I noticed last night that TAH has “ACCP” listed as one of its Categories, with one post under that category written about a year ago by Sporkmaster, This is a TAH public service announcement. So now, one year later, I’d like to take this opportunity to clarify some of that information (thank you, Sporkmaster). I know this is a long and boring post, but somebody’s got to do it.
First I’d like to say that while the Army Learning Management System (ALMS), accessible from the AKO My Education page or My Training page, is the main place for the Army Correspondence Course Program (ACCP) courses these days (with enrollment through ATRRS), it is not entirely correct yet to say the old system, ATIA, is completely dead. Currently there are about 5 or 6 ACCP courses still on ATIA that are available for self-enrollment, several of which are worth credit hours that translate to promotion points. (FYI: Javelin Gunner course = zero credit hours. Same with Pathfinder.) The ATIA system is also still used for several other courses as well, such as Battle Staff NCO Phase 1 (exam only; course material on CD), initial access to the Advanced Leadership Course Common Core (ALC-CC) delivered through Blackboard on LLC, and other things. ATIA student records remain accessible to students through the “MY COURSES” gadget box on the AKO My Training (MT2) page. Active courses appear under the Active tab and previously taken courses appear under the Historic tab.
A lot of soldiers say ATIA was better than ALMS, and worse things, and I can sympathize, but there are also some advantages to ALMS. If you take an exam on ALMS and get booted out three quarters of the way through (okay, sometimes that happens a lot), or you lose your connection, or your computer locks up, in many cases, your responses are still all going to be there, recorded within the system (as long as you logged in through AKO with your CAC and kept your AKO page active while in the exam), and all you have to do is contact the ACCP office at ATHD to assist you. You’ll probably be able to get a score posted and be done with it. Totally not the case with the old ATIA system; you would have no choice but to start the exam over again if you want to complete the course.
Another advantage of ALMS is that it is much more difficult to cheat on your ACCP courses than in the old ATIA system. Also, your wife won’t be able to take your ACCP courses for you in ALMS to help get you promoted while you’re deployed to Afghanistan since taking the ACCP exams in ALMS requires CAC log-in. (I’m sure you’ll all agree this is a good thing.)
In his 2 Feb 2011 post, Sporkmaster wrote, “Any course taken after January 1st will not count.” I’m not quite sure where that came from, but perhaps it stemmed from some of the confusion that arose as things were changing last year. The issue is not whether an ACCP course is in ATIA or in ALMS (though nearly all are now in ALMS), but with whether it is a full course or an individual subcourse. I think most soldiers have got this figured out by now, but for those who don’t, it bears repeating: Individual subcourses do not go to a soldier’s ATRRS record; only full courses do. And the way the Army regulation is now written, only full correspondence courses reflected in the ATRRS record earn promotion points (1 promotion point for every 5 credit hours of correspondence courses). The Army regulation on this actually changed in 2008, however, the Army didn’t start enforcing its own regulation until 2010. This came as very unpleasant news to a lot of young sergeant E-5’s who, in many cases, had their points for correspondence courses maxed out through the individual subcourses they had taken in ATIA (those are the ones listed in the student record under 999 Subcourse Enrollment) and then, all of sudden, their ERB’s are wiped clean and they lost all those points.
It was so bad last year listening to the young sergeants cussing and moaning about all the points they lost because of taking subcourses instead of full courses, I voluntarily went through the entire US Army Master Resilience Training course offered on post as well as enrolled myself in online courses on suicide prevention (in addition to the mandatory training). It might sound like I’m making light of this, and in a way I am (laughter is good medicine), but it was also a serious thing. Life is not always easy and it can sometimes be like the last thing a soldier just back from Iraq or Afghanistan (or still there) wants to find out – that he lost most of his promotion points for correspondence courses because he only took the individual subcourses and not full courses. And yes, it can sometimes be the straw that broke the camel’s back and directly impact promotions.
To my understanding, every soldier’s ERB got wiped clean of the correspondence courses and subcourses last spring. Most soldiers know this by now, but occasionally I still run across one to whom this is news. The full ACCP courses now auto-populate into the soldier’s ERB from the ATRRS record upon completion in ALMS (or for those very few still in ATIA), but for any previous courses taken in the ATIA system, yes, the soldier needs to physically take his proof in hand to his S1 to have the courses put back onto his ERB. That proof can be the record printed off from his Historical Enrollments on the ATIA website as described above, or the course completion notices generated automatically by the ATIA system to the soldier’s AKO email issued upon completion of a course. The S1’s really ought to accept either record in my opinion; in reality, many of them insist upon the course completion notice, which is the official document of completion for courses completed in the ATIA system issued in the place of a certificate. The full ACCP courses should all be in the ATRRS record as well; if not, the soldier needs to contact the Army Training Help Desk (ATHD) by phone or submitting a help desk ticket through the ATHD site, click on Ask a Question/Submit a Comment (be sure to select Distributed Learning/ACCP in the drop-down menu under Category).
Now a few words about the ACCP courses in ALMS. One of the things Sporkmaster mentioned in his post about ACCP is that if you want credit for your courses to show up in your ATRRS record and ERB, you must register in ATRRS. With regard to the ALMS, this is true. The ALMS website does offer the individual subcourses and you can go straight there on the ALMS site and enroll in any of them you want, but just because you completed all of the subcourses in ALMS required for the Smoke course doesn’t mean you’re going to get credit for the Smoke course. You have to be enrolled in the Smoke course through ATRRS (you would not have to repeat the subcourses though).
To enroll in a full ACCP course, go to: ATRRS Self-Development Center > click on Advanced Course Search on the left under User Tools > select 553 from the drop-down menu for School). You can also search by course number or keyword if you’re looking for something specific. Follow the process for enrollment and when it’s done, the course will go into your ALMS Current Enrollments. When everything for that course is out of your Current Enrollments and sitting in your Detailed Training Record (DTR) as successfully completed, then the link for your Certificate of Completion will appear and your Graduate status in the course will process automatically into your ATRRS record and from there into your ERB.
One bright light for those soldiers who lost a lot of promotion points due to taking only individual subcourses in ATIA is that subcourses completed in ATIA can potentially be applied toward full courses now delivered through ALMS. Some of this may occur automatically by the system in cases where individual subcourses showed up in the student’s ALMS DTR from the one-time partial migration of records that was done in the beginning (and not expected to be done again), but in most cases, the student will have to contact the ACCP office to make the request. These requests are handled on a case-by-case basis. The ACCP office is allowed to mark complete in ALMS only those subcourses completed less than four years ago. Also, don’t request credit for a subcourse in ALMS that was previously completed in ATIA unless that subcourse is physically sitting in and visible in your Current Enrollments in ALMS.
Whenever you experience issues with ACCP courses in ALMS, such as Sporkmaster wrote about with passing an exam but it not showing complete, or getting booted out of an exam, or anything you need help, information, or clarification on, don’t suffer in silence. Contact the ACCP division of the ATHD either by phone or help desk ticket from the ATHD site, which you can also find linked on your AKO My Training page.
And remember, the light at the end of the tunnel may be you.