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Squadron Officer School (MSOS003)
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Distance Learning Program (Course 20)

SOS DL Course 20 is now closed to enrollments. Any Course 20 students who have not completed the course after twelve months plus one optional three-month extension will be automatically disenrolled. Course 20 will be totally removed on 9 April 2014. If disenrolled from Course 20, it will be the individual's responsibility to enroll in the new SOS DL course MSOS003. The new SOS DL course MSOS003 includes proctored exams, graded essays, and graded discussion exercises. [Updated 7 Jun 13]

Course Description. 
Completion of the SOS Distance Learning Program (Course 20) fulfills the Professional Military Education requirement for captains and presents content similar, but not identical to, the SOS resident curriculum.  The course provides Company Grade Officers (CGOs) with leadership skills at appropriate points in their personal and professional development.  This nonresident curriculum is based on the Institutional Competency List (ICL) provided in Air Force Policy Directive (AFPD) 36–26, Total Force Development.  The ICL clearly delineates those skills necessary for officers’ success.  It constitutes a comprehensive set of abilities and knowledge that defines leadership competence.  This course of study provides the necessary tools to execute and excel in the daily leadership and management challenges that characterize CGOs’ duties. 

Course 20 develops CGOs’ skills aligned with the Air Force ICL subcompetencies of “Ethical Leadership,”  “Builds Teams and Coalitions,” and “Decision Making.”   The course helps experienced CGOs further develop the skills they need to excel in today’s world of rapidly accelerating technology and limitless access to information while preparing them to adapt to unforeseeable challenges and future risks.  Students are introduced to principles and applications of ethical leadership and are provided opportunities to explore the Air Force core values and discover and apply various decision-making models, including Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century (AFSO21).  Additionally, they develop tools to create a positive environment for building and leading effective teams and coalitions, examining the stages that development teams encounter en route to mission success.  The course is specifically designed for CGOs as they begin taking on increased responsibilities.

The course is offered online via the Blackboard® Learning Management System and features web-based instruction that facilitates rapid courseware delivery.  Course content focuses on developing critical-thinking skills through the application of principles acquired from the readings and a variety of interactive mediated vignettes and scenarios.  The lessons include instruction, practice, and feedback in the thoughtful use of information to guide others, both individually and in groups, toward mission accomplishment.  Students achieve lesson objectives online by self-study and then take course exams at designated education offices or other sanctioned testing control facilities (TCFs) where they receive immediate feedback on their performance.

SOS DL is developed, maintained, and supervised by doctorally-qualified faculty members in association with officer curriculators and professional instructional designers.  Students take the course per self-study.

Course Access.
Once enrolled, students receive Blackboard logins and passwords via the e-mail addresses they used at registration.  While waiting for this information, students may be able to begin studying using the following defaults to access the course at: https://soc.blackboard.com.
Username: “firstname.middleinitial.lastname.soc”
Password: “LASTNAME1234” (last name is all uppercase and 1234 are the last four digits of their SSNs)
Once logged in, students should change their passwords.

Materials for this course will not be mailed to students.  Student support is available from the sources listed below.

  • Passwords reset and user account technical help can be requested by emailing AU e-Campus Support.
  • Course administrative questions such as course extensions can be directed through email to SOC Distance Learning

Duration. [UPDATED]
Students must complete the Course 20 program within 12 months of their enrollment dates.  Any required test mailing, scoring, and posting are part of the 12-month time limit.  There is no requirement to complete a certain test within a specified time frame as long as all tests are successfully completed within the 12 months.  Procrastination is the major reason some students do not complete the program in the allowed time.  Students are responsible for understanding the course requirements and policies and tracking their own progress and expiration dates.  It is not the responsibility of the Education Office, TCFs, or Squadron Officer College to track student time limits.

Extensions are considered on a case-by-case basis and must be requested while the student still has an active enrollment.  If circumstances over the course of enrollment prevent students from passing all three tests before the expiration date, they may request one three-month extension. Students must include brief rationale for extensions and must have passed at least the first two (2) exams.  Students who are not finished after their three month extension must enroll in the new MSOS003 program (no credit will be transferred from progress in Course 20). 

Upon enrollment, students must accomplish self-study and pass tests covering the three areas of study in sequence (00020A, 00020B, and 00020C).  Students have two opportunities for each area of study to achieve minimum test scores of 65 percent correct.  Failing a retake test results in disenrollment.  Because Course 20 is closed to enrollments, students must enroll in MSOS003 to complete SOS DL. No credit is granted for tests passed during previous enrollment periods.  All tests must be taken while students are currently enrolled in the program.  No credit is given for tests passed after enrollment expiration.  Therefore, TCFs verify that students are enrolled before administering tests.  Electronic testing is the default method of testing.  TCFs with electronic testing capability may download the exams from the AU A4L website.  If electronic testing is not available, TCFs must request paper versions of tests from AU A4L.  Students who have taken paper tests may take subsequent tests electronically if they transition to locations that use the electronic testing.

Electronic Testing Procedures.  Students receive their results (and feedback on units requiring more study if they fail) immediately after taking electronic tests;  however, areas of study are not considered officially complete until AU A4/6O receives students’ electronic test results and posts passing scores to students’ records.  Students cannot take subsequent tests until previous tests are posted.

Paper Testing Procedures:  Tests are delivered via first-class mail (averaging 7 and 14 days respectively for stateside and overseas delivery).  Students must ensure the TCFs have their tests and must schedule times to take them.  When students complete tests, TCFs mail the answer sheets to AU A4/6O (TCFs should not fax answer sheets).  After scoring mailed answer sheets, AU A4/6O sends postcards to students with their scores and forwards subsequent tests to TCFs for students who have passed.  If students fail, retake tests are mailed. 

The tests are multiple-choice and closed-book with a time limit of three hours.  Study materials are not permitted in the testing rooms.  Tests are not cumulative and all test questions are derived from the LOs in the study materials. 

Students are disenrolled if they do not complete the program within the twelve-month time limit, fail a retest, or request disenrollment by contacting AU e-Campus Support.  Disenrolling does not result in a restriction period. If disenrolled from Course 20 students may enroll in MSOS003 at any time.  When students enroll in MSOS003, they start from the beginning with no credit granted for prior work accomplished in Course 20.

Core Curriculum Area Descriptions (138 Total Program Contact Hours)

Ethical Leadership                                                           42 Contact Hours
This unit examines Air Force core values and develops the trust and commitment of others, personal accountability, and the ability to maintain checks and balances in their personal and professional lives. This section enables students to practice acting in accordance with the high standards of the Air Force and to recognize the positive effect of such behavior on co-workers.

Decision Making                                                              51 Contact Hours
This unit focuses on using proven processes to make effective and timely decisions. This use includes processing data/information from multiple streams and utilizing it to influence decisions, relying on analytic methods in all decision making, understanding interdependencies and interoperability across all associated forces, analyzing situations critically to anticipate second- and third-order effects, and establishing metrics to evaluate results and implement feedback.

Builds Teams and Coalitions                                           45 Contact Hours
This unit establishes alliances, assembles a team, fosters cohesiveness of a team, attends to the diverse interests of team members, and ultimately expands networks and alliances at all levels.

Course Hours and Retirement Points Credit:  The Air Reserve Personnel Center (ARPC) determines and records Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) and Air National Guard (ANG) retirement points.  HQ ARPC/DDPPKB is the sole authority for awarding these points (DSN 926-6012 or toll free 1-800-525-0102 ext. x71285).

Last Updated: 21 January 2017