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Shahromey Bakri

A Level Playing Field - "How OER can be used to support officers to level-up their academic skills before participating in the Command and Staff Course?"

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Edited by Shahromey Bakri, Friday, 24 Jan 2020, 19:26


The project aims to level up military officers attending a 40-week course in terms of their academic skills like referencing, critical thinking and reading, effective reading strategies, oral presentations skills and reflective writing. Nearly 10% of curriculum time is currently being taken up for this foundational topics. The main bulk of the subjects cover areas like international security studies, international and defence relations, strategic environment studies, and command, leadership and management. If this 10% can be reduced or even eliminated, it will free up the curriculum to explore other emerging topics like artificial intelligence, cyber security and other emerging threats.


The Command and Staff Course (CSC) is a 40-week, residential military education course delivered to local and international mid-level officers to prepare them for higher command and staff appointments. It aims to expand the knowledge and broaden the perspectives of these officers and to equip them for the implications of the contemporary strategic environment with the right discipline and tools through tactical and academic approaches. 

5 out of the 7 modules offered are academically intensive and require skills and competencies such as academic writing, referencing, literature review and many others required of a typical university student. Skills many of these officers would not typically utilise in their day-to-day work. A major part of the assessment requires officers to turn in academic essays on the modules covered during the course. Most of these officers would have spent anywhere from 10 to 15 years in service before attending the CSC. A majority would not have touched anything 'academic' since leaving university education. Some may not have even attended university and as such are unfamiliar with academic writings and conventions. Consequently, the initial part of the course is dedicated to levelling up these officers for the rigours of academia. And even then, some will play catch-up throughout the course and continue struggling with academic writing while grappling with a constant stream of new learning materials to meet the course requirements.


I have chosen the topic for two main reasons. The first is to free up valuable curriculum time to focus on emerging topics of interest such as cyber security, hybrid warfare and artificial intelligence. Secondly, the topics covered in the Foundation Studies module such as academic strategies, essay structure, referencing, and critical reading and writing are available as OER. A quick search on the internet revealed many reputable academic institutions offering these short courses. 

Project Materials

The project output would be a multimedia resource and website. Relevant resources would be available for officers to level themselves up. This would include resources for basic understanding of the topics as well as the option for officers to delve deeper into a subject. Multiple resources would be made available for officers to choose from so that they are not limited to single source. The intent here would be to give the officers the flexibility to choose a particular style of learning. Some are happy with just reading text on the screen while others may learn better through a video lecture.

Here is the link to the video poster:


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