Implementation of Online Training Modules to Rail Learning System

SPONSOR: FEDERAL RAILROAD ADMINISTRATION (FRA)

PI:  Pasi Lautala

The proposed activities will enable the FRA’s Office of Safety and Office of R&D to utilize the RLS as a platform for internal FRA training offered to both new and current employees. Offering training online will increase flexibility in obtaining the necessary skills required to effectively perform essential job functions, and save on travel expenses currently incurred for this type of training.  In addition, the proposal increases the amount of openly available education modules by incorporating the Railroading 101 modules developed by the FRA, as well as newly recorded versions of the 2016 Railway Engineering Education Symposium (REES) modules. The proposal will also provide technical support in using the modules and continuing monitoring and support of the system throughout the project duration.

Technical Approach

  • WP 1. Project Coordination & FRA Progress/Review meetings include the general project coordination between the Principal investigator (PI), FRA and Michigan Tech project team, as well as preparation of required reports and updates. A kickoff web conference is proposed within two weeks of the project start, followed by a project team meeting at the FRA offices to coordinate the content development. After the meeting, most communication will take place through regular web conferences. The possibility of a wrap up meeting has been included in the proposal, unless FRA and the project team determine that such meeting can be done remotely.
  • WP 2. System Preparation & Site Updates As stated in the SOW (Appendix), this task includes updates of Moodle and Joomla platforms, which helps ensure RLS security and functionality. The latest compatible versions available will be used in the updates. Once the system is updated, Michigan Tech will generate a section within the RLS that is only accessible by the FRA employees (including “instructors” and “students”). Once logged into the system, this area will only appear for those users identified by the FRA. The technician hours for this task were increased from the SOW, as we expect the task to be slightly more time-consuming.
  • WP 3. Pilot Module Development/Hosting covers the largest body of work in this proposal. There are three specific tasks under the work package, one dedicated to FRA employees and two openly available to general audience. For each task, the Michigan Tech team will create the course structure, work with external providers to develop closed captioning to make all materials compliant with Federal accessibility rules (ADA), and post the materials related to the course. The development of the actual materials is a collaborative effort by the Michigan Tech and technical experts identified under each task. The schedule provided is the best estimate by the Michigan Tech team, but timely completion will depend on the pace of content development by the collaborators. The main deliverable for each task is the posted materials available in the system.
  • WP 4. System Module Maintenance/Reporting. Michigan Tech expects that the majority of the technical content in this project will be developed and posted within the first eight months of the contract. WP4 is an ongoing maintenance, monitoring, and reporting task to track access over time and ensure RLS stability. WP4 deliverables include collection and reporting on usage, user tracking, and other statistics that will help FRA understand RLS effectiveness. These reports will be submitted to FRA on quarterly basis.  Michigan Tech will provide limited technical support for RLS users and will have a technical specialist available for FRA employees to contact as needed.
Pasi Lautala
Pasi Lautala
John Velat
John Velat