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Air University Catalog 

Academic Instructor School  
Lt Col James Briggs, Director  

The Academic Instructor School (AIS) is the teachers college for the Air Force. Widely acclaimed by civilian and military educators, AIS is known throughout the Department of Defense (DOD) for its role in satisfying the requirements of the Air Force for trained instructors and for its unique contributions to the field of education. The school began operations in 1948 at Craig Air Force Base (AFB), Alabama, as part of the Special Staff School. It moved to Maxwell AFB, Alabama, in 1950 and has been in continuous operation since. More than 41,000 instructors have completed AIS in residence, including international military personnel from more than 60 countries.

AIS prepares Air Force and other DOD personnel to teach in diverse educational environments using state-of-the-art educational skills and technologies. The school provides Air Force and selected DOD instructors with student-centered learning experiences through supervised practice of carefully defined methods of instruction that aid in

  • Applying basic principles of learning to specific learning situations
  • Planning meaningful instruction
  • Using sound teaching methods including distance-learning education.
  • Communicating effectively
  • Evaluating the achievement of learning objectives
  • Developing attitudes appropriate for Air Force and DOD instructional situations

The Academic Instructor School has initiated several improvements based on graduate and supervisor surveys, student critiques, and advances in educational methods and technologies. These innovations include

  • Ensuring that instructional models and components are consistent with the developmental nature of learning
  • Teaching students how to design instruction to achieve effective learning outcomes
  • Researching and determining sound applications of computers and technology in education and using the current technology to educate teachers
  • Using an instructional systems design (ISD) approach in developing curriculum and teaching methodologies


The Academic Instructor School bases its curriculum on a developmental theory of learning, focusing primarily on the use of developmental cognitive and affective taxonomies in planning, delivering, and evaluating instruction. AIS places major emphasis on development of instructional competencies. However, faculty members devote significant time on exploring student characteristics, learning styles, educational theory, attitudinal development, and instructional design.

AIS faculty and staff focus the school's curriculum on educational foundations, methods of instruction, and communication skills. They research and develop materials relating to instructor education and curriculum design. The AIS curriculum incorporates the following six teaching methods: informal lectures, guided discussion, teaching interviews, demonstrations and performance sessions, case studies, and experiential exercises (games and simulations). AIS curriculum design and development efforts encompass the development of sound test questions, an introduction to evaluation, performance evaluation, feedback, test item analysis, domains of learning (including both the affective and cognitive domains), instructional design, an introduction to instructional system development (ISD), and concept and principle teaching. The AIS faculty reviews and oversees revisions of Air Force Manual (AFM) 36-2236, Guidebook for Air Force Instructors.

Duration and Quota

The Academic Instructor School conducts seven, four-week classes a year with approximately 90 students in each class. Specific class dates and attendance authorizations are announced through the AIS training management system.

Prerequisites and Selection

Selection for AIS attendance is managed by Air Force major commands (MAJCOM), other DOD users, and government agency school administrators using criteria outlined in Air Force Catalog (AFCAT) 36-2223, USAF Formal Schools. Additionally, international officers are selected to attend by their country of origin in coordination with the International Officer School.

Regular Academic Instructor Course (MAIS001)

This course is four weeks long and consists of 156 hours. The curriculum of the course can vary in emphasis depending on class composition. The ratio of lecture to seminar activities is approximately 30 percent lecture to 70 percent seminar.

Curriculum Summary
Area of Instruction Academic Hours
Administrative 5
Educational Foundations 10
Communication Skills 7
Methods 70
Instructional Media 1
Evaluation 27
Instructional Design 32
Instructional Technology 4

Specialized Courses

AIS offers 10 special short courses in addition to the regular course. These courses are tailored to a specific audience and emphasize applying basic principles of learning to specific learning situations, planning meaningful instruction, using sound teaching methods, communicating effectively, and evaluating the achievement of learning objectives. These 10 courses are

AF Reserve Officer Training Corps Academic Instructor Course. Prepares Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) instructors for teaching at the college level.

AF Junior ROTC Academic Instructor Course. Trains instructors who teach at the junior high and high school levels.

Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) Academic Instructor Course. Prepares instructors and faculty for AFIT's in-residence programs.

Air Command and Staff College (ACSC) Instructor Course. Prepares ACSC faculty for their instructional duties.

Air War College (AWC) Instructor Course. Prepares instructors to teach at AWC.

AIS Specialized Courses. A two-week mobile course and special two-week courses for instructors at the Squadron Officer School (SOS), AF Reserves, Chaplains Service Institute, and other specialized audiences.

Dental Resident Graduate Student Instructional Mobile Course. Prepares instructors for dental resident graduate program at Lackland AFB, Texas.

AIS Advanced Course for Teleseminar Instructors. Teaches instructors how to teach via interactive television.

AIS ISD in Education Course. Teaches students how to use the ISD model in developing curriculum.

Air Force ROTC Noncommissioned Officers Orientation Course. Prepares ROTC NCOs for assignments to their detachments.

Academic Credit

Through affiliation with the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF), graduates of AIS who enroll in the CCAF automatically receive 10 hours of credit for the four-week course and four hours of credit for the two-week course. Graduates may receive transcripts reflecting these credit hours by contacting the Registrar, CCAF/RRR, 130 W. Maxwell Blvd., Maxwell AFB AL 36112-6613.

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