Naval War College phasing out legacy CD-ROM course

Photo of CD-ROM CD's

NEWPORT, R.I. – U.S. Naval War College (NWC) will no longer enroll new students in the CD-ROM program offered through the school’s College of Distance Education (CDE) after Sept. 30.

The CD-ROM program is being phased out due to better, more interactive education delivery options and declining student enrollment.

“This CD-ROM program is really a legacy offering that was developed to replace a paper-based correspondence course,” said Timothy Garrold, deputy dean of the College of Distance Education at NWC. “Instead of sending students a box of books and papers and then have them submit their graded work by postal mail or fax, we sent course materials contained on CDs.”

While CD-ROM courses were a breakthrough at the time, they have become outdated.

As students have come to expect more speed, interaction and efficiency, the move to the web-enabled programs is a better option that allows students more access to colleagues and teachers according to Garrold.

“The amount of interaction that students experience in web-based courses with other students and with faculty were really the most important factors in pressing for the change,” he said. “We were kind of fooling ourselves that a self-paced, self-taught course had the rigor required for the same level of training and education as that available to what a student can get online and in our Fleet Seminar Program.”

Students are already frequently choosing online courses over the CD-ROM programs.

“The numbers have been dropping for the CD-ROM program,” said Garrold. “The demand signal for the CD-ROM has slowly declined over the years.”

Those wanting to earn the masters and their intermediate JPME credit through NWC distance education courses can still do so through the Fleet Seminar program.

Garrold explained that some resources currently devoted to the CD-ROM program may now be reassigned to the web-based programs making them an even faster and a better choice for students.

Students currently enrolled in the CD-ROM program, and those who enroll prior to the deadline will still be able to finish the program within 20 months. The CD-ROM program will terminate entirely May 31, 2019 -- 20 months from the Sept. 30 deadline.

Specifics of the CD-ROM program phase out are explained in NAVADMIN 233/17.

CDE doesn’t anticipate other changes to course delivery methodologies.

NWC is a one-year resident program that graduates about 600 resident students and about 1,000 distance learning students each year. Its primary mission is to educate and develop future leaders. Additional missions include: helping to define the future Navy and its roles and missions, supporting combat readiness, strengthening global maritime partnerships, promoting ethics and leadership throughout the force, contributing knowledge to shape effective decisions through our John B. Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research, providing expertise and advice to the international legal community through the Stockton Center for the Study of International Law. Students earn Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) credit and either a diploma or a master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies or Defense and Strategic Studies. Established in 1884, U.S. Naval War College is the oldest institution of its kind in the world. More than 50,000 students have graduated since its first class of nine students in 1885 and about 300 of today’s active duty admirals, generals and senior executive service leaders are alumni.

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Daniel L. Kuester
September 20, 2017

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