Marines

Technology helps MCCSSS build blocks

21 Mar 2001 | Sgt. Bobbie J. Bryant

Technology and training took center stage when Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools hosted a visit by key personnel from the Marine Corps' Distance Learning Center this month at Camp Johnson.

The DLC is a component of the newly formed Training and Education Command headquartered at Quantico, Va., and is tasked with supporting the application of distance learning throughout the Marine Corps.

"MCCSSS wants to explore distance learning options because they offer an opportunity to reach a far larger audience of Marines, reduce the costs associated with TAD (Temporary Additional Duty), and ultimately lower the number of instructors in our formal schools," said Col. Les Stein,
commanding officer, MCCSSS.

"We are looking at a variety of alternative methods as a way of training our Marines using technology with the support of the DLC," said Lin Walker, deputy director academics, MCCSSS, T&E Command. "This visit is one in a series of meetings to determine the future applicability of distance learning to MCCSSS training."

"Our future lies in taking full advantage of new and emerging technology," added Stein,  North Brunswick, N.J.

"The goal is to provide training and education anywhere, anytime for Marines who are deployed as well as those who are in garrison," said Dr. Larry A. Blevins, director, DLC, T&E Command.

The Marine Corps Distance Learning Program develops integrated training and education programs for initial skill and skill progression that leads to military occupational specialty qualification and professional development.  It is structured-learning without the physical presence of an instructor, according to the Center's website at www.tecom.usmc.mil/dlc.

"Distance learning refers to the concept of distributing instructional materials ranging in size from individual lessons to entire courses in the nontraditional formats such as CD-ROMs, video teleconferencing, and internet/web-based computer delivered instruction," said Walker of Goldston, N.C.

"The Marine Corps is interested in distance learning as a method of expanding the availability of training to an increased number of personnel within each MOS, while simultaneously reducing the amount of time Marines spend in school and away from their jobs in the operating forces and supporting establishments," he said.

Along with Stein, the meeting included key personnel from Financial Management, Logistics Operations, Personnel Administration and Legal Services, and Supply Schools. 

Among the issues discussed were courses currently taught at Camp Johnson, which may be appropriate for conversion from their current classroom format to some form of distance learning, according to Walker.

"Additional discussions and further liaison between MCCSSS and DLC are planned in the future as the Marine Corps seeks to exploit the many opportunities fueled by new and evolving instructional technologies," Walker said.

One development underway is the Deployable Learning Resource Center, according Blevins, a Dumfriea, Va., native.

It is the hardware component of the MCDLP that provides Marines with access to electronic multimedia course-ware while deployed on board ship and from remote, ashore locations.

Distance learning is already a reality for selected Marine Corps courses.  Some currently available are Terrorism Awareness, Marksmanship, Land Navigation, Incidental Motor Vehicle Operations, Fundamentals of Diesel Engines, Personal Finance, Encryption/Decryption Device (TSEC/KY-99-A) Operations, Analog Switchboard (SB-3614) Operations, Remote Multiplexer-Combiner (TD-1234) Operations, and Data Transfer Device (AN/CYZ-10) Operations.  For more information about distance learning and these courses, visit the DLC website.