A long-sought online defensive driving course is now up and running after months of work at implementing the service.
The course is required by the North Dakota State Fleet Services Policy manual for anyone who operates fleet vehicles on a monthly basis or more. Those who do must take the Department of Transportation-required Defensive Driving Course once after employment and then again every four years. Employees who drive fleet vehicles less than monthly may take the exam at the discretion of agency trainers or risk managers.
Previously, the course had only been offered in the classrooms. After work from Core Technology Services, it was made available online through the North Dakota University System Instance of Community Moodle, and can be accessed with the same credentials an employee uses for Campus Connection or Human Resources.
According to Patti Heisler, assistant director of Advanced Learning Technologies, five CTS employees worked on the main aspects of the course including course design, enrollment, training campus contacts, working with the DOT and the tutorial vendor, and troubleshooting. Many more CTS employees helped with testing.
Now with the offering in place employees are encouraged to attend the instructor-led training whenever possible. Prior to this, qualifying employees would have to drive to Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks or Valley City for the annually-scheduled half-day courses. The move is expected to generate some savings to include actual travel costs along with time away from the job.
“The DOT wishes to emphasize the online course is an option when the instructor-led sessions cannot be attended,” Heisler said. “As they do now with the instructor-led training, campus administrators will be responsible for communicating course completion information to the DOT.”
The course was put in place online, Heisler said, because NDUS campuses were always on the lookout for flexible course delivery options.
“While the instructor-led course remains the recommended option, the online course provides a great deal of flexibility,” Heisler said. “Individuals can take the course when it fits into their work schedule, they don’t have to do the entire course in one sitting, and they don’t have to travel to a different community to take the course.”
Participants must complete three main course activities, including reading the State Fleet Policy Manual, taking a quiz on the policy manual, and watching an interactive tutorial before completing the final exam. The online course is equivalent to a four-hour classroom session, although completion time can vary, as it can be started and stopped at will. To pass the online final exam, employees must score 80 or higher.
Heisler said the course was just recently made available to all of the institutions of the NDUS. The first training session for campus administrators took place in June.
Following the initial two-day training earlier this month, seven employees representing five campuses (Bismarck State College, Dickinson State University, North Dakota State University, Valley City State University, and University of North Dakota) participated in the training.
Heisler noted that each campus designates someone to be responsible for ensuring compliance with State Fleet policies and procedures. Those campus contacts will manage the enrollment in this course for their institution.
“Our role is to train those campus contacts on how to manage the course and how to provide their reports to the DOT,” she said.
The online course is available in the NDUS Employee Learning Portal located in Community Moodle. For quick access click the Training link on Inside.NDUS.edu. It is supported on either a PC or Mac, and requires users to access it through Firefox, Chrome or Safari. Completion certificates are issued by the DOT.