More than 70 people joined our recent webinar to hear from Colonel Jeff Waechter, the Director of the Joint Continuing Distance Education School at National Defense University, on how he is using blended learning to further military education. One of several schools to participate in Blackboard’s Military programming for distance learning, Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) has designed a 40-week blended course for its students, who also serve in the military Reserves.
With 37 weeks online and 3 weeks face-to-face, the school’s blended learning approach has been customized to fit the needs of its geographically diverse and busy students. “The bottom line for us is that our reservists can still attend the education while also working a full-time job,” said Col. Waechter. The webinar demonstrated the powerful story of continuing education in the military. These adult learners voluntarily invest their time into learning programs, often on top of their full-time jobs. Learners and faculty alike see the strong value in cost savings on travel and time-savings on time away from work or family. Further, the flexible format allows a greater number of service members to receive Joint Officer qualification from anywhere. The school has even developed an Alumni Portal for continuing education post-graduation. “When that student graduates, that’s not the end of the line for him or her. We continue to educate them through our Alumni Portal. It’s a great tool outside the typical classroom environment.” Overall, with 8 courses offered throughout the year, JFSC teaches more than 360 students annually. Roughly 300 of those students go on to graduate each year, proving the blended strategy, using Blackboard Learn™ tools, really works.