Training Update: The FBI Virtual Academy: Information and Agency Application (Forensic Science Communications, April 2003)
April 2003 - Volume 5 - Number 2
The FBI Virtual Academy: Information and Agency Application
The FBI has unveiled the FBI Virtual Academy (FBIVA): a structured, efficient, electronically delivered system of learning that adds value to the forensic science, law enforcement, and judicial communities by providing a single, comprehensive learning solution that offers a web-based means of accessing and acquiring the essential knowledge, skills, and competencies (through relevant and consistent training and materials) needed to support the worldwide criminal justice community.
To fulfill this mission, we have taken two important steps:
- Established training partners to work together with us to standardize key curricula and ensure the development of educationally sound practices in developing both traditional classroom and interactive multimedia instruction and
- Purchased and customized a powerful but intuitive learning content management system for the Virtual Academy’s infrastructure.
Collaborations are valuable because they provide broader perspectives and help in the standardization of training. The training partners will work together under the guidance of the Technical Working Group for Educational Development (TWGED) to:
- Develop standard curriculum guidelines for classroom and self-paced continuing professional development courses that will require:
- defined, job-related instructional objectives
- pre-assessments to identify current knowledge/competencies
- content that supports the instructional objectives
- post-assessments with defined pass/fail parameters
- Develop and implement an instructor approval process
- Develop a standard course/instructor evaluation tool
- Establish a review process for all courses to ensure that:
- the curriculum guidelines have been followed
- content is based on valid and reliable and/or on generally accepted principles
- Develop course/instructor training materials for the training partners to use
- Use self-paced courses as prerequisites for classroom training (where appropriate)
- Offer an integrated course catalog, searchable by keyword or topic
The FBI Virtual Academy has now “opened its doors” for user registration!
FBI Virtual Academy Campus Map
The Virtual Academy will do far more than just automate training registration and tracking. It will provide opportunities for
- Expanding training with distance learning (Learning Center)
- Documenting training and professional development through individual transcripts (Administration)
- Supporting the Scientific Working Groups (Teaming Center)
- Providing access to powerful reference materials using a customized Dialog search engine (Library)
- Establishing collaboration with strategic Training Partners using a consolidated course catalog and joint course review, approval, and evaluation process (Conference Center)
- Sharing best practices, experts, and other knowledge mining tools (Conference and Student Centers)
- Offering individual development plans for promoting the professional growth of employees (Personal Room)
- Interacting with fellow students (Student Center)
- Learning about career opportunities (Student Center)
- Providing input through surveys to improve training and other related programs (Faculty Center)
- Seeing community events at a glance (Site Calendar)
- And much more…
Agency applications for the Virtual Academy are well underway. We have received more than 1,000 law enforcement, forensic laboratory, and judicial system agency applications since posting the online application in the January 2002 issue of Forensic Science Communications (FSC).
Registering for the Virtual Academy requires several steps. Agencies and their employees must go through these steps before they can begin to use the Virtual Academy. The following estimated timeline helps explain this on-going process:
January 2002: Agencies began registering for the Virtual Academy using the agency application form found below. Identifying a Training Manager for the agency is a key part of this registration. Students will not be able to use the Virtual Academy until their agencies are registered.
March 2002: The FBI Laboratory Training Unit began verifying agency application information and approving agencies, which will allow its employees to register and enroll in courses.
June 2002: The Training Unit began verifying agencies with the Field Office who will become their liaison for the course enrollment and approval process.
September 2002: The FBI certification and accredition process continues to ensure the security of the information in the Virtual Academy.
September/October 2002: Training Managers of approved agencies will receive instructions on student registration and course enrollment procedures by e-mail from the Training Unit.
September/October 2002: Students can register and begin using the Virtual Academy.
October 2002: New fiscal year for training begins.
Question: Is the FBI discontinuing its Quantico, Virginia, classes and offering only Internet training?
Answer: No. The FBI will continue to hold its classes at its physical academy in Quantico. The Virtual Academy is simply a new vehicle for registering students for those classes, revealing new kinds of training, supplying information, and circulating collaboration opportunities to the criminal justice community. Thus, once the system is fully operational, registration for both traditional classroom instruction and interactive multi-media instruction will occur only through the Virtual Academy.
Question: What does it cost to use the Virtual Academy?
Answer: Nothing. Use of the Virtual Academy is free. However, some of the courses offered (e.g., those provided by one of our Training Partners) may have fees associated with them. Such costs will appear with the course information reached from the Course Catalog.
Question: When will the Administrative Advanced Latent Fingerprints (or any other course) be offered?
Answer: The Course Catalog lists all course offerings when they become available. Courses having an active session display the date, time, instructor, and location. Students cannot request enrollment in courses without an active session listing. (NOTE: Please do not call to inquire about when a particular class will be held; it will be posted as soon as a session is approved.)
Question: I am having a problem getting my agency registered through FSC. What can I do?
Answer: Fax your application to 703-632-4657, and we will enter it manually.
To become a part of the FBI Virtual Academy community, please complete the application found by clicking on the Agency Application Form link below. You must submit this information before individuals from your agency can register to begin using the Virtual Academy.
- Complete one application for each separate entity—forensic laboratory, law enforcement, or judicial system—within your agency. An agency may submit up to three agency applications, based on the entities in their organizational structure.
- Identify a Training Manager for each application. It is vital to the effectiveness of your training program that you select an appropriate person for this position. For guidance with this decision, a brief description of the Training Manager’s responsibilities appear below.
NOTE: If you are part of a laboratory system, please submit an application and identify a Training Manager for each individual/branch laboratory in the system.
- Responsible for first-line course approval for your agency’s employees
- Responsible for verifying independent learning events (e.g., academic degrees, training taken outside of the Virtual Academy) before they are included in an employee’s official transcript
- Responsible for establishing individual development plans for your employees (optional)
- Required to have Internet connection to the Virtual Academy and e-mail to carry out administrative responsibilities
When your agency is registered, employees and students will be able to register for the Virtual Academy themselves, or through the Training Manager. Please submit your application(s) as soon as possible.
Please direct any problems you have with this application to:
Quantico, Virginia 22135-0001
Fax: (703) 632-4657
Jane M. Homeyer
Training Unit Chief
Quantico, Virginia 22135
Phone: (703) 632-4630
Fax: (703) 632-4657