BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- One Sailor aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) took part in distance-learning courses and used a personal digital assistant (PDA) to complete them in his free time.
Certain colleges have given students the choice to complete coursework on a PDA. These courses provide all the tools of an instructor-based course with the freedom to 'attend' the class whenever they have time and in the location of their choice.
"It has lectures, quizzes, videos, anything you would receive in an instructor-based course," said Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW/AW) Russell Cole, of Lincoln's health services department and Raceland, La., native.
"It was more convenient for me to use the PDA. I could take it home or to lunch. I would even take it on the bus ride to work."
Similar to the PDA, courses are available where iPODs, also provided with the course materials, have educational video and audio files preloaded.
These self-paced distance-learning courses were initially set up with submariners in mind. Without the ability to have a classroom or take classes online, these courses are an effective tool for continuing education.
Cole was provided, at no cost, the PDA, equipment and materials for the course from Lincoln's educational services officer once he had completed his registration.
After completing the open-book tests and final exam, he returned the PDA and was allowed to keep the book.
"I have taken two self-paced courses without the PDA and two with the PDA. By far, the PDA gives you more structure because it has a timeline you have to follow," said Cole.
Even if a student has enough credits from other sources, most colleges require the student to establish residency by taking a small amount of credit hours.
Sailors have access to colleges offering PDA-based courses, such as Central Texas College, Coastline Community College and Saint Leo University. iPOD-based courses can be found with colleges like Dallas Tele College.
"I chose Coastline Community College other over colleges because it gave the most credits for corpsmen work experience," said Cole.
Cole will find out if he receives his associate degree in health and science technology once his grades post mid-June.
For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.