MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
The Air Force Culture and Language Center has a unique team of individuals whose mission is the administration of the Center’s two courses that each receive three semester hours of credit through the Community College of the Air Force. Part of that team consists of Judi Goodall and Marsha Russell, who handle all student-related matters from course registration to reminding students of assignment deadlines.
Presently, AFCLC offers Introduction to Culture and the newly revamped Introduction to Cross-Cultural Communication to enlisted members of the U.S. Armed Forces (Active Duty, National Guard and Reserve) enrolled in the CCAF program. AFCLC delivers a total of four course offerings annually. It’s up to Goodall and Russell to ensure the courses are set up correctly in Air University’s system and supervise student enrollment, process applications, and troubleshoot any issues students have once the courses begin.
Part of their job also involves reminding students of assignment deadlines, which brings back quite a few memories of their own.
“It does bring back a lot of memories of when I was in school,” Russell laughed. “So, when I remind someone of a deadline, it makes me think, ‘Wow, that’s what I did in some of my classes!’ It’s funny how some things don’t change!”
These ladies make sure the students enrolled in AFCLC’s courses are aware of assignments and deadlines and stay on track during the course. It’s a delicate and succinctly coordinated dance for the pair who function like a well-oiled machine and do everything possible to ensure students have the best possible learning experience.
Goodall and Russell begin their day populating the student rosters with reports downloaded from each course. The data includes info like the last activity completed by each student and computed scores. The duo can also tell when a student accessed the course and viewed a lesson last by looking at the reports, which allows them to assist students by remining them of upcoming milestone assignment deadlines.
And then there are the emails.
“There is no one person that can handle all of this,” Russell said. “We have to work as a team. There are a lot of times when we reach out to each other for backup. During telework, we’re talking on Teams, phone calls…all through the day.”
Goodall explained the priority is always communicating with the students.
“Emails, emails, emails,” Goodall laughed. “If a student has a question about a quiz or the content of the course, or even if they can’t access something or is locked out of the course, we get those emails, and we answer every single one. So, we start communicating with the students before the course even begins. We also have a checklist of everything we need to do before the course starts.”
According to Goodall, much preparation goes on behind the scenes before the first student can enroll. From setting up the course in the Air University Portal to advertising the course across several platforms to setting up a messaging calendar to systematically send notices and alerts to attendees during the span of the course. It’s a team effort to get each piece of the puzzle in place before enrollment can begin. After registration, nothing slows down, and it’s time for the rubber to meet the road for the students who made it into the course.
“Our courses are college-level courses,” Goodall explained. “Once the course starts, the first thing the students do is they read the announcements where the pre-course activities are explained. These activities must be done in the first week, which serves as their intent to complete the course. But, it’s when the students get to that first milestone assignment that they realize there is real work to be done in these courses.”
Customer service is also a priority for these ladies. Everything involved in these courses passes through their hands.
“Most people may not realize that not only do we answer every email we receive,” Russell added, “but we also view every student’s submission, which could be as high as 250 students, depending on the course. Most people also may not know that we actually go through the courses as well. We review the course before the students enroll every time, every course.
“We have a lot of Airmen who are taking these courses now, and I think the numbers are starting to pick up even more. I think the two courses, especially with what’s going on in our world today, are not only good to have but should be a requirement. People perish for the lack of knowledge. You can’t comprehend something that I’ve gone through, and I can’t comprehend something that you’ve gone through unless we educate ourselves on our different cultures. Then, and only then, can we start to understand each other,” Russell said.