Inside Rensselaer
* Navy ROTC Unveils State-of-the-Art Naval Classroom
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Navy ROTC Unveils State-of-the-Art
Naval Classroom
Rensselaer’s Navy Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (NROTC) program unveiled its new state-of-the-art naval science electronic classroom May 4. Members of the campus community, NROTC officers and midshipmen, and C.J. Stein, director of officer development at the United States Naval Service Training Command, participated in the opening event.

“We have created an outstanding learning environment that blends modern design, technology, and naval history within the classroom and study space.
I know the midshipmen will enjoy learning in this advanced environment, resulting in Rensselaer graduates who are better prepared to operate in the fleet.” — Robert Palazzo

The project, funded by the Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) and based at Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill., is focused on establishing electronic classrooms at NROTC units across the country in order to train junior naval officers with the necessary skills to operate in the electronic shipboard environment.

NSTC provided more than $140,000 to support the purchase of new classroom furniture, an instructor lectern, 24 computer workstations with hardware and software, study area, a plasma display screen, Smart Board, and restoration work to digitize several paintings and sketches that portray naval history since the 1800s. Rensselaer provided $100,000 to support the physical renovations and space design.

In remarks to the audience, Provost Robert Palazzo acknowledged NSTC and others for their roles in developing the electronic classroom. “This classroom is a result of the close cooperation between Rensselaer and the NROTC program, and demonstrates the benefits of leveraging each other’s resources to complete an important advancement in classroom instruction,” Palazzo said.

“Through our partnership, we have created an outstanding learning environment that blends modern design, technology, and naval history within the classroom and study space,” Palazzo said. “I look forward to not only the implementation of the current naval science curriculum in this new environment, but also the growth and innovation of that curriculum that this classroom facilitates. This classroom is truly impressive and now the standard of excellence. I know the midshipmen will enjoy learning in this advanced environment, resulting in Rensselaer graduates who are better prepared to operate in the fleet.”

Launched three years ago, NSTC began to provide funding to support the development of naval science electronic classrooms at NROTC colleges and universities across the nation. The software — which creates experiential opportunities for students to focus on navigation, ship handling, engineering, weapons systems, and naval operations—is already being used at NROTC units across the nation, according to Michael Belanger, program manager, Maritime Skills Simulator program. To date, there are 12 naval science electronic classrooms at NROTC units across the country that facilitate real-time computer enhanced simulation and modeling.

“The new electronic classrooms allow NROTC midshipmen to train with the same tools they will be using when they arrive in the fleet,” Belanger said. “We want them to be prepared to immediately function in the modern shipboard environment once they receive their commissions as Navy ensigns. These electronic classrooms are key to meeting that goal.”

“This classroom represents the incorporation of technology to enhance the learning experience of future Navy and Marine Corps officers,” said Steven Kremer, Capt., USN, and clinical professor of naval science at Rensselaer. “This project is a prime example of what can be accomplished when two parties, Naval Service Training Command and Rensselaer, pool resources to the benefit of the students.”

Prior to the launch of the project, midshipmen at Rensselaer would line up in the Alumni Sports and Recreation Center gymnasium and walk through the paces of shipboard and ground problems. Now, the new classroom and related technology provides improved training for more than 86 midshipmen and non-ROTC students who are taking naval science courses at Rensselaer. In the near future, the NROTC program plans to incorporate additional software that will provide tactical training not only to future Navy officers, but also to future Marine Corps officers.

The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) programs are elective programs for students who desire commissions in the armed forces. The NROTC program at Rensselaer was established more than 60 years ago. Since its inception, more than 2,200 midshipmen have been commissioned to serve in the United States military.

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 4, Number 9, May 14, 2010
©2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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