Military Education Organizational Responses to Corona Virus
The Military Education Working Group will share the experiences and insights of member institutions and other contributors. How are we adapting to the changes demanded by pandemic outbreaks? What tools can we use and how can we adapt our institutions to continue the work of military education? Should the focus of military education change to serve society better in coming years? This page will begin with brief notes from member institutions, and progress to a discussion board of input from participants. Anyone wishing to post or share a comment can contact the Working Group Chair, Nuno Loureiro, firstname.lastname@example.org (please copy email@example.com)
Baltic Defence College
In BALTDEFCOL we are working now in the distance learning mode using Microsoft Teams as a tool. There were some problems related to it but slowly we are moving forward. It was quick shift but we managed and E-Estonia approach was very helpful. I am flexible for the meeting times as it is now anyway working from home options – how long I do not know.
Canadian Armed Forces education and training establishments were given instructions to close on 12 March. Canada's three military education organizations began to move online on Friday 13 March. The largest of them, Royal Military College in Kingston, had moved to online classes by Monday 16 March. Campus activities were stopped on 24 March, and students dispersed to homes and units during a one-week pause, with classes resuming online 1 April. All graduation and convocation ceremonies have been cancelled. Those essential personnel continuing to work on campus have been sequestered in three "bubbles" -- for a small number of cadets, for administrators, and for academics -- each in different parts of the campus.
Online classes are continuing using the learning management system Moodle which includes a video-conferencing system, BigBlueButton, as well as synchronous chat, quiz, and other functions. Academic departments have set up Moodle pages to permit videoconferencing within departments, but are also using Zoom (https://zoom.us) for smaller meetings. Deans organized a webinar about online exam alternatives, most of which will be conducted on Moodle. Some courses have opted for additional written assignments, and some are calculating final marks based on term work.
Canadian Forces College students have been dispersed and exercises will be conducted online. Plans are underway to conduct the operational planning process final exercise online. Elective and academic courses can be completed using Moodle and other online tools.
International students at the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu campus have been sent home. Discussions are underway with the Quebec Ministry of Education to ensure that the remaining weeks of the 15-week semester can be successfully completed by dispersed cadets.
Overall, The quality of educational activities and socialization has been diminished and collective training has been cancelled, however, we expect that cadets and staff college students (Majors, LCols) will complete their required education and training and return to units on schedule despite the disruption.
In Norway, as for most parts of the world now, people are working or schooling form home. It is a strange feeling, the pandemic and the measures taken to fight it is taking a hard toll on peoples life. Our casualty rate is still fairly low, but our unemployment rates are the highest since the depression in the late 1920’s. At the same time, we who work for the government and are academics suddenly find our self in a bubble of opportunity.
From a pedagogical philosophers stands, it is fascinating to see how adaptable we all are in times of crises. Here in Oslo we literally turned our Masters program into a distributed, digital and decentralized education over night (11-12 March). On the eleventh we sent all our students home to every corner of Norway. On the morning (0830) of the twelfth the first lecture was streamed. Since then and onwards we have only looked forward. That is not to say there has not been difficulties or challenges - it has and we face new struggles constantly. But generally our students are progressing fine and our faculty is embracing the challenge seeking new opportunities in their courses. David, I challenge you to set up a panel in the Military Education WG during the ISMS2020 on the lessons identified/learned at our institutions during the pandemic outbreak.
IUM is continuing with its courses using, whenever possible, the information and communication technologies that we have, mainly MS Teams. However, we face some difficulties in the disciplines that require a lot of group interaction with constant and present supervision (operations planning for example) and, above all with the question of learning assessment (tests and presentations in which the objective is to evaluate the form of presentation, verbal, non-verbal and behavioral).
We have the same difficulties as everyone associated with the coronavirus epidemic. There is only a staff on duty at the university. Others work remotely. We mainly use MS teams and the ILIAS system as
well as the internal system for organizing and managing teaching activities.
Here in Stockholm, as of the 17th of March, the SEDU introduced digital and decentralized education in Zoom and Canvas. All meetings and planning are since held in Zoom, which works satisfactorily.
Teaching in Zoom requires great effort from the teachers and the IT-department – not to mention a lot of flexibility and creativity. So far all is well, the transformation went more smoothly than expected. The students have reported that they are content with how the courses are pursued at distance and appreciate the adapted examinations methods. The Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) has announced they will not have audits even if examination methods do not follow curricula.
Comments and Suggestions
- Two scenarios are being considered for return to work in the new Academic year after the summer. One foresees a later start, and the other envisions an online start on time (early September for most institutions, although some are planning preparatory summer courses online). The online start would be designed to permit transition to on-site delivery as circumstances permit.