Online aerospace training advancing
- By Colleen O'Hara
- Oct 24, 2002
Florida Space Research Institute
The Florida Space Research Institute is expanding an e-learning program
designed to help aerospace workers advance in their careers through online
FSRI's Advanced Learning Environment initiative was created by a partnership
between NASA and the state of Florida as a way to provide additional training
to workers in the aerospace industry and academia.
More than 1,400 Florida residents have registered to access the program
for free for a year - an effort that has proven successful so far, said
Tom Cavanagh, program manager for the Advanced Learning Environment. Many
of the students are from the Kennedy Space Center and from the aerospace
industry, but high school and college students and faculty members are also
well represented, he said.
Now the goal is to enhance the Advanced Learning Environment program
and expand it beyond Florida.
The program currently offers about 50 self-paced modules encompassing
more than 30 hours of Web-based training, most of which is intended for
aerospace technicians. The program is open to anyone, including federal
and state government employees, Cavanagh said.
FSRI will receive $35,000 from NASA via the Florida Space Grant Consortium
to develop an online mentoring pilot program scheduled for launch in January.
The program will pair students with aerospace industry representatives.
The goal is to "inspire kids to be the next generation of aerospace workers,"
An additional $75,000 from the University of Central Florida's NASA-sponsored
Hydrogen Research and Application Center will be used to build new course
modules about cryogenics training.
The Advanced Learning Environment involves other partners, such as Latitude360,
a division of RWD Technologies Inc., which provided the infrastructure for
the program via its University360 e-learning suite of products. The advantage
of the software is that it is a "collection of tightly integrated applications"
that allows FSRI to add additional capabilities as needed, said Laurence
Myers, principal engineer at Latitude360.
FSRI officials chose to have Latitude360 host the Advanced Learning
Environment solution instead of managing it themselves, Myers said. This
arrangement relieves customers of having to manage the back-end hardware
and infrastructure issues that often require additional resources, Myers
Also, systems performance is not an issue. "Because it is hosted out
of one of the top-tier data centers, we have true broadband connectivity
all around the world," Myers said.