SR/SSD 97-35

Technical Attachment


Revised for Distance-Learning

The WSR-88D Operations Course, which was taught for several years as an in-residence course at the OSF in Norman, is being converted to a distance-learning course. In its new version the course will be a combination of paper modules, CD-ROM, teletraining, Web-based instruction, and on-station training. While the delivery methods have changed, the objectives of the course will remain the same. Subjects to be covered include radar theory, operations of the radar, and the integration of Doppler radar capabilities with current meteorological techniques.

This course is being redesigned specifically for the estimated 270 NWS forecasters and hydrologists (mostly interns) who were unable to attend the residence course. It includes the information covered in the former 18-day classroom and laboratory course. Training time will be reduced from 150 hours for the residence version to approximately 90 hours for the distance learning version and of course there will be no travel away from the office. All employees who need to take the new course will be enrolled at the same time, and course materials and other instructions will be provided by the OSF.

Following is a brief outline of the course. Some blocks of instruction are subdivided into lessons, each of which should require approximately two to three hours to complete. This is intended to allow students as much flexibility as possible in regard to when the training may be accomplished. The course will be conducted over several months, with the earliest completion possible in March, 1998. All students should complete the course by July, 1998.

Block 1 - SOO-led PUP Job Sheets (20 hours) Prerequisite: None

An ordered list of PUP Job Sheets will be mailed to each registered student and SOO as part of the initial packet. The Job Sheets are currently available on-station, and on the OSF/OTB Home Page. An additional copy may be obtained in offices that have several students enrolled. Although this section of the course is self-directed, the SOO or training officer will be asked to provide answers to questions and assist the student in reviewing material. On completion, this block will be tested via a PUP Proficiency Exam administered by the SOO or training officer by no later than February, 1998.

Block 2 - Overview of the WSR-88D (2 hours) Prerequisite: None

This Web-based training module will provide a system description covering the equipment groups (RDA, Wideband Communications, RPG, and Users) and their primary subcomponents. This block is expected to be available in September, 1997, and should be completed by everyone enrolled in the course by the end of December.

Block 3 - Radar Principles (11 hours) Prerequisite: Block 2

This block will comprise a printed precursor workbook (an updated version of Principles of Weather Radar - Module 1) and three 3-hour teletraining sessions. The teletraining will be delivered on three consecutive days (likely Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) in the period September through December, 1997, using the Audiographics systems. Topics covered will include Precipitation Estimation, Signal Processing, Base Data Generation, and Mitigation of Data Ambiguities (Clutter Suppression).

Exam 1 - A 25-30 question multiple choice exam, administered by the SOO and graded at the OSF, will follow the teletraining, and cover materials in Blocks 2 and 3.

Block 4 - Velocity Interpretation (2 hours) Prerequisite: Block 3

This teletraining session will describe the velocity display, methods of interpreting large and small scale velocity patterns, and horizontal discontinuities such as fronts. This block will require the completion of Block 3, and will be delivered in October through January.

Block 5 - Base and Derived Products (10 hours) Prerequisite: None

A CBT (Computer-Based Training) module on CD-ROM describing all commonly used products currently available at the PUP. Upon completion of this module the student will be able to interpret the products and should have an understanding of the strengths and limitations of their use. The module is expected to be published and mailed to each student in October, 1997, and should be completed by all students by February, 1998.

Exam 2 - A 25-30 question multiple choice exam, administered by the SOO and graded at the OSF, will cover material from Blocks 4 and 5.

Block 6 - Systems Operations/UCP Control (10 hours) Prerequisite: None

A CBT module on CD-ROM will provide an understanding of WSR-88D operations and basic familiarization with the Unit Control Position (UCP). This module is expected to be available in January, 1998, and should be completed no later than June, 1998.

Exam 3 - A 25-30 question multiple choice exam, administered by the SOO and graded at the OSF, will cover material from Block 6.

Block 7 (a) Convective Storm Matrix (10 hours)

(b) Anticipating Convective Storm Structure and Evolution

(8 hours)

Prerequisites: None

These COMET CBT modules on CD-ROM are already available at all offices. Completion of the modules is required for this block of instruction.

Block 8 - Warning Decision Making - Scenario 1 (2 hours) Prerequisite: None

This scenario simulation on CD-ROM is expected to be delivered to all NWS offices in August, 1997, and completion will be required for this block of instruction.

Block 9 - Warning Decision Making - Scenario 2 (2 hours) Prerequisite: None

A second scenario simulation on CD-ROM will use the same software interface as Scenario 1, but a case from a different weather mode and area of the country will be covered. This CD-ROM is expected to be delivered to NWS offices in September, 1997.

Block 10 - Operational WSR-88D Use (8 Hours)

Prerequisites: Blocks 1-9 and successful completion of

Exams 1, 2, 3, and PUP Proficiency Exam

This block will combine two 2-hour teletraining sessions and two 2-hour CD-ROMs. Topics will include Radar Optimization, Sampling Considerations, Mesocyclone and TVS Recognition, 3-body Scatter Phenomena, Obstacle Flow Signatures, Winter Weather Applications, and Case Studies of the Operational Use of the WSR-88D. This block will be delivered in February through July, 1998. An average score of 70 percent on the three written exams and the PUP Proficiency Exam (as recorded at OSF) will be a prerequisite to Block 10.

WSR-88D Operations Course certificates will be issued to students upon completion of Block 10.