Features July 2010 Issue

E-Learning for Sea Captains

A head-to-head evaluation of online captainís licensing courses pits Mariners Learning System against pioneer Explorerís Guide.

Currently, the U.S. Coast Guardís National Maritime Center has authorized more than 200 online captains schools. The courses help mariners meet the classroom and exam requirements for various credentials, ranging from the OUPV to Master Unlimited. These courses can also help them fulfill the requirements for specialized endorsements such as towing, sailing auxiliary, radar, etc. For this article, Practical Sailor examined Web-based captainís courses from two companies: Explorerís Guide and the Mariners Learning System. At the time PS began researching this article in late 2009, these were the only schools that offered Coast Guard-approved versions of the entry-level OUPV course, the 100-ton masters license upgrade, and the sailing auxiliary endorsement. If you are a self-motivated learner who doesnít have time or an affinity for the classroom, online courses are an excellent route through the Coast Guard OUPV testing and licensing process. In our view, Web-based courses are not the ideal. We prefer a well-paced classroom run by an exceptionally effective teacher, offering individual attention, but realize that e-learning better meets the needs of some students. For a more in-depth look at one studentís experience with the Mariners Learning System, check out our blog at www.insidepracticalsailor.com.

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