Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) adapted its training requirements for maritime institutions to include blended learning or hybrid learning.
As I wrote in my other article, hybrid learning is a combination of online learning and face-to-face education.
The training is composed of two sets: an online class instruction and the practicum.
Online class instruction includes theoretical interaction between the instructor and the participant. The instructor and trainees convene in a virtual meeting via Zoom, Skype, or Google Classroom.
Practicum is the application of your online classes. During this time, the trainees will get hands-on experience with the whole gist of a class via a simulator or actual operation.
Enrollment via Online or On-site?
After my company advised me to get Advanced Training on Chemical Tanker Cargo Operations (ATCTCO), I immediately browsed the web for available slots.
At first, I thought many training centers would open such kind of hybrid learning.
I was expecting that they would be transparent in posting their schedules and fees but it wasn’t always the case.
Furthermore, I thought they would increase their online presence since the very reason we have blended learning is to keep physical distancing away. That too wasn’t much seen.
Though I received replies to my inquiries via messenger and email, you will still be better entertained when going to their office.
What Training Center Did I Choose for Blended Learning?
After doing my due diligence online, I decided to enroll in Far East Maritime Foundation Inc. (FEMFI). I was able to get a schedule for ATCTCO last January 18 to 29.
Moreover, I was allowed to participate in the online class with just a Php1,000.00 down payment and paid the full amount prior to the face-to-face practical exams.
Their rates are one of the cheapest with just Php5,300.00 compared to other training centers which are around Php7,000.00.
They also have minimal refund fees and the process is not so complicated.
This post is not sponsored by Far East Maritime Foundation Inc. (FEMFI). Everything you read here is based on my personal experience with FEMFI. Their policies, prices, and schedules may change without prior notice. I am not in any way affiliated with FEMFI thus you must contact them for further up-to-date information.
ATCTCO Blended Learning Mode
After making contact online, I went to the FEMFI Office for my enrollment. They agreed to a Php1,000 down payment which was okay for me.
They will also ask for your contact details, especially your email address. Make sure you write an active one since the rest of your communication between you and the training instructor will be made via mail.
Also, it was relatively fast since there were not many people around unlike pre-COVID days.
2. Check your Email Address
Days prior to your schedule, you will receive an email from FEMFI regarding instructions about your training.
You will also receive a link for an invitation to join the online video conferencing using Google Meet.
Just follow what’s written in there and click on the links to access your virtual classroom.
3. Download and Install Google Meet and Google Classroom
Whether on your smartphone or laptop, download Google Meet and Google Classroom. Another alternative is to open them in your web browser.
Your Google Classroom contains all the instructions, reading resources, chats announcements, and interactions via message from your instructor.
Once you are logged in on both applications, you need to first take a look at what’s inside your Google Classroom. Your instructor may send you messages, updates, and some downloadable resource materials.
Moreover, you can find in there the link to your video conference.
4. The Online Classes
During the scheduled time of your training, it’s best to set up everything 15 minutes before it begins. This is to familiarize yourself with the platform especially if it’s your first time.
You must also know the condition of your video, audio, and internet speed.
The most important is to have an acceptable microphone and headphones or speaker so you can hear the instructor and also he can hear you, especially during attendance.
Your class structure flows in a very predictable way. It starts with an attendance check and is followed by a coffee break. After coffee, the class discussion continues with another break for snacks or dinner.
Lastly, it ends after an attendance check when the topic’s discussion for the day is finished.
5. Online Classes Etiquette
During the class, here’s what you need to do to keep it smooth and without delay.
- Join the conference 10 minutes before the start of your class.
- Mute your microphone. Feedback may linger within the video conference if your microphone is turned on. Also, background sounds will interfere with the classes. Remember that students are in the comfort of wherever they are during the class.
- Disable video. Sometimes, your internet connection may slow down if you enable your video. It’s advisable though to disable them if not required by your instructor.
- If you wish to keep your video running, make sure that your background won’t distract the participants
- Don’t multitask during the class. You are having a training so you should listen to the lecture.
- Your instructor may ask questions too. It’s best to share with them what you know to make the video conference more informative.
- And don’t forget to turn on your mic when interacting. It would be very frustrating when you know that your mic is off after you delivered a very detailed input.
The last 2 days of your Blended Learning will be about practical exercises and a final evaluation.
If you haven’t paid up your training in full, this is the time to do it. The cashier will provide you an Assessment Permit. Your instructor may ask you this one before you can participate in the practicum.
In my case, we were not asked about it. Even so, you still have to show it upon claiming your certificates.
The practicum is very simple. Since our course is ATCTCO, we did some cargo and ballast operations. We lined up the cargo lines, connect a looping on the other side of the manifold, open the required valves and load various cargoes on board.
We also discharged the ballast to compensate for the loading of cargoes.
Everything was made in a simulator using computers at the training site. We also discharged the cargoes on the next day using pumps.
After the practicum, we had the final evaluation exam which consists of 50 items. It was not that hard especially if you listen to your instructor.
7. What if I’m in the Province
The beauty of blended learning lies in its flexibility.
Seafarers who are not in Manila can still enroll in the online class even if they won’t visit the main office.
They only need to contact the training center and inform them that you are from the province and it is impossible for you to attend the practicum. Then, you have to pay for the training fees or the minimum amount required to book your slot.
And since you can not attend the practicum, you can join the next schedule once you are already in Manila.
Depending on the training center, you will be given a month to finish your practicum.
8. Claiming Your Certificate
You can claim your certificate after your training. It’s very simple.
Just show up at the Registrar’s Office, ask where you can claim the certificate and give your enrollment receipt.
Now that you have your training certificate, you can proceed to MARINA’s Online application for COP.
I enjoyed our online classes as well as the practicum in FEMFI. Our instructor is also engaging and very considerate of us. I can tell that he is well-experienced and knowledgeable on the subject matter.
How’s the Blended Learning Mode at other training centers?
May the winds be in your favor.