CSC COURSE MAINTENANCE
After years of considering how to maintain its educational courses and with this initiative as a catalyst, CSC is pleased to announce that it has introduced a defined process for review and update of all educational course material. Recognizing the both the importance and the urgency, the CSC Board of Directors has established the Education Maintenance Task Team (EMTT). The inaugural volunteer members of the EMTT are Mitch Brooks, FCSC; Brian Colgan, FCSC, RSW; Tom Dunbar FCSC, RSW (Committee – Chair) and David Wilson FCSC, RSW . An ongoing committee; these members will serve a 3 year term (of which 2 in this group will serve up to 4 to prevent total committee replacement in the same year) providing both consistency as well as strong foundation of knowledge and experience for us to draw upon.
As many of us remember, at one time CSC offered only one course, which over the years has gone under various names and finally after several re-writes, reviews and updates became what is now called the Principles of Construction Documentation (PCD) course. This has been the “legacy” course from which has grown our current multi disciplined offering. From the original course, we developed our first educational stream with the RSW-1, RSW-2 and RSW-3 courses. With it came some concerns about the amount of repetition in these courses, and the depth of the repetition was very dependent on the abilities of the course instructors.
In the early to mid 1990’s, CSC recognized that to better serve the needs of its diversified membership; there needed to be three separate streams of education. The RSW stream already served the specifier community, but CSC needed to added educational streams for contract administrators and technical representatives. Therefore it was decided to add the Certified Construction Contract Administrator (CCCA) and the Certified Technical Representative (CTR) educational stream to accompany the existing RSW stream.
However, before they could do that, it was determined that the RSW-1 course would be turned into a basic course to serve all three streams of education. The PCD course was developed and shortly after, the Construction Contract Administration (CCA) and Technical Representative (TR) courses were developed. Most recently from the original RSW-2 and RSW-3 offerings, two new courses titled Specifier-1 (SP-1) and Specifier-2 (SP-2) have evolved. This is a very brief summary of how we have evolved to offer five courses.
In an effort to better the offering, CSC has concerns about the amount of “repetition” in the courses. Some of this can be attributed to the original “legacy” document which was intended to tell people in the industry everything that they ever needed to know about specification writing. The other contributing factor is that until recently anyone could take any course at any time in any order, simply for educational purposes. By default this meant that much of the basic information about the construction industry which was contained in the PCD course had to be repeated at the beginning of the other courses.
However, all of that changed when CSC decided that the PCD should be a prerequisite to all of the other courses. By doing so, it now gives us the opportunity to edit the courses so that there is a lot less repetition.
Most people who participate in CSC education only get exposed to a single course at any given time. However, if one steps back and looks at all of the courses together, both inconsistencies and repetition are evident. While the most recent courses developed, Specifier-1 and Specifier-2 are very similar in style to each other, they are completely different from the earlier developed other three courses. Although we understand an argument can be made for whether the “Specifier” courses are the right way or the wrong way to go, what we can agree upon is that at a minimum all CSC courses should have the same “look and feel” regardless of when they were introduced.
When we say “look and feel” what we are really saying is that we want to establish the CSC brand, and we want the courses to identify that brand. Currently some of the courses have Student Manuals, while others have Learning Manuals. Some have Instructor’s Manuals, others do not. Some have supplementary information, others do not. Regardless of the “content”, the supporting slide presentations differ substantially in both visual appearance and format for each of the courses. Furthermore we will review, identify and correct the technical content of the courses as we also acknowledge that it too contains inconsistencies which are unacceptable and do not meet the standards we have established.
With the continued popularity of CSC online versions of courses a gradual evolution of difference has also grown which in itself has been different from what we have seen happen in the classroom versions. Regardless of delivery medium, the level and content of education delivered by CSC should be consistent for us to be satisfied with the quality of offering.
The five courses that CSC now uses for both education and as part of the certification process have basically not been well maintained since their inception. Although over the years there have been a few reviews and updates of some of the courses, most of those have been limited to grammatical and spelling updates, not a concerted effort and a continuous maintenance plan.
The EMTT has been tasked with making the material more consistent from course to course, bringing all of the courses up to the same standard, ensuring consistency of language and terminology and establishing a regular review, update and maintenance regime.
EMTT ACTION PLAN
At this time EMTT has had several working sessions and plans to continue to meeting every 3 - 4 months until the initial tasks are complete. The Task Team has developed a course content matrix; comparing all of the education programs and have analyzed that matrix for inconsistencies between the courses and have compared the content of each course to the content of the PCD course. From this comparison the Task Team developed a basic action plan and is now in the process of developing a list of planned changes, additions and deletions for each course.
It was originally anticipated that they would work on the courses in a specific order and release each of them as they were reviewed corrected and completed. However it was soon realized that to do so would cause more problems than it solved since all of the courses are so interdependent of each other and, in particular, interdependent on the content of the PCD course.
As a result it has been decided to hold off on any single publication update until all of the courses have been raised to the same standard and all of the courses are consistent with each other. The plan does however include the publication of “errata” which will assist instructors on giving the most up-to-date information as courses are changed, and before the final publication of the updated course materials.
After the courses are updated and published, the EMTT will set up a regular maintenance schedule for all courses meeting on an annual or semi-annual meeting basis as required to maintain the courses at the new established.
As you can appreciate, this is a massive task, and given its enormity will not happen overnight. As the process progresses, the EMTT will also be involving other CSC members and industry professionals to advise the Task Team as ad hoc members to assist in fulfilling the mandate. The EMTT is also seeking support from CSC Chapter instructors and Education Officers and would be pleased to receive any suggestions or concerns related to maintenance, corrections, additions or deletions required for any of the courses.
You can send information or queries directly to the EMTT at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the EMTT Chair or any of the EMTT members noted above directly. The EMTT is grateful for your support and will attempt to address all comments or concerns.
Thomas Dunbar, FCSC, RSW
Former EMTT Chair