By Stacey Geiger, 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 06, 2020
During a time of uncertainty due to COVID-19, the AIr Force Institute of Technology continues to provide premier education to the military and civilian workforce by converting some in-residence courses to distance learning. (U.S. Air Force photo / Wesley Farnsworth)
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – During a time of uncertainty due to COVID-19, the Air Force Institute of Technology continues to provide premier education to the military and civilian workforce.
“AFIT continues to serve the United States Air and Space Forces with the majority of its continuing education courses,” said AFIT’s director and chancellor Dr. Todd Stewart.
Following the guidelines to limit the number of people in gatherings and to practice social distancing, Dr. Stewart, his faculty and staff quickly jumped into action to move as many in-person classes to online courses as possible while maintaining the same quality and continuity of instruction for AFIT students.
Approximately 700 in-residence students attend AFIT each quarter.
“There are courses AFIT routinely provides to non-resident students via the internet or by satellite broadcasts to students located around the world,” said Stewart. “For the courses that we need to accomplish in residence here at Wright-Patterson or at the student’s on site location at installations around the world, these course offerings are being rescheduled for later in the year.”
Stewart said they are also converting some of the in-residence courses to distance learning. One in-residence class that was scheduled to start March 30 has since been changed to online where instructors are now presenting from telework locations to 114 students across the world.
Students who were already here at Wright-Patt AFB in PCS status attending the Graduate School of Engineering and Management, Spring quarter is being delayed by at least three weeks and courses will be revised to reduce classroom time and the number of students to allow ‘social distancing.’
“AFIT’s faculty and students will also continue to provide consulting assistance to its various stakeholders such as HQ USAF, MAJCOMS, joint commands, and other organizations through telecommunications while the stop movement order remains in effect,” said Stewart.
Although COVID-19 has caused disruptions to AFIT’s education structure, during challenging times, AFIT is finding innovative ways to continue serving their students.
Due to the COVID-19 directive to cancel all large gatherings, in lieu of the AFIT’s Graduate School of Engineering and Management graduation ceremony at the National Museum of the United States Air Force March 26, the students received their diplomas during a very unique “drive-thru” out-processing where students remained in their cars and documents were passed through the window.
Another way of forward thinking, should the current COVID-19 guidelines to limit large crowds extend even longer than anticipated, the School of Systems and Logistics is researching an option to convert some of their courses into a hybrid offering where students would take a portion of the class through distance learning and when travel is once again allowed, will attend AFIT in person for a mini capstone end of course assessment.
As the Air Force's graduate school of engineering and management as well as its institution for technical professional continuing education, AFIT’s mission is to educate the Total Force military and civilian defense professionals to innovatively accomplish the deterrence and warfighting missions of the U.S. Air and Space Forces … today and tomorrow. For more information, go to the AFIT website at www.afit.edu.