Air Command and Staff College
Maxwell Air Force Base Montgomery, Alabama
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*** A NEW ACSC DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAM***

The roll-out of the new Air Command and Staff College Distance Learning Program (DL 6.0) is complete! The next-generation DL program is completely online, giving students the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of course concepts and build critical thinking skills through online, peer-to-peer and faculty interaction. Today’s students are globally deployed and desire to access and complete courseware when and where they choose. Online content allows for curriculum delivery and update at a much faster pace than previous book-based content.

The core content of the new ACSC DL program does not deviate extensively from the former program and continues to offer the same seven core courses as the previous 5.2 program. However, the new program offers a completely different learning experience in that students are able to more actively engage with the material. In addition to lesson narratives, reading materials and lesson progress checks, students encounter videos, computer-based interactive learning activities and “game-like” exercises all available in an online environment. Self-paced is enhanced by collaborative, online facilitated courses that enable students to engage in course concepts via faculty-guided, peer-to-peer interactions. And great news as all assessments are online…no need to travel to the test centers anymore!

Please reference the DL 6.0 FAQs for general questions. Student Services personnel are available to assist you if you have an immediate, specific concern about the impact of the transition to your PME progression/completion, but the FAQs should be able to address most of your needs at this time.

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History of the ACSC Distance Learning Program

In 1948, ACSC established a Distance Learning (DL) Program to provide intermediate-level professional military education (PME) via correspondence to meet the needs of nonresident students. The scope of the program expanded in 1969 when a seminar option was added to provide a forum for nonresident students to share opinions, expertise, and experiences with each other. Today, the DL team continues to explore better ways to deliver course materials in our current expeditionary environment in order to meet the demand for PME of mid-career officers and civilians stationed throughout the world.

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General Program Description

The curriculum consists of eight self-paced courses and four applied courses to be completed in the following order: Orientation and Introduction (ORIN), Leadership and Command (LC), Applied Leadership and Command (ALC), National Security (NS), Applied National Security (ANS), Warfare Studies (WS), Airpower Studies (AP), Applied Warfare (AW), Joint Forces (JF), Joint Planning (JP), Joint Air Operations (JA), and Applied Joint Warfare (AJW).

The next-generation DL program is a totally online curriculum administered through a learning management system, where students have the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of course concepts and critical thinking through online, peer-to-peer interaction and collaboration.

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Benefits of ACSC

Joint PME Phase I Credit – All ACSC graduates receive joint professional military education (JPME) phase I credit. Phase I emphasizes the fundamentals needed for a sound basis in joint operations and provides a foundation for follow-on study for phase II education. Current JPME objectives for intermediate-level joint learning are listed in the Appendix to this Guide.

IDE Credit – All Air Force officers earn Intermediate Developmental Education (IDE) credit upon completion. If you are a USN, USA, or USMC student, you will need to contact your service PME office to ensure you receive Intermediate Service School credit for successfully completing ACSC’s nonresident program.

Graduate Credit – The American Council on Education (ACE) recommends approximately 21 graduate credit hours be awarded for completing ACSC. Refer to their website for specific details (http://www.militaryguides.acenet.edu/). The final decision on how many hours you will receive rests with the school to which you have applied.

Reserve PointsAir Reserve Personnel Center (ARPC) determines ANG and USAFR retirement credit points.

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Program Information

Eligibility

IAW AFI 36-2301, the following military, civilian, and international applicants are eligible to enroll in the ACSC Nonresident Studies Program:

Military – O-4 selects and above on active duty, non-extended active duty, Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard; sister-service active duty, Guard, and Reserve O-4s and above; and Civil Air Patrol.

Civilian – Federal civil service employees in the grade of GS-12, GS-13 or NAF Employees 4/5, with a bachelor's degree.

International – International Applicants for nonresident ACSC must be O-4 major-select or higher, or equivalent grade civilian employees of the military department of a country or international organization assigned to a DOD billet. International Officers must enroll through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) training sponsorship program and have an acceptable Test of English as a Foreign Language score.

Enrollment

You will be enrolled in ACSC upon verification of your identity in the Air University Student Information System (AUSIS) at https://ausis.maxwell.af.mil. You will remain enrolled through completion, provided you stay in good standing. If you ever need to verify your standing, please contact ACSC-Student-Services.

Contrary to the former 5.2 program, students are not automatically enrolled in courses. Students are given the freedom to enroll in courses based upon their personal and professional schedules. Also differing from previous version, each self-paced course has a four-month completion expiration date from date of student enrollment. Students not completing within the four-month window will be given the grade of “Unsatisfactory” and are required to re-enroll the course. The four applied courses require students to sign up at least 2-weeks prior to class start date. Students must schedule their time wisely and not let the scheduling of an applied course delay their progress through the program.

Course Materials

After registering for a course, students are granted access to the Blackboard® Learning Management System where their courses are stored. There they will find a list of the materials needed to complete each course in electronic format: online articles, reading extracts, video presentations, digital workbooks, etc. In addition to housing courseware, Blackboard® serves as the collaborative-learning tool supporting asynchronous discussion forums, as well as schedules, syllabi, and other related materials.

Technology Requirements

Participants are required to own or have access to a computer with high-speed/broadband Internet capability, and possess at least an intermediate level of computing skills, defined as the ability to:

  • Organize and manage files and folders in the operating system of choice
  • Receive and submit electronic course materials
  • Use a word-processing program effectively
  • Use a spreadsheet program for grade book purposes effectively
  • Send and receive e-mail (including attachments)
  • Download and execute files from the Internet

Minimum recommended technology requirements for computers are listed below. These requirements are subject to change. In addition, all students are highly encouraged to utilize their DoD-issued Common Access Card (CAC) for accessing ACSC-related systems whenever possible.

  • Windows XP (32-bit), Windows Vista (32 or 64 bit), or Windows 7 (32 or 64 bit) OR
  • Apple Mac OSX 10.5 (Leopard ®) or OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard®)
  • 512 MB RAM
  • DVD-ROM drive
  • VGA or higher resolution video monitor
  • Sound card with speakers or headphones
  • Keyboard and mouse
  • Web Browsers:

•  Internet Explorer® 8 or higher or
•  Firefox (Final Release Channel) or Firefox 3.6 or
•  Google® Chrome (Stable Channel)

Furthermore, the following software programs or plug-ins are recommended for viewing course content and the completion of assignments or assessments:

  • Java Runtime Environment® (Java Plug-in for viewing various content)
  • Adobe Acrobat® Reader (for viewing and printing PDF files)
  • QuickTime® (for viewing QuickTime® video)
  • Flash Player® (for viewing animations or using interactive content)
  • FLIP4MAC®(for MAC users to view Windows media files)
  • Windows Media Player® (for viewing streaming video or listening to streaming audio clips)
  • Microsoft Office Suite® (viewers for MS Word®, MS PowerPoint ®, MS Excel ® files)

The web browser and associated plug-ins can be downloaded from the Internet at no cost. The minimum system requirements listed above will adequately present the course materials; however, a more advanced or upgraded system will provide faster access. You will require Internet connectivity to access the required online portions of the DL program, either through a local or wide-area network, or via a local Internet Service provider (ISP). Costs associated with the use of a local ISP are your financial responsibility. ACSC does not subsidize online services.

Student Performance

Attendance – The Distance Learning 6.0 Program is conducted asynchronously, so while “attendance” is mandatory, students may “attend” at the time and place of their choosing. In the Applied Courses, students are expected to meet minimum participation requirements in all class activities and complete all class assignments by the assignment due date.

Construction and Preparation – The DL 6.0 program employs the instructional systems development (ISD) process in developing its curriculum and assessments. Assessment topics and requirements, as well as threaded discussion questions, are developed from lesson objectives and are built to reflect the following levels of learning:

  • Knowledge-level questions ask students to recall or recognize facts, theories and information in the same form it was presented in the course materials

  • Comprehension-level questions require students to see relationships, concepts, or abstractions beyond simply remembering the materials. This typically involves translating or interpreting information

  • Application-level questions require students to use learned material in new situations, including applying rules, methods, concepts, principles, and theories.

  • Analysis-level questions require students to break down material into its component parts so that its organizational structure can be understood. This level includes identification of the parts, analysis of the relationship between parts, and recognition of the organizational principles involved.

  • Synthesis-level questions require students to combine, create, formulate, design, compose, construct, rearrange, and revise material as it applies to the course

  • Evaluation-type questions ask students to judge, critique, compare, justify, conclude, describe, or support their arguments based on solid research or empirical data

Regardless of the level of learning, students are prepared for all assessments if they meet the desired learning outcomes described in the course syllabus and complete all assignments – readings, videos, interactive learning modules, threaded discussions, and essays – successfully.

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Program Support

Online Services – ACSC/DL manages the ACSC section of AUSIS (https://ausis.maxwell.af.mil) which takes you one step closer to achieving real-time information transfer in a distance-learning format. The website is unique to the version of the program in which you are enrolled and is active for the duration of a program version.

Course Content – Blackboard® is the online platform AU employs to host its distance learning programs and distribute course materials and related information. All course materials listed in the course syllabi are available in Blackboard®. Instructors, in the Applied Courses, use Blackboard® to guide seminar discussions, accept assignments, provide feedback, post grades, communicate course information, and answer questions. It is important to direct any course content-related questions, or the administration of course content, to the course instructor (CI) in the Applied Courses.

Completion Status – Although students can complete the program in seven months, the program’s rigor requires a significant time commitment to meet that goal. The program must be completed within a 5-year timeframe.

Personnel Record Updates – The AU Registrar’s office inputs PME program completion data into USAF officers’ records through the PME data center. Students’ program completion information is transmitted to the Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC) or to Headquarters, Air Reserve Personnel Center (ARPC for both AFRES and ANG) as appropriate. AFPC updates local Military Personnel Flights’ computer files. Your personnel records should reflect that you have completed ACSC within ten days following successful completion of your final assessment (either test or exercise). Sister-Service officer and civilian records must be updated through appropriate channels. Civilian students need to take a copy of their completion certificate to their civilian personnel office to ensure their records are properly updated.

Program Completion Certificates – The AU Registrar’s office automatically issues a certificate upon successful program completion. The completion certificate will display your name and rank as it is reflected in AUSIS (https://ausis.maxwell.af.mil) and will be mailed to the address on file in that database. If you do not receive your completion certificate within thirty days after AUSIS reflects your status of “Program Complete,” you should e-mail the AU Registrar's Office.

Program Transcripts – The AU Registrar’s office will furnish you a transcript upon receipt of your written request. The request format is at http://www.maxwell.af.mil/au/cf/auregistrar/transcript_request.pdf. Be sure to include your name, and address (former name if applicable), last four of SSAN, program number and/or title, year completed, and name and address of school or agency (for official transcript). Unofficial transcripts will be mailed directly to you. Send requests to the AU Registrar's Office.

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Assessments and Grading

Assessments

Administration – In the DL 6.0 Applied Courses, the CI provides instructions for each assessment. Students are instructed to refer any assessment-related questions to their CI. Additionally, as previously discussed, students are not permitted to review or discuss the contents of any assessment with anyone other than their CI after it is completed. In Self-Paced Courses, instructions are provided within the course material for each assessment. Students are instructed to refer any assessment-related question to Student Services.

Grading

Applied Course Criteria

In DL 6.0 Applied Courses, assessing student success in attaining learning objectives in the online environment is necessarily subjective; however, to assist CIs in the important task of grading, ACSC/DL has provided a grading rubric for standardization. The grading criteria contained in this rubric serve as a guideline for instructors. CIs use their best judgment when determining the appropriate grade for assessments, threaded discussions, and other postings that may be evaluated. The CI may include other course-unique grading criteria when appropriate. For purposes of “letter grade” evaluation of student academic performance, CIs will assign one of the following: Outstanding, Excellent, Satisfactory, or Unsatisfactory.

Applied Course Grading Rubric

Standardized rubrics, scoring tools for subjective assessments, are provided to all ACSC faculty members teaching in the DL 6.0 Applied Courses to provide a standardized feedback format to each student and to ensure common learning outcomes are understood and obtained.

Applied Course Scale

Students are graded on the scale as outlined in the table below. Students who obtain an “Outstanding” or “Excellent” as their overall program average on the four applied courses will have the earned distinction printed on their certificate (i.e. Outstanding or Excellent); otherwise, there will be no special distinction printed upon a successfully completed certificate. The applied course weights towards the overall program grade as follows: Applied National Security - 15%, Applied Leadership and Command - 25%, Applied Warfare - 25%, and Applied Joint Warfare - 35%.

Self-Paced Course Criteria

In DL 6.0 Self-Paced courses, students are assessed through progress checks, computerized Interactive Learning Activities (ILAs) and exercises (in the joint warfare courses). The student must pass each progress check and/or assessment with at least an 80% and successfully complete each ILA and exercise to successfully complete the course.

Incomplete Grades

Applied Courses

Due to the nature of the facilitated DL 6.0 classes, the four Applied Courses, and the students’ professional and personal commitments, there may be instances when students are unable to complete their studies in the allotted one, two or three-week course. The time-limited nature of the classes terms offer restricted opportunity to re-schedule missed evaluations; therefore, students must contact their instructor and request an “Incomplete Contract.” This contract provides students the opportunity to make up work within a one-week period after the end of a particular class.

Extensions to the Incomplete Contract will not be approved. If the student does not make complete the contract within the one-week timeframe, the “Incomplete” grade officially converts to an “Unsatisfactory.”

Self-Paced Courses

Due to the nature of the Self-Paced Courses, all students who are currently enrolled in a Self-Paced Class will have a grade of “Incomplete” until they successfully pass the course or until the course expires. All self-paced courses expire four months from the date of student enrollment. If the course expires before the student completes the course, the “Incomplete” will automatically change to a “fail.” Once a student has failed a class, then he/she is eligible to retake the class.

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Contact Information

We prefer you contact us by e-mail, but a telephone call is also fine for simple and quick questions. Please use the e-mail addresses or telephone numbers listed below:

Air University Registrar (AU/CFR)

The AU Registrar's Office or call us and select option 1.

Personnel are available to answer the phones from 0730 - 1630 Central Time, Monday - Friday.

Air Command & Staff College Distance Learning (ACSC/DL)

Curriculum Support

Students are asked to contact AU DL personnel through the support website first, then via telephone for simple and quick questions or for fact gathering when it is desirable to “talk” to someone. Please use the email address or telephone and fax numbers listed below:

  • Student Services (Monday – Friday, 0700-1630 Central Time)

Website:  http://www.aueducationsupport.com. (Select “Request Ticket” at top of page.)
Phone – Commercial (800) 316-7042, (334) 953-7901 or DSN 493-7901. Select the desired support from the options menu.
Fax numbers – Commercial (334) 953-4003 or DSN 493-4003

  • 24/7 Blackboard® technical telephone support:  Commercial (800) 316-7042, (334) 953-7901 or DSN 493-7901. Select the Blackboard Technical Support from the options menu.
  • 24/7 Online Support (From inside of Blackboard®) – Click on the “HELP” button in top banner your Blackboard® page for full access to our support materials and 24/7 Blackboard® technical support.
  • 24/7 Online Support (From outside of Blackboard®) – Click on the “SUPPORT CENTER and HELP DESK” link on the login page of the DL 6.0 Blackboard® website for full access to our support materials and 24/7 Blackboard® technical support without logging in to the system.

Technical Support answers questions regarding computer or AUSIS issues, submit a ticket via  http://www.aueducationsupport.com (Select "Request Ticket" at top of page)." or call us and select option 3.

Student Services answers questions about administrative issues dealing with enrollments, extensions, or other concerns not addressed above, submit a ticket via  http://www.aueducationsupport.com or call us and select option 3.

Personnel are available to answer the phones from 0700-1630 Central Time, Monday - Friday. Most phone requests for service will require a ticket number for tracking and recording purposes.

Phone Numbers

Please use phone option numbers above to direct your call to the type of support desired. The following numbers connect to our call management system:

Toll Free Number: 1-800-316-7042

Commercial: (334) 953-7901

DSN: 493-7901

Fax Numbers

Should you need to fax anything to us, please include a fax coversheet with details of the faxed communications and contact information and send to:

Comm. Fax: (334) 953-4003

DSN Fax: 493-4003

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