training to develop future Navy leaders during the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
OTCN, consisting of Officer Candidate School (OCS), Officer Development School (ODS), Limited Duty Officer and Chief Warrant Officer Academy, and Naval Science Institute, first began using remotely delivered training April 5.
"All of the classes to date have been delivered via a pre-recorded lecture, which made it tricky to remain engaging," said Lt. Jacqueline Linster, director of the education and training department. "In class, you have engagement with the students that fuels the energy and passion of learning."
Linster noted that when using a pre-recorded lecture there is no student feedback to encourage discussion, but they are working on solutions to facilitate the interaction.
"We have done a few virtual classrooms to increase information clarity and provide test reviews, but we have not fully implemented the virtual classroom,” said Linster. “As we get more comfortable with the virtual learning environment, we will continue to implement more opportunities that leverage technology and maximize social distancing efforts."
Remote learning courses are currently used during the 14-day restriction of movement required for all newly arrived students, during which they are separate from the larger OTCN population and cannot congregate in traditional classroom environments. As the command becomes more familiar with the process, it will incorporate some of these processes into more advanced training.
Lt. Briana Alman, an OCS instructor, has found that although this method of teaching is different, online training is still an effective tool to get students all the information they need to be successful.
"For me it presents a new challenge, which I love," said Alman. "There seem to be many more questions because there is so much more material to cover in a short amount of time. However, at the same time, we have the ability to rapidly respond with the internet to provide our students with instructions, publication, NAVADMINS, etc. so they can get into the material."
"Employing distance learning modules allows OTCN to achieve social distancing policies and procedures," said Cmdr. Clemia Anderson, ODS director. “It is essential that we take advantage of current technology and employ distance learning platforms to sustain the quality of the educational experience while maximizing training time and mitigating the spread of COVID-19."
OTCN morally, mentally, and physically develops future leaders of character and competence - imbuing them with the highest ideals of honor, courage, and commitment in order to serve as professional naval officers worthy of special trust and confidence.
For more information on OTCN, visit https://www.public.navy.mil/netc/nstc/otcn/.
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