By Ng Desmond
Currently most of the atc training requires the mentor and trainee to find a common free time for training. Students who are busy may not be free during the selectable session time, and students who live in a different time zone may be sleeping during the selectable session time, unless they dont sleep that night. Hence, I strongly suggest vatsim to consider providing video lectures as an alternative way to train trainees. Everything technique is demonstrated through video lectures, so one can learn atc at whatever time he or she wants. In order to make sure that a trainee has enough skills, vatsim can exam trainees by asking them to record their screen and voice while controlling a given scenario.
One may ask what can trainee use to record the screen? If one cannot find a freeware, one may use the trial version of any payware to complete the exams. If there are technical errors while recording, vatsim should force these trainees to train by meeting mentors online.
In the real world, online courses have a problem of cheating. Students may find experts to complete their exams in order to pass them. In current vatsim's training system, in case one finds another person to complete their exams and lessons, mentors may not find it out too. One should realize that the change from having online live sessions to online video lectures is not the cause of cheating problem, but is the fact that one can hide his or her identity in the Internet that causes cheating. The simplest way to find out these cheaters is to wait online pilots to report them. Some real world course facilitators ask students to show their face when completing exams. vatsim may think about that, but they should also aware that they are just an virtual world non-profiting organisation, so should they be that serious?
By Callum McLoughlin
In respect of the below:
If an S2 is good enough to control Approach during CTP, they should be upgraded to S3! That is not a disparaging comment towards any of the SAV chaps, the way - but a suggestion that these guys genuinely need an upgrade!! This equally applies to all solo validation holders controlling in their "acting S2/S3/C1" capacity.
Would this be actioned after CTP, as what better exam could there be?
I hope that VATUK finds a pragmatic way forward with this as it would be a fantastic coup.
By Harry Sugden
Would it be possible to advise controllers during their training, that if a pilot sounds like they might need the initial climb issued to them, that it be given in the clearance? Of course this might lead to some pilots who do check the chart being told it, and some who don't check the charts still busting it... but it's getting a bit tiring on London these days with the number of busts. It's VATSIM... chart reading isn't a particularly popular pass time, but of course this idea would require subjective interpretation of what a non-chart reader sounds like.
Open to other suggestions as to how we can address this problem... perhaps some way we can point pilots to charts better than we do now?
By Andy Ford
It's now been four months since we released the new VATSIM UK approach radar training syllabus. Since release, we've seen an increase in the number of exams coming through the system, still with a strong pass rate.
Now that we've all had time to work with the new syllabus, it's time to look towards the next iteration and improvement. Therefore, we'd like to invite mentors and students to comment on how they're finding the syllabus and any feedback that they may have.
With any additions or improvements, we are hoping to retain the current paradigm of "if it's theory, then it's self-taught". If there's something that you've noticed students lacking with regards to theory because we haven't told them what they need and where to find it, please say and this can be added. This iteration will be adding the "Attitude To Self-learning" section that we have already added to the updated Tower syllabus.
On the practical side, we're interested to know if there's anything that you would want to see added to the syllabus or integrated into an existing criterion. Or perhaps there's something that could be made clearer to aid understanding?
Once we've collected all the feedback, we'll update the syllabus and release the improved version.
By Andy Ford
Recently we've been having a very long discussion regarding how we handle controller feedback and how our processes can be improved, as not everyone feels that we do feedback in the best way - especially when that feedback isn't positive. From these discussions we've come up with a possible idea for a new system for handling ATC feedback and would like the input of the membership before we take anything further.
The current system for ATC Feedback is a manual process involving delegated members of the ATC Training Department. All feedback submitted is anonymous (members of staff have to explicitly click a button in order to view who submitted the feedback, which is logged). When feedback comes in, a member of staff reviews the feedback. If the feedback is positive, we pass it on to the member - without revealing the identity of the submitter (so some redaction may take place). If the feedback is negative, we generally do not pass it on to the member every time (except in cases where trends are developing), but use it to inform areas for improvement within the department.
Some members that we have spoken to do not like this system, as they want to know everything that people have to say about them and on the flip side want to make sure that their feedback is going to the member in question, not just sitting in a database waiting to be processed.
The proposed system would change how we handle feedback, to the following:
Members submitting feedback may indicate whether or not they want feedback to be sent to the controller in question or just the ATC Training staff. In choosing to send feedback to the member, they acknowledge that everything they say will be made visible and thus should take care not to say anything that would identify them if they wish to remain anonymous. By default, members will automatically receive all feedback (positive or negative) when it is submitted unless they choose to opt out. This will be available, as it is now, through the front-end of Core. All feedback is visible to delegated members of ATC Training Staff. Through this proposed to system, we hope to achieve the following things:
Reduced admin time for ATC Training staff - who will then only have to process feedback addressed directly to us. Members who want to know what is being said about them can find out straight away, so that they can see how they are doing. Members submitting feedback can be sure that their feedback is reaching the intended individual, not gathering dust in a database row somewhere. For this purpose, we have created a poll that asks the following question: "Given the current and proposed systems of handling Controller Feedback, which would you prefer?". We would encourage all members to vote in this poll so that we can gauge how popular a change from our current system is with the membership. Moreover, if anybody has any comments or suggestions, please reply to this post - the proposed system is up for discussion and change.