Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Doctor Aviation - A TOS Homeschool Review

Review Crew

Back in June I learned we had a new review opportunity coming up with Doctor Aviation.
Select members of the Homeschool Review Crew received access to a six-month online aviation course

My almost-adult son and my husband are both in Civil Air Patrol. I myself am committed to lifelong learning. This course has been such a good fit for us. From the moment my son saw the introductory videos available on the Doctor Aviation website, he wanted access to the course. My husband, likewise.

When we first received access to the course, my son had just started a dual enrollment college course and was too consumed by his one-month course to watch videos with his father and I. I gave him access to the course (emailed the log in information to him) and moved on. He is studying the material at this own speed.

My husband was interested in viewing the videos together with me. After some procrastination (I won't say whom...), we got started watching a video a week together. That lasted two weeks. The third week came and went, and my husband wasn't making time for the course, so I finally watched the third session alone, the fifth week of having course access. I am trying to stick to one session per week.

When I was watching the videos with my husband, I was letting him "drive" the computer. I was struggling a bit to remember everything that was being covered. When I started working alone, on Session 3, I finally realized I'd been missing quite a bit by my husband's method of just watching the videos. If I'd been the one accessing the course videos I would have seen an important introductory note:
"The backbone of the course is the videos. When you begin a new lesson start by watching the video. During the video jot notes on the sheet provided. Following the video you will find action steps to learn more, questions to ponder, and additional resources that are all designed to help you dig deeper into the material. For those taking the course for credit we provide exams and answer keys."
The course includes a huge PDF download component (which I had occasionally heard the instructor reference, but I hadn't seen). Now that I've seen them I want to go back and redo Sessions 1 and 2, but knew I didn't have time to do it before my review was due to be posted here.

So let me tell you about the Doctor Aviation online aviation course. First, Doctor Aviation, Daryl Smith, is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, and has had extensive pilot training. He piloted different aircraft in the USAF for over 20 years. He received more training, and then served two tours teaching at the Air Force Academy. He is a published author as well.

The course itself consists of:
  • downloadable PDF pages of Guided Notes;
  • downloadable PDF pages of "To Learn More"; and
  • video component.
Each video component is broken down into three segments:
  • technical trivia;
  • notable innovators; and
  • legendary aircraft and events.
I don't want to bore you -- all that information is available on the Session 1 video that is available for free on the website. I did, however, consider it important to mention that information. 
Since beginning this course in June, my Civil Air Patrol husband has had his first flying lesson. How cool is that?

By the way, my husband says that for a pilot, that "Technical 'Trivia'" section is anything BUT 'trivia'! To a pilot the information mentioned in this section is vitally important! Life and death! For an aspiring pilot, the technical section is the main section that interests him. The other sections are interesting, but not worth the time he has to invest right now.
My busy son finished his summer course with a stellar grade and has now flown to the mid-west to participate in the Air Force Space Command Familiarization course.
So he is busy, still learning about aviation, but still with little time to work on Doctor Aviation with us.

As I said, we are now each working on this course independently of each other. You can do this with access to this course. You are allowed to share one login between as many family members as you need to. Each member keeps track of which session he needs to watch next. You can watch each session as many times as you want to. Now, a little more about the course.

Each video lessons, including its three sections mentioned above, run 45-60 minutes long (it varies). The total course has 15 sessions. The sessions are divided up this way:
  • Section 1, Course Intro: 1 lesson, Session 1
  • Section 2, The Aircraft: 4 lessons, Sessions 2-5
  • Section 3, Air Traffic Control: 2 lessons, Sessions 6-7
  • Section 4, Air Craft Maintenance: 2 lessons, Sessions 8-9
  • Section 5, Air Field Operations: 2 lessons, Sessions 10-11
  • Section 6, The Aircraft II: 4 lessons, Sessions 12-15 
Following the course one Session per week, a student can complete the course in 15 weeks, which is about four months or one semester, and would be worth 1/2 high school credit if the student does a bit more than just watch the videos (some reading, some writing assignments, tests). Tests are included in the material provided in the PDF downloads.

A creative teacher would be able to stretch this out to be worth one credit. So many of the options on "To Learn More" have great in-depth options. And Daryl Smith is compelling! I now WANT to read the recommended biographies about the Wright Brothers, Chuck Yeager and Amelia Earhart. I have a better understanding of what creates lift. I'm looking forward to continuing the course. I have also really enjoyed learning about a lot of planes that were built by Lockheed. My husband worked for Lockheed for 27 years!

One of the benefits vendors get when they have their product reviewed by the Homeschool Review Crew is that we let them know if we see ways they can improve their product. I do have a couple of recommendations:
  • First, each video section should just be called a "Lesson". The whole "section", "lesson" and "session" thing is very confusing. It should just be "Section"s and "Lesson"s.
  • Second, it would be very helpful if the download pages were numbered. It can be very confusing when you print out seven pages of Guided Notes and three pages of To Learn More, and they get jumbled. I double-side my printed pages, and sometimes can't tell which side goes "up". 
If someone in your family has an interest in aviation, I highly recommend this course. My opinion is that the material presented is at a very high learning level. You might be able to use the material with younger students and locate elementary biographies, and do it again with those students six years later! 

Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew also reviewed Doctor Aviation. To read more reviews, please click on the button below.

Aviation Course {Doctor Aviation Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

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