Distance Learning Center opens at MCBH
By Cpl. Jessica M. Mills
| Marine Corps Base Hawaii | December 16, 2002
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii --
After numerous, unsuccessful attempts to install a learning resource center, MCB Hawaii - with the help of the Training and Education Command and Marine Corps Systems Command - opened a new Distance Learning Center for all Marines and Sailors, Dec. 16.
The center makes training and educational courses available through online and interactive media.
"Since the beginning of MarineNet, a Marine Corps Web site, we wanted to speed up the process for Marines to take Marine Corps courses," said Susan Baker, MarineNet project manager. "This new resource center is more for Marines who do not have workstations at their shops, so that way they have a place to utilize MarineNet and save some time."
The center includes 39 student workstations and one reserved for an instructor. It gives users the ability to access MarineNet and its selected online Marine Corps courses and more than 300 information technology courses and 400-plus business and management courses.
At the moment, a healthy number of Marine Corps subjects are available including Terrorism Awareness, Land Navigation, Individual Motor Vehicle Operator, Armor NCO, Marine Corps Aviation Readiness Enhancement Training, Marksmanship, Personal Financial Management, and Fundamentals of Diesel Engines. The quantity of courses will increase.
"Users will also be able to take the exams online, and there will always be a person there who is dedicated to providing assistance and monitoring exams throughout each day," said Herb Kolbe, manager of the Distance Learning Center. "It will be a time saver.
"The content delivery is uniform, compared to a classroom where delivery can deviate. This is much more flexible for the user."
According to Kolbe, once users submit their exam, in minutes they will receive their scores, and any earned credits will be sent to their transcripts. Students will only receive credits for their Marine Corps Institute courses; the IT and business and management courses will offer personal improvement but no credit.
The Distance Learning Center is the first overseas CONUS (continental U.S.) installation in the Marine Corps. Eight other sites exist. However, Kaneohe Bay's new IT connections to the MarineNet database greatly speeds up downloads for users in Hawaii.
"So far, the installation is running rather good," said Baker. "Since courseware is located on the base, it should run fast. But, the authorization and verification still needs to connect to the Distance Learning Operations Center on the mainland."
At the moment, MarineNet can be accessed from any Department of Defense workstation, but by January it will be World Wide Web capable and Marines on deployment or at home can access the information from their personal computers.
Plans are also in effect for a deployable learning resource center to be activated around springtime. That center will include a server and 20 laptops, so Marines can access the courses online anywhere in the world.
Marine Expeditionary Forces are scheduled to receive centers first, and then Marine Expeditionary Units will go online.
The next overseas installations are planned to be in Iwakuni, Japan, in February or March and in Okinawa, Japan.
"It's more computers for our Marines, what could be better?" simply said Maj. John Claugherty during a demonstration for Brig. Gen. Jerry C. McAbee, commanding general of MCB Hawaii.
The Distance Learning Center will be open to all active duty service members Mondays through Fridays 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. and weekends 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
To access MarineNet from a DoD workstation or personal computer, go to the Web site www.marinenet.us mc.mil/portal.