Course Steward Training Revision Process
The NWCG program is systematically analyzing every incident position to develop associated position-specific standards, updated position task books (PTBs), and new/revised training. This is known as the Systems Improvement effort. While this effort is underway, NWCG has limited capacity to support modifications of course material requested by Course Stewards. However, NWCG realizes that in some cases there is a need or interest to revise existing course content in the interim. The processes here describe how a committee or group that has stewardship of a course can revise course content.
Things to note if a Course Steward decides to modify a course:
- This is a course-specific effort meant as an interim step while NWCG works through the Systems Improvement effort to revise training for all incident positions. NWCG is prioritizing the Systems Improvement effort, so support for any efforts related to Course Steward course revisions will be secondary.
- The training material produced by the Course Stewards will be distributed digitally in the NWCG Training Catalog on the NWCG website and not made available for purchase through the cache system.
- The revised course should include sufficient instructions and material for any course coordinator and qualified cadre to download the material and successfully deliver the course.
- Currently, a large volume of course materials are sold through the cache system. Eventually, these products will be removed as new materials are made available only electronically through the NWCG Training Catalog. During the transition, efforts will be made to ensure version clarity for end users.
- There will be checkpoints with NWCG staff throughout the process, such as work with Instructional Designers to solidify objectives and assessments, and with the NWCG Webmaster and Publications Manager for final editing, formatting, and posting.
- NWCG Coordinators will function as the initial point of contact (POC). Course Stewards will be assigned a POC from NWCG Training for the duration of the project. This POC will be available to answer questions as needed or provide direction, but they will not have capacity to participate in the development of the training or provide media assets.
Level of Revision
The process involved in revising course material will depend on the depth and significance of the revision. There are two general levels of course modification the stewards can pursue.
- A simple update keeps the objectives, assessments, and delivery methodologies from the existing course. Examples of this are minor changes to existing content, such as removing a slide that describes equipment that is no longer in use or modifying language or exercises to reflect new terms or programs (e.g., updating the name of a publication or software program name). NWCG encourages the courses be converted to the new NWCG training material templates for ease of editing, standardization, and accessibility. If, however, time does not allow for such conversion and the changes are minimal and can be accommodated within the structure of the existing course material, they may not need to be converted to the new NWCG training material templates or recertified at this time.
- A recertification involves changes to the course that are significant enough to require testing of the course to ensure it will meet the course objectives. Examples of this include changes or additions to course objectives, delivery methodology, or student performance assessment methods, or significant modification of course duration. This level of revision will require the course material to be in the new NWCG training material templates, the materials to be tested, and a new certification issued.
Initiating the project
Once the Course Steward, or designee, is ready to engage in a revision, the NWCG Coordinator will set up an initial consultation with the Course Steward, NWCG Training, and the NWCG Publications Manager to discuss the intent and establish expectations and timelines.
At this meeting, the Course Steward will describe the planned modifications. The group will determine if the proposed modifications will be treated as a simple update or if a full revision and recertification is needed to meet the goals of the Course Steward. This will determine what future steps will be required. A project team of subject matter experts may need to be assigned by the Course Steward. A POC from NWCG Training will be assigned for the duration of the project and will work with the Course Steward and project team to establish the project plan that will be used to affect the desired modifications. The general steps that are followed for the two levels of revision are outlined below.
Simple Course Update
- The NWCG Training POC will ensure that the project team has access to editable source files for all materials (such as instructor guides, presentations, references, etc.).
- These materials will be modified by the project team to reflect the proposed changes. A record of all edits will be kept. Media used should follow the NWCG Media Tips and Tricks.
- When the edits are in a final draft stage, the NWCG Training POC will arrange a meeting with NWCG Instructional Designers to ensure the edits are within the intended scope of the project plan and are not significant enough to necessitate a full course revision and recertification.
- The changes to the material will be vetted by the Course Steward, if necessary.
- A draft of any edits to the content of the NWCG Course Page will be created, including a brief description of what has changed in the update, to be included under Course Updates on the Course Page.
- The NWCG Training POC will set up a meeting with the NWCG Publications Manager to discuss course material handoff for review and posting.
- The NWCG Publications Manager will coordinate with the Webmaster for posting course materials and website changes to the course page in the NWCG Training Catalog.
A full course revision that requires a recertification is a more in-depth project.
The revised course will be created using NWCG training material templates, including PowerPoint, instructor guide, handout, and sample agenda templates. There is no student workbook template; NWCG publications and position-specific standards will be used as student reference materials (for example, S-130 utilizes the NWCG IRPG).
Analysis & Design
- The NWCG Training POC will ensure the project team has access to editable source files for all materials (such as instructor guides, presentations, references, etc.).
- Review/update course and unit objectives, comparing old and desired new objectives, in a course summary of changes. Make an outline of desired updated course and unit objectives. The Specific Duties category in the Incident Position Description (IPD) of relevant incident positions may provide ideas for changes.
- Ensure unit objectives support overall course objectives.
- Utilizing the NWCG Training POC, set up a meeting with NWCG Instructional Design to review course/unit objectives. Discuss the test course at this time, to determine what criteria will be used in the test course to evaluate whether the course objectives are met.
- If student assessments are included, ensure questions are supported by course objectives and content.
- Utilize NWCG training materials templates to populate content for each unit. If the position has existing associated position-specific standards, reference these as much as possible, rather than building course content that is redundant. Ensure course content supports unit and course objectives.
- For quality purposes:
- Run spell and grammar check.
- Ensure any numbered or lettered lists are in correct order.
- Verify page numbers.
- Verify that web addresses are correct and working.
- Check acronym use and ensure first occurrences are spelled out completely followed by the acronym in parenthesis.
- Provide alternative text for any images and graphics.
- Media used should follow the NWCG Media Tips and Tricks.
- When the course is at a draft stage, utilize the NWCG Training POC to set up another review with NWCG Instructional Design. This will include media review to identify any issues or omissions with media.
- The draft course will be vetted by the Course Steward and subject matter experts in a field review. The feedback from this review will be incorporated as appropriate.
- Once the product is in final draft, work with the NWCG Training POC to set up a meeting with the NWCG Publications Manager to discuss course material handoff.
- The NWCG Publications Manager will coordinate with the NWCG Training POC and Webmaster for posting draft materials and website changes to a draft course page in the NWCG Training Catalog, for use in the test course.
Testing and Certification
- Conduct a test course. Project team or Course Steward will work with NWCG Training POC to arrange a test course and provide evaluation forms. The course coordinator and cadre for the test course will be able to access the course instructions and material from the draft course page.
- The Course Steward or project team will incorporate feedback from the test course as appropriate and make final edits to the course materials package.
- Prepare the course summary of changes.
- NWCG Publications will conduct final edit, review and formatting of all course materials.
- The NWCG Publications Manager will coordinate with the Webmaster for posting final materials on the course page.
- The NWCG Training POC is responsible for ensuring the course page is updated, in conjunction with the approval of the Training Delivery Committee.
- The NWCG Training POC will facilitate the certification process.
These processes will assist Course Stewards in determining the effort and steps required to modify course material. They are flexible and can be changed when appropriate to meet the needs of a given project. The Course Steward should work with the NWCG staff to create a project plan that is appropriate for the circumstances of the course, keeping in mind that staff support for Course Steward revisions will be limited as NWCG prioritizes Systems Improvement.