JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) -- Jacksonville University's (JU) Department of naval science is the first Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) program to participate in a new training opportunity for naval science students across the country.
Rear Adm. Arnold O. Lotring, Commander, Naval Service Training Command (CNSTC), and the president of JU, Dr. Kerry Romesburg, unveiled the state-of-the-art Conning Officer Virtual Environment (COVE) and Sub Skills Net simulators at JU, Jan. 31.
The two new mariner skills simulators will allow current and future naval officers at JU to learn and develop the skills needed to safely and proficiently navigate on open waters once their naval career begins.
Lotring, who as the commander of NSTC, is responsible for the execution of all enlisted and officer accession training programs with the single exception of the U.S. Naval Academy. He called the simulators an important teaching tool.
"This is the future of learning and a marvelous introduction of technology," Lotring said. "We owe it to our students to give them the best tools for learning, and there is no better way to start that learning than right here."
The simulator consists of software for navigation and seamanship. It is also used by the Navy at training commands, allowing students to accurately gauge a ship's navigation and handling and enhancing its contact management. Students learn as a team on a larger, interactive simulator and at individual stations that act as their own "ship", allowing instructors to better measure each individual's progress.
Prior to the simulators arriving, NROTC students at JU were unable to get real experience as navigators. Today, JU students can now develop the cognitive skills necessary to be strong watch standers and can be evaluated on those skills by the instructor, added Lt. Saul Pavlinsky, senior naval science instructor at JU, adding the simulator will have many benefits for instructors.
"Rather than attempting to teach the students theoretical aspects of navigation and ship handling, I am able to actually show them the real life applications of the tools they are learning in the classroom," Pavlinsky said. "The simulators are operating great and are providing the students an opportunity for hands on operations vice sitting through a lecture about the theory of operations."
Dr. Quinton White, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was integral in helping JU become the first of 59 NROTC units to obtain the Mariner Skills Simulators by securing federal funding.
Pavlinsky said the computers in the lab are all linked to one another in a network and he can put as many as 11 "ships" in a "strike group". Each of the students can act independently from one another.
"There is also a 42-inch television that the COVE system can be hooked to along with a smart board at the front of the class to give the students a larger virtual look at the conning and navigating they are performing," Pavlinsky said.
"All this allows the students to work together as a team in a virtual environment during underway evolutions from underway replenishments to sea-and-anchor details."
Lotring said the new simulators and the navigation classes will also pave the road for other interactive training tools not only in NROTC units but through the entire United States Navy training pipeline.
For more news from Navy Service Training Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/greatlakes/.